What Makes An Arcade Game A ‘Classic’?

We all need ways to spend our leisure time. It’s what makes life worthwhile, amid the hustle, the bustle and the grind of daily life. Modern living can be so busy, with multiple commitments to attend to, day in and day out. From work, studying, raising children and finding time for exercise, eating right, and finding time for friends and extended family. It can be difficult to strike that balance. 

One pastime that many of us grew up with is arcade video games. Can you recall those weekends spent in the arcade, dumping coins into the machine and playing til your eyes were sore? Those were the days. 

But what makes classic arcade machines ‘classic’? What makes these types of games stand the test of time and still hold up well in this modern age? We’ll unpack this topic below. 

They Offer Total Immersion 

One thing that makes an arcade game a classic hit is that it offers total immersion when you play. Being immersed in a game is a feeling like no other. All other thoughts fall away, and it’s just you, the game and your high score. You can spend hours without pause, apart from drink, food and bathroom breaks. 

All of a sudden, you look up, and you’ve been playing for four or five hours. Wow, those were the days, weren’t they? Imagine if we all had that time to play games as an adult.

But time limitations aside, if an arcade game can offer immersive gameplay, that makes it a classic. 

Let’s keep discussing what makes arcade games classic hits. 

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They Make Their Way Into Popular Culture

Another way to tell if an arcade game is a classic hit is if it has made its way into popular culture. This means that it has spawned films, comics, books, toys and a whole range of merchandise. 

Think about arcade games such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders and Sonic the Hedgehog. All are part of our current cultural milieu and have inspired other forms of media. Street Fighter, Mortal Komba and Sonic have all had films produced over the years, and everyone knows Space Invaders, which has even inspired a single-player board game that was a smash hit last year. 

They Have Limitless Replayability

Another factor that makes an arcade game a classic hit is its replayability. This means that you can keep coming back to the game, year after year, without getting bored of playing. If a video game offers this value, it makes it a classic. Despite being decades old, some of the games we’ve mentioned above are still a blast to play today. 

Yet another sign of replayability is if you choose to play a classic arcade game over a newer title that might offer modern features and sleek graphics. 

Younger People Can Enjoy Them

Finally, if the younger generation of gamers can enjoy a game, chances are it’s a classic.

For instance, some old arcade games have not aged well and may not appeal to younger gamers. Modern kids’ video games are vastly different today from when we were growing up.

If you can boot up an arcade game machine and introduce it to your kids, or nieces and nephews, or the other young folks in your life, and they experience the same wide-eyed wonder and joy that you did when you played it for the first time, it is definitely a classic. 

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An Arcade Classic Conclusion

We’ve covered all the elements that make an arcade game a ‘classic’. Classic games need to offer total immersion, and they are often ingrained into popular culture. Also, they offer high amounts of replayability – people still enjoy them decades later, despite newer games being on the market. And if modern kids can enjoy an arcade game as much as you did when you were their age – it’s a classic for sure. 

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