Arcade games given ‘bonus round’ online as values soar

In days gone by we'd have found ourselves and our friends and family huddled around Antique Games Tables, playing all sorts of card and board games, but not quite so much in recent years. The last few decades saw us frequent Arcades with neon lights, the rattle of change, sci-fi sound effects and sugary drinks. These Arcade halls of old, may no longer be the packed-out pocket change consuming behemoths that they once were, but there is no denying that the original video games themselves still play a key role in popular culture.

While arcades themselves may be dying out, arcade games are as popular as ever, driven by a nostalgia that’s fuelled by Twitch streamers and online forums. 

Twitch, the online platform where you can livestream to anyone around the world as you play videogames is populated with arcade gamers, new and old. Twitch’s Retro category has more than one million subscribers, while online versions of classic games allow anyone to jump straight into iconic worlds and characters.

This resurgence of classic gaming into the mainstream, crossed with a run of key anniversaries in the arcade world; Pac-Man celebrated his 40th last year, while Donkey Kong hits 40 this year, has inspired more gamers to track down original versions of their beloved gaming cabinets.

We decided to scour through listings, valuations and sales from around the world to determine the top 10 ‘MVP’ arcade game units of all time.

1. Blaster - Williams’ cockpit - £8,600

Released in 1983, only five units of this cockpit cabinet were ever made and in 2010 it took the Guinness World Record for the most expensive arcade game of all time, and still hasn’t been surpassed.

2. Sinistar - Dedicated duramold - £7,200

Only a handful of these were made when it was released in 1982, so collectors will be willing to pay up to $10,000 to get their hands on this bespoke duramold machine.

3. Asteroids - original 1979 cabinet - £6,750

One of the most iconic arcade games of all time, and originally released in 1979, these are highly sought after, with a perfect condition machine commanding a price of £6,750

4. Defender - original 1981 cabinet - £6,750

Another icon from the golden age of arcade games, an original Defender cabinet in mint condition is also worth £6,750

5. Cosmic Chasm - original 1982 cabinet - £6,500

The first game to be originally released for a home system and then released in an arcade version was Cosmic Chasm (1982), this arcade cabinet is now worth around £6,500

6. Discs of Tron - original 1983 cabinet - £6,100

In the movie of Tron, the main character gets transported into the virtual world of an arcade game, the spin off arcade game inspired by the movie was released a year later in 1983, and a dedicated arcade cabinet of Discs of Tron can be worth as much as £6,100 if in mint condition. 

7. Major Havoc - original 1983 cabinet - £5,800

Released by Atari in 1983 as an upright arcade cabinet, Major Havoc is still very much in demand within the arcade collectible world.

8. Death Race - original 1976 cabinet - £5,800

The oldest game to feature on our top 10 list, Death Race was released in 1976 and was one of the first video games to garner controversy due to its in-game violence. An original machine can now be worth as much £5,800.

9. Pac-Man - original 1980 cabinet - £4,750

Despite being the most popular arcade game of all time, it only makes it to number nine on our list – mainly due to the fact that it was so popular, and so many machines were manufactured.

10. Space Invaders - original 1978 cabinet - £4,750

The second most popular arcade game of all time is also worth a pretty penny with generations of gamers still enjoying the simple alien killing premise of the original released in 1978.