With the ongoing success of the Street Fighter series and the much hyped Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite just around the corner now, it’s safe to say that some beloved arcade game franchises have been successful with modern reboots. However, a lot of our favorite coin-eating cabinets have been abandoned – consigned to nostalgic corners of our memories and trotted out in endless “classic” collections or forgotten entirely as newer games kept hitting the scene.
It’s a shame too, because so many arcade games had fascinating premises and eye-catching art that were designed purely to grab attention, but could now be delved into for a richer experience with a modern remake. Cutting-edge graphics, heartier game engines, online multiplayer, virtual reality – the game industry has so much more at its disposal than it did in the ‘80s and ‘90s. With all these new tools game designers have, a lot of coin-operated classics could undergo a lot of polish or even be taken in exciting new directions.
And so, since we live in the age of endless reboots, remakes, revivals and sequels, why not wonder what it would be like if we modernized some of our favorite arcade games? Thus here are 15 Arcade Games That Deserve A PC/Console Remake.
Back when games were simpler, Rampage was a blast of cathartic fun. You and a couple friends could team up as a giant wolf, lizard and gorilla in order to get your Godzilla on and wreak pure havoc on an innocent city.
Could you imagine how awesome this game could look with modern graphic capabilities? How the beasts’ fur and scales could bristle with realism, and how glorious the wanton carnage would be as you trample through cities on your warpath? The display would be what the 2014 Godzilla should have been: non-stop kaiju chaos.
It might also help to break away from the set-view, side-scrolling format and adopt a more open world approach to the levels. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has shown how much fun it is to just explore an open world by climbing all over everything, so the only logical progression from there is to then have a game where you also smash everything that you climb.
And with a movie based on the franchise set for 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a new game in the near future.
No Man’s Sky had a ton of reasons why it fell flat, but one less discussed is its lack of stakes. Why the rush to get to the center of the galaxy or grind materials if there’s nothing to encourage or threaten you?
Imagine if the center of the galaxy was a giant robot demon face that roared “Run, Coward!” and tried to eat you. That’s what Sinistar was. Frantically flying your spaceship around the galaxy trying to build resources in order to prepare yourself for the eventual onslaught of a giant demon robot.
Sinistar was known for its crushing difficulty back in the day, but that would make it welcome now as a rogue-like game. Imagine booting up a procedurally generated solar system or galaxy and desperately scouring the new planets for resources to upgrade your kit and battle what is essentially a hungry Death Star. The game could have a ticking clock to keep you on edge, Majora’s Mask style, or perhaps the Sinistar could be always out there looking for you, taking queues from Alien: Isolation or other survival horrors. Either way, it would be worth it alone to have game with a planet screaming “I hunger!” at you again .
13. Jurassic Park
Every ‘90s kid would be able to recognize this beast: the big box with dinos on it, the horrible screeches of velociraptors, and those plastic red and blue light guns with a fifty-fifty chance that the red one was broken. Yes, it was the Jurassic Park arcade game, and it was an absolute blast. Hot off the heels of the classic Spielberg film, this game had all the dino-blasting you could hope for.
And while there a series of other popular dinosaur shooting games on consoles, like Turok and Dino Crisis, the subgenre has all but fizzled out at this point. Now that the movie series has come back with Jurassic World, why not bring back the games as well? It could play a lot like a Far Cry game, where you have to navigate your way across the overrun theme park, rescuing innocents and gunning down the roaming predators that want you for lunch. Upgrade your gear, command your own squad of trained raptors, and fight the more wild hybrid monsters.
One of the reasons why X-Men is so much fun as a franchise is its concept of a group of awesome individuals coming together to form an even more awesome team. The arcade game of X-Men took this to heart and offered up the option of 6-player co-operative play where each player got to control their own X-Men character, each with their own special power. The co-op, variety of play, distinct aesthetic of the comics in the early ‘90s, and solid beat-‘em-up gameplay made X-Men a favorite in arcades all over.
With Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite and X-Men: Dark Phoenix coming out in the future, more X-Men games would be warmly welcomed. Now imagine if you had a game full of non-stop fighting and not six mutants, but all of the significant characters throughout the comics. Not only that, but with online multiplayer, grabbing a team of mutants would be painless.
How cool would it be if you could go into a lobby as your favorite mutant and find five other players to tackle harrowing raid missions, a la Destiny? You could tackle great enemies like Magneto or Apocalypse, trying out different team compositions and power synergies every time. Or just charge in as six Wolverines, because that could probably defeat anything.
Let’s be real for a second: Cooking Mama practically has a monopoly on food games. There are tons of guns and slews of slashing, but a real dearth of games that adopt the quirkier, more benign fun of making amazing food.
