With a new year and decade upon us, it’s time to alert everyone to some important anniversaries that will be coming along this year. We won’t cover every game celebrating a birthday in 2020, as that would get far too complicated and wordy – just the stuff that most people know with a few obscurities thrown in here and there.
Turning 40
Back in 1980, the arcade business was livin’ large as it was right in the middle of the vaunted “Golden Age.” Competition among developers was high, technology improving to mean that black & white games were old hat. With a few hundred releases taking place this year, it’s not worthwhile to mention everything, but some of the notable titles will include:
Pac-Man (Namco) – We might as well start with the one that everyone will be talking about when May 22nd rolls around – Pac-Man. You know Pac-Man…or at least, you should. Then again, if you’re on this site, then you know all of these games either from having played them or having at least heard about them. Designed by Toru Iwatani, the cultural impact of Pac-Man is enormous, so I’ll be shocked if Bandai Namco doesn’t do something on the arcade side to properly celebrate the character this year.

Pac-Man statue at IAAPA 2019

Defender (Williams) – On the opposite end of the difficulty spectrum from Pac-Man was the “Vid Kidz’” Defender. Despite being a much more complex game than Pac-Man was, it steamrolled in the earnings department. Unfortunately these days, complex games seem to underperform in arcades, but gamers at the time found that Defender forged their skills. This one was released in November.

BattleZone (Atari) – Also released in November, this game is often called the “granddaddy of First Person Shooters.” While it was a bit slower paced than something like