10 Best Retro iOS Arcade Games


The 10 best retro arcade games in the App Store should be a list of fifty games. No, a hundred! The arcades of the 1980s were a special place for millions of kids. You couldn't walk down the street without tripping over a pinball or arcade machine. They were everywhere -- from convenience stores to sandwich shops to bowling alleys. Arcades ruled the '80s but the home console boom eventually killed them off. Now you can relive some of those awesome games you grew up playing with these original -- and remixed -- arcade classics. (I wish I could include the apps no longer available, like Atari's excellent Missile Command remix, which was sadly pulled from the App Store in 2010.) Got your pocket full of quarters? Then let's begin our countdown!

  • 10

    Atari's Greatest Hits

    Atari Interactive

    Atari's Greatest Hits features a collection of some of their best classics, like Tempest, Asteroids and Centipede. It also includes their library of Atari 2600 titles. Controls aren't too bad, and the games are emulated pretty well. The token system is pretty stupid, but if you spend $10 you'll get all 100 games available to play anytime you want. Tokens? We don't need no stinkin' tokens.

  • 9

    Pac-Man Games

    NamcoBandai Games

    Oh, sure. You could buy Pac-Man all by itself, but why do that when Pac-Man Games offers so much more? With six available classic remixes to play -- like Rally-X S, Dig-Dug S, and more -- you'll be entertained for hours as you try and rack up your high score and compete with your friends over Facebook. There's nothing like boasting about the high score you just pulled off on someone else's wall.

  • 8

    Tapper World Tour

    Warner Bros. Entertainment

    It may not be the original beer pouring classic, but this updated look at Tapper is worth picking up, with its Story and Endless Modes and crazy, fun, bar patrons. It doesn't seem to be very stable, and has crashed a couple of times on the new iPad. But when it does work, its wacky and colorful world stages will bring you back to those days when you were 12 years old, serving cold brewskis to thirsty arcade customers.

  • 7

    Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition

    Konami Digital Entertainment

    Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition made our 10 best retro arcade games list because it has not only the classic game available, but also a ton of new modes and crazy themes, like Castlevania and Contra. It takes the Frogger we know and love to the next level. One thing missing is a control pad, but hopefully they'll add that in a future update. For now, leap on over to the App Store and pick this up. Just be sure to look both ways before crossing the street.

  • 6

    Midway Arcade

    Warner Bros. Entertainment

    Whoa, whoa, whoa ... are you trying to tell me I can play Joust, Rampage, Defender, Spy Hunter, Gauntlet II, Total Carnage and more? All in one app? No wonder I downloaded this the day it came out! Midway Arcade not only has a bunch of classics, but you can play ticket redemption games for cool virtual toys and prizes. It's a great addition to anyone's retro arcade iOS library.

  • 5

    Galaga 30th Collection

    Namco Networks America

    OK, so some gamers might complain that the original versions of Galaxian and Galaga aren't available to play in this app, but they'll forget all about that once they get their hands on these updated remixes of their favorite series of games. From the beautiful graphics and excellent touch controls to the wide variety of games and pulse-pounding music, Galaga fans are going to love this app. Yes, you have to pay for each game, but they're worth it. I just wish they'd get rid of that worthless size-hogging intro movie. 135 megs for a Galaga game? C'mon guys.

  • 4


    Namco Networks America

    You loved playing it in the arcades and you'll love playing it on your iPhone. This faithful recreation of the arcade classic is just as you remember it. No new bells and whistles, just your little police mouse going up against those dastardly cat burglars. Touch controls are spot on and the game looks and sounds fantastic. There are even Gamecenter achievements for us high score hunters. Now where's our high resolution iPad version Namco?

  • 3

    Karate Champ

    Revolutionary Concepts

    Oh, it's so good ... it's sooooooo good. The original one-on-one karate game was a huge hit in arcades and it's been faithfully ported over to iOS. It looks great on your iPhone, but wait until you see the iPad version. Beautiful crisp graphics and responsive touch controls make every match just as intense and stressful as they were in the arcade. Now if only I could master that darn jump kick, I might actually get past the fifth stage.

  • 2

    Dragon's Lair

    Electronic Arts/Dragon's Lair LLC

    What can be said that hasn't been said already about the original laserdisc classic that's still as beloved today as it was when it first came out back in 1983? The HD iPad version of Dragon's Lair looks incredible, and the gameplay is just like you remember it. Play the Arcade version, or the Home version, with scenes that were missing from its initial release. Beat the game and you can even watch the entire thing without having to life a finger. Well, what are you waiting for? Lead on adventurer! Your quest awaits!

  • 1

    Pinball Arcade

    FarSight Studios

    Surprised by my #1 pick? Who said the best retro arcade game had to be an arcade cabinet game? Pinball was just as incredible an experience as arcade games, and FarSight Studios has gone above and beyond with their faithful ports of Funhouse, Bride of Pinbot, Medieval Madness, Monster Bash and more. New tables are being added every month, so the game is constantly being updated with the pinball classics you grew up playing. They even secured enough Kickstarter funds to get the rights to adapt the heralded pin The Twilight Zone. If you're an arcade junkie, you owe it to yourself to download Pinball Arcade. Believe me, you won't be disappointed.

What Is Your Favorite Retro Game in the App Store?

Which retro classic is your favorite in the App Store to play? Which one should have gotten the coveted #1 spot? What arcade classic would you like to see ported to iOS? Let us know in the comments below!
Categories: Lists, Retro Games, iOS
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