Unlike 1980, there are plenty of options for satisfying your inner gamer. You no longer are forced to carry one hundred and forty quarters in your pocket, and drive around endlessly looking for an arcade. There’s a much easier solution: pick up Midway Arcade Origins for Xbox 360. You can play 31 classic retro arcade games without having to search for that one working change machine.

These games are great for gamers who want to relive their childhoods or introduce their kids to the classic games they grew up with, setting them on the path to excellence. You can unlock achievements and play locally or on Xbox Live with friends. Save your highest score online, and ensure your bragging rights for generations to come. When it comes to the old school scoring bracket featured in arcades, having a three letter last name pays off.

Browse through genres by selecting shooter, sports, action, driving or platform. Adding titles to the favorite category for easy access is a great feature. Many of the games are for two to three players, which is perfect since I rarely play alone. The only four player games I found were Tournament Cyberball 2072, Gauntlet, and Gauntlet II.

Here are some games that I liked and that stood out in this collection:

Rampage: The original classic destruction fest is back for you and three friends. It absolutely stands the test of time, retaining its three player glory.

Before Peter Jackson and Roland Emmerich!

Gauntlet and Gauntlet II: These games always improved with each new version, but it’s great to see its arcade origins.

Avada Kedavra!

Pit Fighter: A pre-curser to Mortal Kombat, this 1990 gem was one of the first games to use digitized live actors as fighters.

It has begun, before.

Defender: They trained Will Smith for his role in “Independence Day” with this classic must-play game. I feel it’s almost mandatory to give Defender and its sequel a try if you consider yourself an aficionado.

To mend and defend.

The retro theme music that plays while you select your game is perfect. Sound is restored perfectly and nothing feels as if it’s been left out. There’s a great attention to detail in the execution; even the menu is alive and animated behind your selections. While playing, the side screen is filled with colorful images from the game’s original advertising.  Thankfully, you are given the option to adjust the screen size, wallpaper, and choose either sharp, clean, or smooth graphics. Obviously each game is graphically not in high definition, yet the pixelated graphics are bright and colorful.

I had a few issues with the controls on a few titles. These games were designed to be played with a trackball. Granted, there is a joystick on the controller, but it’s not the classic tough throttle track-ball. That bad boy was designed to withstand hundreds of aggressive players every day. This can lead to a bit of difficulty in navigating some of the driving games, such as Off Road or Toobin’. But it is easier to mash the buttons on the Xbox controller, instead of those greasy arcade buttons, so it’s a “give and take.” I really liked that you can use the trigger on your controller to control the gas in some of the driving games. You can change the controls to your liking, which can be extremely helpful. A few games allowed me to edit the original control layout for Xbox ease, and I was happy to have that option.

Come on down to Satan's Hallow.

Many of these games stand the test of time, others are held up by strong crutches. Some of the titles are lucky to have made it to this collection. I don’t know if they would have seen the light of day otherwise.  I understand there are always legal and royalty issues to deal with, but I feel a few more memorable titles could have been included with some of the throw backs.

After recently seeing the movie Wreck-It Ralph, I’m glad to see classic video games like these coming back into the spotlight. The film referenced a game in this collection titled Root Beer Tapper, where the various video game denizens retired for a nice cold one. Thanks to Midway: Arcade Origins I can now experience playing this classic game. The barman looks scarily similar to Mario, and makes me wonder if plumbing is only his day job.

Can I start a tab?

I cannot argue with the 30 dollar price tag, making it roughly a dollar per game. Thankfully, unlike the real arcade, you only have to pay once. This collection is absolutely worth getting if you want to stroll down memory lane or explore video game origins. Playing with friends is always my favorite, and these titles are great for playing with experienced gamers, or someone who has never touched a controller. I hope in the future these collections become a little larger and include more popular titles. For now, this is a good step in the right direction.

The games included are:

Here’s the rundown:

 

+ Customizable screen and controller settings
+ Quality audio and sound restoration
+ “Favorite” feature makes most-played titles accessible
+ Variety of multiplayer games
- Difficulty with original control layout
- Few memorable titles amidst lesser known offerings
- Built on pure nostalgia, with little appeal for those that didn’t grow up with these games


7 and 7.5 represent a game that overall manages to be worth a playthrough, just not worth the full price at launch. These scores are for games that are relatively good or even really good, but generally worth waiting for a sale or picking up as a rental when possible.

Midway Arcade Origins was developed by Midway and published by Warner Bros. Games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game was released in the United States on  November 6th, 2012 at the MSRP of $29.99. A copy of was provided by the publisher to RipTen for the purposes of review.