Midway Arcade Origins

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Midway Arcade Origins Game Poster Image
Travel back in time with collection of fun '80s games.

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Midway Arcade Origins wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive Messages

This is a collection of 30 different arcade games from the '80s, so there isn't one uniform message (positive or negative) among all of them. Most of them are fantasy games, like shooting robots or slaying creatures, although a few feature blood. In one game, you're a police officer who arrests baddies.


Positive Role Models & Representations

You play as a number of different characters spread out throughout all of these arcade games. Some are somewhat violent, such as killing aliens or robots, but usually the storyline is about defending humanity. In another game, you're riding on a giant bird and slaying enemies. You don't get to know your protagonist much at all in these '80s arcade games as story takes a backseat -- if there is one at all.

Ease of Play

These arcade games are easy to play on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controller. As with most arcade games in the '80s, controls are quite simple compared to today's games. Each game has a tutorial and screen that shows the control layout.


Some of the games are violent and feature blood, such as Gauntlet (fantasy adventure), Pit Fighter (fighting game) and other combat-themed games (Smash TV, Total Carnage) -- but the graphics in these coin-op games are crude pixels so blood looks like LEGO bricks. But there is still carnage and even boss characters that can be dismembered (a cyborg).


One game (A.P.B.) talks of criminals who are wanted by the authorities for "hooking."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The A.P.B. game talks about criminals who are wanted for "selling drugs," or for being "dopers." In Root Beer Tapper, you're a bartender slinging foaming brown drinks to patrons.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Midway Arcade Origins is a collection of classic arcade games from the '80s. While the themes might not be so appropriate -- such as killing contestants in a Running Man-like futuristic game show, fighting a cyborg to the death, or blasting a robot invasion -- the graphics are quite crude by today's standards and not realistic. Some do present blood (although it is pixilated). Plus, in one game there are references to drug dealers and hookers.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old July 18, 2013


Strong gambling

What's it about?

What's old is new again. On one disc, MIDWAY ARCADE ORIGINS is a collection of 30 classic arcade titles from the golden age of gaming. This includes seminal favorites like Defender, Gauntlet, Root Beer Tapper, Spy Hunter, Joust, Rampage, Wizard of Wor, Xenophobe, Satan's Hollow, and Total Carnage. There are also lesser-known games and sequels (e.g. Defender II, Gauntlet II). Midway has also added Xbox 360 Achievements and PlayStation Network Trophies, so gamers can earn awards for playing well and compare them with friends. Plus, they've also added some co-op gaming support for three players on the same TV (depending on the game).

Is it any good?

These classics are likely to strike a nostalgic chord (hint: 40- or 50-somethings who grew up in smoky arcades) and can be something parents can share with their kids. These games are the original titles -- not remakes -- so purists will be happy with this collection. Some hold up better than others, such as Joust, Defender, and Robotron, while others perhaps not so much. Adding Xbox 360 Achievements and PSN Trophies is a good idea, as is co-op multiplayer on the same TV (and the ability to post high-scores online to boast to the world). But at $30, this is a little too much for what you get -- if you know what you're doing online, you can download these games and use an "emulator" to play them -- but it's still a good '80s collection of classics for nostalgic types.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether outdated graphics ruin the overall experience. Does a game need near-photorealistic visuals to be engaging or does solid gameplay make up for it? Can your imagination fill in the rest?

  • Families can also talk about the appeal of playing video games together. What is your favorite game for a group?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love playing games with others

Themes & Topics

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