22 Awesome 90’s Childhood Arcade Games

As awesome as it was to be able to sit in the comfort of my own basement and play video games, nothing beat the feeling of pooling my allowance and hitting up the arcade on a Saturday. Something about the crowds, noise and stale fries perfectly encapsulates what a 90’s childhood should be. Those days shaped the gamer, and the pop-culture nerd that I am today.

So, grab your tokens and quarters, and join me in the flashing lights and clanging bells of the local video game joint, to look at the best games from your childhood.

The Simpsons Arcade Game
1991
This beat’s up was a staple of every arcade across the country.


NBA Jam
1993
This game single-handedly introduced the term “Boom shaka-laka” to the world, and is easily the most iconic sports game of the 90’s.

Mortal Kombat/Mortal Kombat II
1993
This game was a bloody, quarter-sucking, violent way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Totally worth it.

Street Fighter II
1992
This game was my first arcade love. Nothing beats the feeling of frantically button mashing and being surprised when you win.

Daytona USA
1994
One of the best head-to-head games to kick your buddy’s ass in. Not gonna lie, this is how I learned stick.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
1991
Another one that was in every single arcade, ever.

Plus, it also kicked ass on the SNES. Ended up grabbing this one on the 360 for nostalgia. Still honks.


Virtua Cop 2
1995
This blocky shooting game was one of the first I ever tried, and it was the most fun a pre-teen could have with their pants on.

NFL Blitz
1997
This was the NFL version of NBA Jam and it rocked.

X-Men: The Arcade Game
1992
Nothing like a 4-person co-op game, playing as your favourite mutant, and kicking Sentinel ass.

Metal Slug
1996
One of the better run’n gun games, this was was visually cool, superbly funny, and in every arcade I’d ever been too.

Virtua Fighter 2
1994
While there was no shortage of fighting games, this one was notorious for the super drunk and old Shun Di and his Drunken Kung Fu.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes
1998
Nothing was better than your favourite comic heroes taking on Ryu, Chun Li and Mega Man.

Namco

Tekken
1994
While there were only 8 different characters, what made this game awesome was that you could control all 4 limbs individually. That was a game-changer back then.

House of the Dead 2
1998
Who didn’t love shooting zombies in-between demolishing a slice of pizza and playing games for prizes?

Cruis’n USA
1994
Right up there with Daytona is this one. Nothing tops the feeling of speeding through the streets of the USA in a sportscar.

Area 51
1995
This light gun game was a nice bit of practice for the Raid that’s happening this weekend.

Plus, who doesn’t like shooting aliens.

Time Crisis
1995
There are a few moments in your adult life that can recreate the surge of testosterone you felt, holding that plastic gun at the arcade.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day
1991
It was fun to grab those plastic guns and try to avoid Skynet taking over the world.

Killer Instinct
1994
I know arcades didn’t have a shortage of fighting games with Mortal Kombat & Street Fighter, but this one was different. Its unique mechanics and unnatural characters made this one a must-play.


Crazy Taxi
1999
Frankly, this was the best game out of all of them. Driving around recklessly, trying to beat the clock, etc.. nothing recreates that rush.

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