The Best Selling Arcade Games

Throughout the late 70s, 80s and 90s games arcades were massive. In America, Japan and Europe coin operated gaming was one of the biggest growth industries and was the birth place to what today is the home modern gaming consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation.

At HBH we have complied a list of top selling arcades.

5. Defender – 1981
With approximately 60,000 units sold Defender is number 5 on our list. The development company Williams also published this arcade game in the early 80s and is a space shooter that brings 2d graphics and spaceships where the player has to shoot down the alien space crafts.

As expected, each level gets harder and harder and one of the big reasons why this arcade was so successful was that not only was it very addictive but also tied in very well with the release of the Star Wars movie.

4. Asteroids – 1979
Another space game in the HBH best arcade list. This game was a late 70s hit and over 100,000 sold worldwide brought to the masses by game making giants, Atari.
This vector based game worked because of the fast game play – you had control of a space ship that had to blast the incoming asteroids out of space and also the alien craft that would appear from time to time. You could rotate the ship, move forward via thrusters and fire straight ahead.
Asteroids was also ported to home gaming consoles such as the Atari 7800 and 2600.

3. Donkey Kong – 1981
A Nintendo classic, Donkey Kong was one of the first ever platform games. The player had to make their up a series of ramps whilst at the same time jumping over various obstacles that Kong was throwing down.

With 4 sub games, this game was probably also one of the first arcade games where there were unique aspects and not all levels were the same. The aim of the game is to complete all the levels and saving the damson in distress, weirdly called Pauline.

2. Space Invaders – 1978
When Tomohiro Nishikado designed Space Invaders he would have had no idea that over 350,000 units would be sold throughout the world. The game itself was iconic, if not for the music – the thudding noise of the space ships as they move closer to the ground is testimony to a great game that has stood the test of time.

The controls of the game are basic as you would expect. Left, right and shoot. Timing is everything in space invaders, there are bonus points awarded for taking down the space ship that flies right across the screen and as the wave of space ships move lower and lower the defence bases get weaker.

1. Pac-Man – 1980
The biggest selling arcade game of all time and the difference between number two, space invaders and Pac-Man at number one is not even close. Over 400,000 units of this game was sold making this little yellow sprite the most popular gaming character of all time.


There is thought to be 255 working levels of Pac-Man and is thought to be initially devised by a worker of Namco called Toru Iwatani. Did you know that the designer made Pac-Man look like a pizza with a slice taken out?