The Return of Some Coin-Operated Classics

I wouldn’t trade modern consoles for anything. I love what they can do, the stories they tell, and the experiences they give. But I also fondly remember the days where I would feed my dad’s jar of quarters into giant cabinets to play what at the time was “cutting edge” technology under a bunch of pink neon lights. Some days I’d pilot little starship sprites firing endlessly into the heavens to prevent foreign invaders from raining death and destruction below. Others I was a brave knight riding the noble ostrich against foes on despicable vultures. And others still I was a rally car driver racing for the championship trophy.

Well, if you’re like me and grew up during the Golden Age of arcade gaming, then Midway Arcade Origins should pique your interest. Gathering up 31 different arcade games from the early ’80s through the mid ’90s, this is the mother of all compilation discs. Considering its $30 price tag, that’s a better price than if you tried to gather all these titless individually via the iTunes store, plus you get the added benefit of hunting down achievements (or trophies) for each and every blast from the past.

Here is the full list of games on the disc that come with their original look from their pixelated glory days:

  • Joust
  • Joust II
  • Defender
  • Defender II
  • Gauntlet
  • Gauntlet II
  • Rampage
  • Total Carnage
  • 720
  • APB
  • Arch Rivals
  • Bubbles
  • Championship Sprint
  • Tournament Cyberball 2072
  • Marble Madness
  • Pit-Fighter
  • Rampart
  • Robotron 2084
  • Root Beer Tapper
  • Satan’s Hollow
  • Sinistar
  • Spy Hunter
  • Spy Hunter II
  • Smash TV
  • Super Off-Road
  • Super Sprint
  • Toobin’
  • Vindicators Part II
  • Wizard of Wor
  • Xenophobe
  • Xybots

As you might have noticed, that’s a lot of games. I doubt there’s any person out there who loved every single one of those particular titles. If you have a handful of loves in that list though, this disc features local co-op—just like if you were actually standing at a cabinet—and worldwide online leaderboards. Of course, if they were going to go online with the leaderboards, I think it would have been nice to have gone online play for the actual games themselves, probably the most glaring omission from this collection. At least you don’t have to place quarters on the TV in order to call next game.

Another drawback is that, yes, if you’re under the age of 25, it’s highly likely that this collection won’t appeal to you, since these games probably don’t carry the same amount of nostalgic weight as they do for the older set. It might serve as a nice history lesson or offer up some quality bonding time with your mom or dad, but I don’t see it holding younger gamers’ attention.

When all is said and done, though, this is a collection that anyone who considers themselves a gamer should have. A lot of these titles laid the foundation for what we know as gaming today—and are still some of the hardest games I’ve ever played, to boot. If you grew up in the same era as these games, the nostalgia alone should be enough to prompt you to relive these classic experiences all over again.

SUMMARY:  Younger gamers out there may not see the appeal, but this nostalgia-driven collection is a must have for gamers who remember placing quarters on cabinets to call next game.

  • THE GOOD: One of the best bang for your buck collections out there.
  • THE BAD: No online capability beyond leaderboards.
  • THE UGLY: Being old enough to remember when those graphics were cutting edge.

SCORE: 8.0

Midway Arcade Origins is available on Xbox 360 and PS3. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.