That’s why it’s time for Burgertime to make a comeback. Is it silly and nonsensical for a man named Peter Pepper to climb up ladders and construct giant hamburgers while avoiding hostile eggs and pickles? Absolutely. But was that silliness and nonsense a ton of fun that many modern games lack? Absolutely.
A modern Burgertime could take the stoic platforming of the original and turn it into a whole world of giant foods. Instead of just making burgers, maybe you also need to swing across ropes made of noodle to pull pasta down and turn it into a plate of spaghetti. There could be an ice level devoted entirely to frozen foods and ice cream, or a level where you acquire a knife to sword fight some pesky onions and veggies. The world of Burgertime would be your oyster – and maybe you’d get to serve literal oysters too!
10. Metal Slug
The first Metal Slug hit arcades in 1996, and ever since then you’d be hard pressed to find an arcade without at least one cabinet from the bombastic series. The run and gun gameplay was so purely chaotic and cathartic, it was easy to spend hours (not to mention all your quarters) just mindlessly mowing down bad guys with machine guns, flamethrowers, laser guns, homing missiles, and more.
In 2006, the series came out with a third-person shooter on the PS2, but it was ultimately underwhelming and was never released outside of Japan. However, modern third-person shooters can be done extraordinarily well, delivering jaw-dropping action sequences thanks to the genre’s expanded camera view. Everything else that Metal Slug is known for – insane weapons, melee attack takedowns and vehicle segments – have all been implemented successfully in Gears of War and Mass Effect.
9. The House of The Dead
Horror first-person shooters are like having your cake and eating it too: it’s much more terrifying to see zombies coming at you through your “own eyes”, but it also feels extra cathartic and gratifying when it feels like you’re shooting them down yourself. That premise is one that led to The House of the Dead being such a popular arcade game. The voice acting was notoriously bad and the story was an amalgam of cliches, but it was such a rush to be surrounded by ghouls with only your trigger finger to save you.
Now shooters on rails like in arcades might not be as stimulating as first person shooters on consoles and PCs, however given that the current state of virtual reality hasn’t mastered movement yet, something like The House of the Dead would be a perfect fit. Instead of only looking straight ahead of you, VR could make you feel like zombies are coming from literally every angle – forcing you to snap back and forth, spraying bullets all around you, before being able to safely pass on to the next area.
Let’s just hope they don’t try to base the game on the movie adaptation.
8. Dig Dug
Dig Dug was made in an earlier era of video gaming when gameplay concepts were thought of first and all the art presentation stuff was just built up around it, not really worrying about how seriously someone would take the worldbuilding. However, that’s not to say that a modern, newer take on Dig Dug wouldn’t be compatible with today’s game market. In fact, with all the grim and gritty, maybe a bit of silly monsters and wacky air pump combat would be refreshing.
Given that verticality is such a pivotal theme in Dig Dug, it would make sense to make the newer incarnation a platformer. Digging up and down through caverns of various material could make for some interesting challenges. However, so much more can be done with the air pump. It could be thrown into certain points in the wall and pumped till they pop to unlock secret caverns or make bridges. Instead of killing every enemy, you might need to inflate some in order to use them as balloons across caverns or as flotation devices in water levels.
It probably won’t be able to top Zelda’s hookshot any time soon, but the puzzle potential is plentiful!
7. The Simpsons
The Simpsons arcade game was a simple premise, but undeniably fun. You and three other friends could take control of Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa to fight your way through Springfield and rescue Maggie.
These days, the sidescrolling beat-‘em-up genre is mostly dominated by the Lego games, and for good reason. They so perfectly blend visual gags, goofy combat, puzzle-solving, and huge rosters of playable characters.
A newer Simpsons game could do a lot with a similar model. With a show that has one of the biggest and most iconic bunch of characters, it’s such a shame that the original game only let you play as four of them. Instead of just endlessly whacking dudes with your skateboard as Bart, why not take control as Apu and chuck squishies at your foes? Attacking with nerdy ephemera as Comic Book Guy would be hilarious. Having two players playing as Itchy and Scratchy could make for endless wacky combo attacks.
Not to mention how much untapped potential there is in all of The Simpsons content since the arcade game’s release in 1991. Mr. Plow, Homer’s wonder bat, the Monorail, countless Treehouse of Horror sketches – all of that is prime content for video game hijinks.
6. Golden Axe
Golden Axe is arguably one of the best side-scrolling hack and slash games to ever hit arcades, and certainly one of the most recognizable. It was a standard medieval-fantasy affair with a muscled barbarian, scantily-clad Amazon, and surly dwarven fighter, but its beast-riding and character-specific spells really the player feel like a mighty warrior.
