Star Wars Arcade Games of the 1980s

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is undoubtedly the movie event of the festive period. Do you remember the great Star Wars upright and cocktail arcade games you used to play back in the 1980s, though?

Here is a look back at some of those fantastic games.

Star Wars

Star Wars arrived in arcades in 1983, around six years after the movie of the same name. It was a first-person shooter where you pilot an X-Wing as Luke Skywalker. The goal is to destroy the Death Star which means getting the X-Wing through the various levels. In most other similar arcade games, the objective is to kill all the attacking spaceships but in Star Wars, you just have to make sure Skywalker's X-Wing survives long enough to take on the Death Star.

Star Wars was made by Atari and was eventually ported to home consoles. As with many video game titles, however, the arcade version remains the best.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was the third movie released in the franchise, but it was the second game to hit the arcades – this was in 1984, one year after the first arcade game. The first game had vector graphics but Star Wars: Return of the Jedi featured raster graphics and an isometrically projected perspective instead of being a first-person shooter. This gave it a different look and feel than the first Star Wars arcade game.

In the game, you pilot the three main vehicles that appear in the Return of the Jedi movie – a speeder bike, the Millennium Falcon, and an AT-ST. The final objective is to fight and defeat a Star Destroyer.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

The second movie in the franchise got its arcade game in 1985. Like the other two titles, Atari also made this one, releasing it as a kit that could be used to convert the original 1983 version. This unusual way of releasing the game means it is less well known than the original. This is because arcade owners were reluctant to do the conversion when they were still making money from the first game. Looking back at the great arcade games we used to play in the 1980s is interesting, but it’s more fun to play them again. Check out our range of classic arcade machines today.