Eleven Killer Arcade Games Based on Other Media

arcadegames small 560x213As I continue reliving my glory days of childhood of late by studying old-style arcade games as vicariously as possible, I have come up with a pretty cool list about them. I really remember a time when the entertainment industry (TV, Movies, Music) heavily influenced newly released game sent to the arcades – this of course being a bit before the major home consoles hit the market. It made no difference where the game came from, entertainment wise, but they seriously overindulged the end product, that was for damn sure. I can remember each of these games on this list very vividly and each one was in one of the half-dozen arcades I frequented as a lad. So, come with me on a little trip down memory lane to the world of Entertainment-Based Arcade Games.


journey1 75x75I unfortunately have no clear recollection of what this game was about or even how it was played, but I do know it was at our long-deceased local arcade for the longest time. I would often attempt, poorly, to guide Steve Perry and his rock-star foursome through… well, whatever the hell it was. Oh well, it was colorful and loud, much akin to the band itself, so it had that going for it!

Aerosmith: Revolution X

revx 75x75The plot concerned a dystopian version of 1996 where an alliance of government and corporate forces had taken control of the US in the guise of the “New Order Nation” (NON). The NON, with their vampish commander, Mistress Helga (portrayed by Kerri Hoskins), have declared war on youth culture and have banned music, television and video games – ironically enough. At a gig in Los Angeles at ‘Club X’, complete with neon sign, Aerosmith were captured by NON troops and the game began. Side-scrolling, blasting, member-rescuing, sensory-rape of a game. Fun? Meh.

No, neither of these 2 is me. But, it’s the best arcade shot I could find.

Terminator 2

terminator 2 75x75A first-person shooter that offered you the ability to become a resistance fighter fending off a million onslaughts of Arnolds that came at you in unstoppable waves. As you shot at each one, they didn’t just drop, either! Oh no! Their skin sloughed off and then you had to shatter the seemingly impenetrable endo-skeleton thereby dispatching the bad guy. But it was far from easy; even with the weapon enhancements and what not. Eventually, you had to fell the seeker jets and that was far from a picnic, let me tell you. This game was an ATM in reverse.


popeye1 75x75Oh man, do I remember this one. Along with Kangaroo, perhaps one of the longest-lived games in our sorely-missed arcade. It was always there in one location or another, and it was fun to play. Yeah, it was a standard jumping Donkey-Kong-style with numerous enemies and miscreants from the Popeye cartoon in the way, but it was tough and Bluto was such a bastard. The spinach consumption was definitely a nice touch.


tron 75x75This game was as unusual as it was damn difficult. The Light Cycle stage was just a nightmare! You had to build your light-wall just as in the film in order to trap, thereby destroying, the enemy. It was tough and it was quite frequently my ass smashing into the trail. Then, I remember the disc-tossing part where you had to hit certain weak spots in the boss’ rotting armor. I enjoyed it, and I was piss-poor at it, too. Good times.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

tmnt 75x75One of the first four-player models that allowed you to control each of the turtles (one at a time) or each one separately if you had a multitude of people with you. It was tough, it was long, and it was really funny as well. Remember getting tossed into the screen effectively breaking the ‘fourth’ wall as well as slipping down sewer grates? Good stuff. By the way: this game was obviously a response to the popularity of the animated TV sow, not the far-bleaker Eastman and Laird Comic… though that would have made for a sick game, too.

Golden Tee

golden tee 75x75After I’d turned 21 and began frequenting local watering holes, I was always in front of one of these machines while I sipped a cold one. Something about the allure of a sport that I had zero desire to actually play in the real world appealed to me. Besides; with that big white ball you would use to control just about everything, including the wallop of your stroke, it just really made you feel more like you were somehow involved. Oh, and if you REALLY got going on that thing, you could break the glass, your wrist, or worse; drop your beer. Anyway, it was fun, I got OK at it, and it was certainly everywhere.


xmenarcade 75x75This game was awesome! Based solidly on the TMNT platform, you were able to choose between several different X-Men and had full access to their powers such as Cyclops’ eye-beams, Wolvie’s claws and berserker rage, Storm’s weather manipulation… and so on. Basically you fought your way through Sentinel soldiers on your way to different stage-ending boss battles. Fun stuff, extensive cast, and with a nice comic book feel as a well.

The Simpsons

simpsons 75x75In this blast of a game, you could be any one of the four main cast members (sans Maggie, unfortunately) and were given free reign of Springfield as you fought off bullies, bosses, co-workers, and animals. The main things I remember about the attack options were Bart’s skateboard and Marge’s hair. It was a ton of fun and it offered up a few mini-games where you would go one-on-one with each other inflating giant-head balloons. Oh, and there were times when you could combine the forces with another member of your family and do more silly damage. Great game.

Star Wars

starwarsarcade 75x75Now this was one of those games that you would literally get shoved out of by voracious gamers waiting not-so-patiently to whoop your ass. More or less it was you, presumably as Luke, piloting your X-Wing through the Death Star trenches in glorious surround-sound and pulsating line-based graphics. And above and beyond that, the machine moved and rumbled in tandem with your collisions! It was fun, it was fast, and it was one of the first all-encompassing sit-style games.


cnba jam 75x75Commandeering any number of a combo of two players from each of the NBA teams and playing against an opponent, or three, as well as versus the computer, your basic job -aside from scoring points the standard way- was to perform the most elaborate and gravity-defying dunks you could. Acquiring power-ups was the name of the game in order to get yourself ridiculous slams from as far away as half-court. The more shots you made, the more you ‘heated up’ until you were literally ‘on fire’ and had a far better chance of nailing a 360-mid-air super slam. This game was a ball and featured the ‘big-head’ style of graphics so you always knew who you were.