Arcade Heroes Previewing the Arcade Anniversaries of 2023

Posted by Ongames247 on December - 26 - 2022

Each year marks some kind of anniversary, although we tend to only pay attention to those ending in a 0 or a 5. This year saw Atari celebrating 50 years, and where I got the Atari 50th Anniversary Collection for Christmas yesterday, I do have to say that it’s very much worth it (I may review it on the YT channel as it has plenty to do with arcades). For other date-based stories you might find worth a read, here’s a look at new arcade ports to old consolesSuper Mario’s Arcade Origins and History; and the Arcade Anniversaries of 2022. I’m taking it a little easier on this year’s anniversary post as these types of posts are super time consuming when you decide to cover each notable game in detail, while it doesn’t seem to garner that much reading interest to make it worth the trouble.

If you are interested in more recent arcade games, check out our Arcade Releases for 2022 page; Also note that on January 1st, I’ll be launching the 2023 releases page.

As for 2023:

  • Taito will celebrate 70 years in existence. They have a special site for it and will be releasing new stuff throughout the year to celebrate. Space Invaders will certainly play a role but I imagine some other series like Darius might as well, and they have ZUNTATA to help highlight both their game and musical history. What’s your favorite Taito game or series?
  • 2023 marks 50 years since several companies would jump onto the video arcade hype train and begin producing content, although at first a lot of the video games were just clones of whatever Atari put out. This includes Taito with Elepong; Sega with Pong-Tron; Williams with Paddle Ball & Pro Tennis; Midway with Winner II; Allied Leisure with Paddle Battle. Atari did release Pong Doubles, the first 4-player video game in response but that would get copies too; Atari also launched the first maze & chase game in ’73 with Gotcha, which also had a color version (it being the first color video game as well). Interestingly enough, Konami just launched their own maze chasing arcade game in Japan called Chase Chase Jokers.

Atari Gotcha color edition flyer

I have to give the nod to Discs of TRON, since it was the first game that really stopped me in my tracks during my first visit to an arcade as a child, although outside of that kind of nostalgia, I enjoy Atari’ Major Havoc the most out of that group of mentioned games. The only flaw I can think of with MH is that I suck at it, and it’s so hard to find that you end up paying a fortune to get your hands on one. The game itself is flawless and it’s a real shame that it didn’t get that recognition at the time to help turn Atari’s fortunes around. Out of the bunch, I’ve probably spent the most time playing Spy Hunter (be it the meh Atari 2600 port or SH on Midway Arcade Treasures). I just love that theme track and the concept of the game. Likewise I’ve played a bit of Tapper, more so on Midway Arcade Treasures; Congo Bongo on the admirable Atari 2600 port. I have had a Crystal Castles since before opening up my arcade and it’s all right but I dunno, it’s just never been as fun to go back to as Ms. Pac-Man BUT it has one of the most incredible arcade cabinets of the 80s. I could also give a nod to Exidy’s Crossbow; Almost no one remembers Exidy these days but the type of gameplay that Crossbow introduced was able to keep Exidy afloat for the next five years. It’s also a fun and entertaining game.

Journey I only mentioned because of it’s digitized sprites tech which it introduced; Otherwise the game blows chunks.

Here’s a couple of images taken at AMOA 1983 where Atari was showing off the likes of Pole Position II and TX-1. This would be the last year where Atari would really be in their #1 dominant position within the industry; The company would be split into two and sold in June 1984 where Atari Games would take on the mantle but between the diminished resources and the damaged brand name, Atari never really would see success like they used to. Star Wars would be the last game released under the brand which would sell over 10,000 units.

I tend to look at more recent games with more of an Operator Eye than a Gamer one, where it becomes a little difficult to say which one is my personal best. When it works, CarnEvil raked in incredible earnings, but my cab has been dead for 5+ years now (beyond time for me to sell it off as parts). Time Crisis II on the other hand is just rock solid, as is The King of Fighters ’98, although the latter will never earn close to what any 90s light-gun game will. DDR is also a “staple” of an arcade offering; I’ve had DDR Extreme since 2015 and while it occasionally has maintenance issues it is such a consistent draw that I regret not opening with one. I remember playing Area 51 Site 4 at the arcade where I first worked and it never pulled in all that well. I think the focus on mini-games at the first and a shortened campaign made it less attractive.

As a gamer though, Gauntlet Legends is the most memorable release this year for me, followed closely by Sega’s Star Wars. I discovered the new Gauntlet on the last day of school then, where my friends and I spent most of the day at a local nickel arcade, giving most of our time & money playing it. But often I was playing with strangers – it was a lot of fun. Star Wars I would discover in ’99 and I played it during breaks while working at an FEC arcade. I got good enough at it that I was able to 1cc it and not even get hit. That was the first time I’d ever experienced having a small crowd gather around to watch me play a game, a surreal, arcade-only kind of experience. I’ve played more HOTD1 than 2, although I know 2 is a better game; I also remember playing Soul Calibur a bit and I’d say it’s one of my favorite fighters(this will get tomatoes thrown at me on a stage but Soul Calibur > Tekken for me :O).

The arcade I worked at had Daytona USA 2 but I don’t remember playing it much. I remember it looked amazing but when we got San Francisco Rush 2049, that became the only racing game I (and most other employees) would play, even though there were many other racers to enjoy (this was early 2000 as I recall; We also had California Speed). I wasn’t aware of the myths and legends that the first Daytona had at the time…just one of those things I missed out on as I didn’t have an opportunity to visit arcades often in the early 90s.

Not many will recognized Breaker’s Revenge on the list, making it likely the most obscure of the bunch, but as Street Fighter II clones come, I think it’s the best. Really good game that’s worth learning if you ever come across one.

My guilty pleasure from the group would be Dynamite Deka II – most probably have forgotten this one but I’m a sucker for beat ’em ups. 😛

  • It also marks 25 years since Sega will have introduced the Sega NAOMI hardware. One could argue it’s one of the most influential hardware systems Sega ever made, even they got a lot of mileage out of it, the base spec being used in the NAOMI II, Atomiswave, and System SP platforms. What’s your favorite game to use NAOMI technology?

Are there any gaming anniversaries I missed? Got a game released in 1983 or 1998 that you think deserves a little more love? Comment below!

About the author: arcadehero View all posts by

I’m a lifelong fan of video games and I have been operating my own arcade, Arcade Galactic in West Valley City, Utah since 2008. Soft spots in my heart for Atari, Sega, and Nintendo.




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