It’s that time of year again that people look forward to with excitement and anticipation. We’re not talking about the beginning of summer or the end of school, we’re talking about E3! The Electronic Entertainment Expo has be bringing news of games and system developments since 1995, and people are going crazy speculating what companies have planned for the expo’s 20th anniversary. There are talks of Nintendo officially debuting their next system, and people can only imagine with Bethesda has planned after finally releasing a trailer for the much anticipated Fallout 4. Everybody is spending time looking towards the future of video games, but nobody is thinking about the games that got us here.

Sure, anybody can play a video game on their phone or in the comfort of their own home today, but back in the day, the arcade was the only place for gamers to get their fix. So many quarters and hours have been sunk into certain games that they deserve a place in a gaming hall of fame. US Gamer has compiled a list of 10 of the highest grossing arcade games of all time and some of the games that made it on the list may surprise you.

Mortal Combat

When you have a gaming franchise that has recently released the 10th incarnation of their acclaimed series, it can be easy to forget that it had its start in the arcade! Midway has managed to sell a whopping 24,000 arcade cabinets of their legendary fighting game. The game caused an uproar with parents and politicians and led to the creation of the controversial Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).


When most people think of early arcade shooters, their minds usually turn to Asteroids or Space Invaders, but Defender is without a doubt the ultimate early 80’s shooter. Surprisingly enough, we wouldn’t have Defender if it wasn’t for the games Asteroids and Space Invaders. Creators Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar loved the games so much that they wanted to create a hybrid version that combined all of their favorite gameplay elements.

Ms Pac-Man

Pac-Man (rightfully) gets a lot of credit for being one of the games that brought gaming into the mainstream, but we cannot discount his female counter part. By 1987, each Ms Pac-Man game arcade machine successfully made Bally Midway a whopping $1.2 billion in revenue. Ms Pac-Man was also a bit trickier than Pac-Man. Developers added four new mazes to the game and made the ghosts move randomly, so it required much more skill to master.