Arcade Games, Arcade Machine, Arcade Machines

The History of Arcade Machines: See Their History

December 20, 2021

History of Arcade Machines

Arcade Gaming Machine is not a new name in Gaming History. However, the trend changed with the invention of electricity and computer technology. The history of arcade machines goes back to when the machines were coin-operated and computerized and the games revolved around luck.

Arcade machines are the classical video gaming machines that are controlled by the player through an input device/controls and are operated electrically or computerized way. The output is displayed on a computer screen. Some machines were coin machines and were operated by using coins.

The history of Arcade machines shows that different types of Arcade Machines were introduced from time to time as the trend changed. Every new version of arcade machines introduced new games as well. However, the arcade machines involve Skeeball Machine (1920-1940) Pinball Machine (1930-1960) Electro-mechanical Games (1940-1980) Video arcade Machines (1970 to now).

Table of Contents

Popular Arcade Gaming Machines in the Past

The history of Arcade machines goes back to when people used arcade games, games of skill and games of luck for gambling purposes. However, the introduction of gaming machines opened new ways for people to play games for amusement rather than for other purposes. The arcade machines in the past introduced various versions of games as well as the machine itself.

Pinball Machine

In the history of arcade machines, the Pinball machine was one of the earlier machines developed in 1933 and it was an entertainment machine that had a ball to score as many points by hitting the various spots and lights until the ball was lost in a hole or gutter ending the game. 

Although the game was popular among youth and many people liked it much yet many people considered it a game of luck and a gambling device and thus banned in many countries.

Pinball Machine
Tabletop Football Machine

Tabletop Football Machine

A sports-based gaming machine that used the theme of a football game. The game had miniature players on a playing board that looked like a football ground. The players moved the miniature players by using their skill and thus scored points to win. It was a game of skill that required the youth to show their sports skills on a gaming board.

Video Gaming Arcade Machines

A brief history of Arcade Machines shows that with every new version of the arcade machine, new games were also introduced. Arcade machines were adapted by the manufacturers from time to time for new games and requirements as the trend changed. 

A video game arcade was an electronic game that was an innovation in the history of arcade games. It was a new genre that introduced a new era of technologically enhanced gaming machines. Video gaming arcade machines involved input devices such as joysticks, keyboards and other motion-sensing devices. It had a video display such as a monitor, TV screen or other types of screens showing the input actions of the player on the screen. Those arcade machines also introduced a sound system through speakers or headphones. Video gaming arcade machines were unique in their features as compared to the older versions.

Computer Space 1
Computer Space 2

Computer Space

Computer space was a new genre in the history of arcade games. This era introduced combat games and the arcade machines were also modified according to the changing trends. It was the first arcade video game introduced in 1971 at the same time it was the first video game that was installed worldwide. It had a rocket that was controlled by the player with hardware devices. The player had to control the rocket and score more by hitting the enemy spaceships. It was a very popular game as it looked futuristic.


The history of arcade machines started again with the invention of the arcade video-gaming machine developed by Atari in 1972. It was the most successful gaming machine that introduced the sports game Pong. 

The game was a table-tennis game using graphics that were shown on a screen and players scored the points to win. It was the gaming machine that opened new ways for other manufacturers to introduce more games and gaming machines. Graphics were used and introduced a 2 player theme for scoring more points to win the game. It got popular and encouraged the manufacturers to introduce its home console as well. 

Later on, in 1978 another shooting game was introduced named Space Invaders. It was manufactured and sold in Japan. 

It was the age of the Pac-Man game introduced in 1980 that got popularity among youth.

Light Gun Shooter1

Light Gun Shooter

A Light gun shooter was a new version of arcade machines and a new shooting device introduced in combating games. A light gun was a pointing device resembling a gun and used as a controlling device for arcade video games. The light gun shooter arcade machine enabled the players to shoot a target in action video games. 

Golden Age

The golden age of arcade games (from 1978 to 1983) started with the release of many games such as computer space, space invaders, Pong, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Missile Command, Scramble and Galaxian. These were very popular games of that time as the children loved them the most.

Golden Age1
Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong was a video arcade game introduced in 1981. The game introduced a Giant Gorilla named Donkey Kong who jumped over the obstacles to reach the scoring point. 

In the early 1990s to mid-2000s combat and competitive fighting games were introduced named Street Fighter II and Mortal Combat.

Action Games

The decline of arcade games was a downfall in gaming history. The revival came in the 1990s with the arrival of fighting games. Street Fighter II was introduced as an action game. Action games introduced a gaming genre that focused on physical challenges. It introduced a great variety of fighting, racing and shooting games. Death Race was a famous game of this era.

Racing Games

Racing video games was a version of modified arcade machines that introduced a genre of racing and competition gaming arcades. It was the year 1990s and the players participate in a racing game in a fantastical setting. These games introduced a simulation-style game trend and fell under the category of sports video games. 

Racing Games
Virtual Racing 1

Virtual Racing

Another game was introduced in the history of Arcade Machines in 1992 by Sega AM2. It opened ways for 3D graphics and gaming zone. 

While seeing through the history of arcade machines, it can be said that the new modified versions of arcade machines have been updated from time to time as the need, demand and trend aroused. The recent shape of arcade machines agave gone through many ups and downs and changes of the ages. Now, the arcade machines have become smart enough by including all the features, controlling devices, input devices and displaying mediums. Home consoles have been introduced by the manufacturers today. Now arcade machines are not limited to only 1 or 2 games. Today, we get thousands of games preinstalled in a single machine and we can enjoy unlimited features of arcade machines. 

So, if you have a craze for arcade gaming machines, the time is to order now for the best possible gaming experience.


This History of Arcade Machines Does not End Here

Arcade machines are still going strong, they have diminished since their heyday but the appeal remains and they are on the up and up again.  Having an arcade machine in your house is an experience that should and will be enjoyed for years to come.

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