Armed with my £5 worth of pocket money I would often visit the local video (VHS) rental store and spunk it all on an arcade gaming session.
Five pound was 30 credits back then (50p for 3 credits) and that £5 was the best fiver that I spent, it brought me joy untold as I tried in vain to beat the latest arcade game.
The thing with playing arcade games of the time is the fact that in the video shop there were only two arcade games so you would get all the regulars crowding round to watch people play the latest game and pitch in with unwanted (and sometimes needed) advice at key moments in the game. Friendships and rivalries were built in those places.
Arcade games were the holy grail of video games at the time due to the fact that most home machines at the time couldn't quite match the power of the arcade machines with their beautiful colourful graphics and brilliant exotic sounding digitised speech.
I took my £5 to those places to worship at the altar of SEGA, Konami, Capcom and Taito because I just loved the feel of playing those games with an audience (apart from Street Fighter 2 where I would always want to just play alone because I was so crap at it!) and amongst great friends.
There were times I can remember when my best mate Paul would actually take £50 out of his dad's wallet so as we could all go and play arcade games all day!!! Trips to Brighton just to play NBA Jam, trips to the water park just to play Turtles and World Cup 90 in their arcade, arcade games were worthy of the spend and that's why I thought it would be cool to devise a list of the games that we pumped the most money into as we were growing up...
Say hello to my Top 10 Arcade Coin Guzzlers!
10. Operation Wolf -
Favourite Location To Play: Hastings Seafront
"Going on my hols and finding this cool arcade cab meant one thing.....that brilliant gun that vibrated like you were really firing it! Find a two player cabinet and say hello to arcade gaming 2 player bliss. I found this game hard as nails but such a great laugh! Shoot those greanades before they hit YOU!! YIKES!!!"
9. Final Fight -
Favourite Location To Play: London Trocadero
"Final Fight would swallow up many a 50p from me. Being a great fan of the Streets Of Rage games, Final Fight was those games but it felt like it was all on a grander scale with the players seeming huge! You gotta love Haggar and his spinning "Haaaaaaaaaarrrrrgh!" move (is it a "spinning Lariat?") "
8. Superman Arcade -
"This game came about when there seemed to be a dearth of decent games to play in the arcades around our way and for some reason we spent a lot of time playing this pretty average beat em up from Taito. "
7. Best Bout Boxing -
"The same time as the video shop had the Superman Arcade they also had this boxing game where the ultimate aim was to fight and and beat IVAN DRAGO (from Rocky IV). Being massive fans of the Rocky films meant that me and my mates spent plenty of time trying to knock the life bar out of Drago......but from memory it was bloody tough, if not impossible to beat the ol' chap!"
6. World Cup 90 -
Favourite Location To Play: Sea Shell Fish Bar Enfield Highway
"Dad would take me to the Fish & Chip shop on Fridays and we'd queue for ages but I didn't mind because I could watch people play World Cup 90. At the time it was the best footy game ever as you could do diving headers AND overhead kicks!!! I will never forget the time some bloke completed it while I was watching.....he was my hero, I was in awe as the mega sized World Cup dropped from the sky onto the pitch and the players danced around it!!!"
5. NBA Jam -
Favourite Location To Play: Brighton Seafront
"So the local places to play arcade games didn't have an NBA Jam machine and i'd only ever got the chance to play it when on my hols. We dreamed of spending a whole day perfecting our slam dunk skills, so me and my mates took a trip all the way to Brighton Seafront just to play NBA Jam.... Brighton was a 3 hour round trip by train.....we spent 2 hours in the Brighton arcade and then just had to turn around, leave the arcade and jump on the train home still hungry for more NBA Jam!!!"
4. Street Fighter 2 -
Favourite Location To Play: Brimsdown Newsagents Enfield
"Street Fighter 2.....what can you say about this behemoth that hasn't already been said? The fact that I was crap at the arcade game meant it just made we want to play the game more to try and get at least half good! The definition of a coin guzzler if I ever saw one!"
3. Altered Beast -
"This game blew my mind when I first played it. It had cool graphics, a great game mechanic and those brilliant sound effects....."POWER UP!" Watching your puny little dude became a hulking giant of a beast was brilliant and the magic spells and co op gameplay meant that while it was in the video shop we played the hell out of it!"
2. Dragon Ninja -
"This game was my favourite two player game of the era. It summed up the 80's for me. It was like an 80's film and you got to play it! Yes, the storyline was crud but the side scrolling beat em up action was proper cool, you just gotta love beating up those bad guys while on a moving train! The Dragon Ninja took my last pound!!"
1. Wrestlefest -
Favourite Location To Play: Cab Office Brimsdown Enfield
"When WWF was at the height of its powers in the early 90's there were a set of the finest Arcade wrestling games that were in the arcades of the time. Wrestlefest for me was the cream of the crop. I just loved the art style of the wrestlers and the way the games captured the atmosphere of the pre match hype and the around the ring action. To this day, I just gotta play Wrestlefest whenever I see it!"
What Arcade Game Guzzled YOUR Coins
More Than Any Other?