Before Arcadia, Gamest was Japan’s leading arcade-game magazine, back when people still went to arcades. In 1996 they did a 10-year retrospective, looking back on their back issues and discussing where they’d been, and (probably) where they’re going.
They also included a list of the noteworthy games covered each year, and I think it’s a fascinating look over the most interesting ten years of arcade gaming. The transition from one genre to the next is particularly interesting, and remarkably abrupt.
For your reading pleasure I’ll be listing each year here, starting with 1986. The list every year is not presented in any particular order.
Gamest’s 1987 Best Selection
Afterburner – Sega
R-Type – Irem
Outrun – Sega
Dragon Spirit – Namco
Genpei Toumaden (源平討魔伝) – Namco
Street Fighter – Capcom
Shadow Land (妖怪道中記) – Namco
1943 – Capcom
Ninja Kid 2 (忍者くん阿修羅ノ章) – UPL
There are a couple of interesting entries in this list. What the hell is Genpei Toumaden doing there? People liked that? When I played this game all I really felt was a disjointed, slow side-scrolling sword-swinging tech-demo. Where’s the fun?
It’s interesting to see AfterBurner in that list – who’s ever actually played it? It was rare and only out for a limited time before the superior, tweaked AfterBurner II was released.
Street Fighter? Please. The only reason it should be in anyone’s list is ’cause it spawned Street Fighter II, a game which didn’t suck in any of the ways this one did.
Actually, about half of this year’s games suck. It was a rough time for arcades, as they transitioned from the rawest hardware and game concepts to a new generation of games on hardware designed for the task.
They nailed R-Type though, and Outrun was fun. Dragon Spirit was good too, and 1943 is a classic. I’m a bit torn on Darius, aside from great graphics in level 1 and awesome 3-screen action it was, basically, ass.