Earlier we wrote about our 5 Most Popular Arcade Games- 80’s, which explored our five most requested and played games we run at events and on location. Now we are going to dive into the 11 Best Arcade Games of the 90s, an era I remember fondly.
As a child I remember playing many of these games, and saw quite a few machines in the wild still. I was the kid that checked the coin slots for forgotten coins.
I have a lot of love for 90’s arcade games, and that love is what brought me into this crazy arcade world. And now I have had the opportunity to share that passion with others through the events we become a part of as well as the placing machines at locations for revenue sharing.
The following is a list of our most requested and most played games we have or have had in the past. The list is in no particular order. Lets dive into our 11 Best Arcade Games of the 90s!
1. Street Fighter 2
Released in arcades in 1991, Street Fighter 2 revolutionized the one on one combat genre. I remember as a kid getting my butt kicked by the older teens at the local Pizza Hut when it was first released. Street Fighter 2 is an extremely nostalgic game for those of us who grew up playing it, and is extremely popular with our customers. For sake of this list I am lumping Street Fighter 2 and its various sequels/rom hacks (Champ Edition and Hyper Fighting particularly).
2. NFL Blitz
NFL Blitz has been one of our most requested games, especially for larger events. Released in 1997, the not-so-serious approach to football makes it a crowd favorite and easy to pick up on, featuring actual teams from the NFL. Blitz has spawned many sequels, every one bettering the previous version.
3. The Simpsons
The Simpsons at the arcade was easily my go-to game, claiming many of my hard earned quarters in a matter of minutes. Yeah, I wasn’t very good and my pockets weren’t deep. Released in 1991 by Konami, The Simpsons is one of their many 4 player arcade machines. Nothing could beat joining up with three other buddies and trying to play through the entire game. The Simpsons was one of the few games on this list that didn’t have a home port; if you wanted to play it, off to the arcade you went.
4. NBA Jam
If you are a competitive person, then NBA Jam is a must play! Whether you are playing by yourself or with a group of people, NBA Jam is extremely intense. Personally, I am not a sports game guy, but absolutely love getting in on some Jam action. Released in 1993 by Midway, NBA Jam blew every other sports game during that time out of the water. Featured real NBA teams and players, as well as a save function that tracked your record as you progressed through the game.
5.Mortal Kombat 2
Continuing with our 11 Best Arcade Games of the 90s released in 1993, Mortal Kombat 2 was a highly anticipated sequel featuring more moves, better sounds, and more fatalities than the first release. General consensus is MK2 is the best of the series, and we tend to agree. Mortal Kombat 2 is highly requested constantly at our events, which is why we keep multiple machines in our inventory.
6. Neo Geo MVS
Since I have been involved with arcade machines over ten years ago, I have always had a Neo Geo MVS machine. The ease of swapping out carts made gave the Neo Geo great staying power in the collection. Two of my personal favorite carts has to be Metal Slug (the entire series actually), and Windjammers. Released in 1990, the Neo Geo had so many recognizable games that it makes it an instant favorite at parties.
Yet another home run by Konami in 1992, X-Men follows the same formula as TMNT and The Simpsons using the 4 player beat ’em up side scrolling model. But they decided to add a big twist to it; along with the standard 4 player version, they released a monster 6 player version, featuring two monitors in a behemoth of a cabinet. If you played this machine back in the day, you remember this beast. We currently rent out our 4 player version but on the lookout for a 6 player, so if you happen to have one then we are interested.
8. Gauntlet Legends
We are usually not ones to mess with the originals, but Gauntlet Legends is a pleasant exception. Released in 1998 by Midway, Gauntlet Legends takes the proven 4 player formula but puts you in a 3D world fighting all sorts of creatures. And who wouldn’t want to team up with their buddies and slay through this amazing game? Later released was Gauntlet Dark Legacy, basically an update to the original GL featuring more levels and characters.
Carnevil is a creepy yet addicting game. Released in 1998 by Midway, featuring pump action shotguns, it quickly became Midways best earning shooter. Throughout the years of owning games, Carnevil is always one I regret selling, and instantaneously look for another. And no matter how many times I play through, I never get bored. The disturbing yet eye catching graphics keep you coming back for more.
10. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
So come on, its Terminator 2, need I say more? You didn’t grow up in the 90s if you hadn’t played one of these bad boys. One of the most iconic arcade rail shooters, and released in 1991, Terminator 2: Judgement Day has always been one of our most requested games. And being such a popular title, not only did it have an arcade game, but also a pinball machine as well!
11. Smash TV
And to wrap up our 11 Best Arcade Games of the 90s, we have Smash TV. Imagine The Running Man combined with Robotron and you have Smash TV. This game is extremely approachable and is actually a go to favorite for us here at The Retro. Simple controls, incredible gameplay that is easy to learn but hard to master. Because of its gameplay, visuals, and demand, Smash TV makes the list.
Well that wraps up our list of the 11 Best Arcade Games of the 90s. Many, many great games were products of this 90s era, but we feel these represent the top of the pack simply due to the request we get. If you enjoyed this list, please share it with friends and family on social media, we enjoy sharing our passion and experiences with you!