For a title as revered as Golden Axe is, it’s shocking that Sega hardly tried making modern iterations of it. With game engines being as powerful as they are now, games like God of War have revolutionized the hack and slash genre, offering up brutal combat with intimidating foes in high definition glory. A modern Golden Axe that took inspiration from God of War would be a spectacle indeed, because if Golden Axe would be able to keep its cooperative nature via online play, you could have not one, but two bloodthirsty warriors smiting great beasts. The co-op could go on to enhance the carnage as well, with the different characters’ magic abilities working in tandem with another in various destructive ways.
5. Dragon’s Lair
When Dragon’s Lair hit arcades in 1983, it was unlike anything else at the time. Instead of controlling a bunch of pixels with bleeps and bloops, Dragon’s Lair was a full-fledged cartoon animated by the talented Don Bluth that you controlled through a series of quick-time events. It felt less like playing a game, and more like you were controlling a movie.
That mission of cinematic immersion would work wonders today in the form of a virtual reality. Instead of feeling like a part of the movie, a virtual reality game could let you actually be in the movie. Rather than make you quickly input commands with a joystick, a VR Dragon’s Lair could test your reflexes through what you actually turn your head to look at during all the panic scenarios in the game.
All of the humiliating death scenes in the game might feel a bit more personal when you’re looking through the character’s own eyes, but it would be worth it to feel like you yourself conquered the dragon and saved the princess.
4. Robotron: 2084
Robotron: 2084 might be most well known for popularizing the dual-joystick control scheme, but the game had a lot else going for it. Intuitive enemies, fast shooting, and the imperative to rescue civilians all made Robotron a thrill. While the game hardly hinted at it, there was also the theme of the struggle between humans and their creations.
Modern games on PC and consoles now have the ability to maintain a narrative drive and explore complex sci-fi themes like this, which some series, like Deus Ex, have taken advantage of. A modern Robotron could tackle the questions of what happens when machines conclude that humanity is a damaging or obsolete force in the world.
You would be fighting to save your fellow humans, but the hero of Robotron is mechanically modified himself, and someone grappling with that kind of hypocrisy could make for a compelling character. Slowly but surely, as you upgrade your character to become more and more powerful, they would progressively look more robotic and less human, making you wonder what’s the point in fighting machines if you’re becoming one yourself?
The premise of Joust is a bit of a head-scratcher. Why are there armored knights, riding giant ostriches and vultures over pools of lava, trying to kill one another?
Well, because the game came out in 1982, for one thing. But also because it was awesome! With its simple and tight controls, swords and sorcery aesthetic, and cooperative play, Joust became a smash hit in arcades all over.
If a modern iteration were to take that original early ‘80s fantasy style and recreate it with modern graphics, it would look vibrant and stylistic – a refreshing departure from a lot of the more drab and gritty art styles many modern games have. Not only that, but Joust’s unique blend of competitive and cooperative gameplay could make a modern form a solid eSports contender. You could have a variety of giant birds, each with their own running and flying speeds and endurances, or a selection of different weapons to knock opponents out with.
It would be a lot like For Honor, except for, well, giant flying birds. But flying makes everything better, right?
We all probably remember Centipede mostly for its trackball control scheme and animated creepy crawlies, but did you know that the player character is actually a little elf with a magic wand? Yes, it turns out that you aren’t a normal-sized person with a gun, fending off giant bugs like many might’ve assumed, but rather a super tiny person, fighting normal-sized bugs amongst a field of mushrooms.
Now that premise – feeling like a small creature in a huge world fighting giant monsters – is one that modern games have excelled at. Imagine a game like Shadow of the Colossus where you’re scouring the world hunting down a variety of insects – the world and beasts being mundane and small, but looking alien and terrifying from a tiny perspective.
Alternatively, games series such as Monster Hunter and Dark Souls do a great job at combining RPG elements with exploring intimidating worlds and monumental boss battles. Customize your little elf with a variety of spells and abilities, live out your Honey I Shrunk The Kids fantasies, and tackle your arachnophobia head on. Who wouldn’t want that?
With the days of the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron days behind us, and the Star Fox series only producing a console game about once a decade, there seems to be a real dearth of pure starship shoot-em-up video games.
So why not bring back one of the granddaddies of them all; Galaga? Though technically the second game in its series (Galaxian being the first), Galaga arguably holds up as the most iconic thanks to its distinctive insect enemy types and those damn starships with the tractor beam. Losing a life to one of those could be frustrating, but it would all be worth it when you can rescue that ship and then control two at a time!
A modern Galaga could be a blast, shooting through wave upon wave of hideous space bugs in glorious detail. It would also be a fitting experience for virtual reality as well, with the isolation of being the only fighter in space, and the dive-bombing tactics of the enemy bugs would give you the sensation of being personally swarmed. Plus seeing a blip on the screen get dragged away is one thing, but getting pulled away in a tractor beam while you witness it all from the cockpit view would be a whole different terror.
What arcade game would you most like to see get a PC or console remake? Sound off in the comments!