This article contains a timeline of notable events in the history of
arcade video games, arcade system boards and video game arcade cabinets.
Early history (1971–1977)
January: Sega releases , Heavyweight Champ the first video game to feature  hand-to-hand fighting.   It uses  controls that simulate throwing actual punches.
 February: Sega releases , Road Race a  racing game that introduces pseudo-3D, forward-scrolling, third-person graphics.
 April: Taito releases , Speed Race Twin a sequel to  Speed Race that allows simultaneous two-player competitive dual-screen gameplay and uses colour graphics.
 April: Atari releases , which inspires a number of Breakout .
Breakout clones August: Sega releases , Man T.T. also known as  , an early Moto-Cross motorbike racing game, using a pseudo-3D, forward-scrolling, third-person perspective, similar to  Road Race. It also introduces  haptic feedback, causing the handlebars to vibrate during collisions.  Sega-Gremlin re-brands it as . Fonz
 October: Atari Inc. releases , Night Driver an early example of a first-person perspective racing video game.
Golden age (1978–1984)
June: Taito releases , the first Space Invaders blockbuster arcade video game, responsible for starting the  golden age of arcade video games. It also sets the template for the shoot 'em up genre, and influences nearly every  shooter game released since then. It introduced the concept of a  difficulty curve, with the aliens moving faster as the player kills more of them, making the game more difficult as it progresses. It also popularized the concept of achieving a  high score,  by  saving the player's score.  Targets could also fire back at the player,  and it featured multiple  lives,  taking cover using destructible barriers, and a dynamic  background soundtrack.
 June: Sega releases , Space Ship an early  vector graphics space combat game.
 August: Sega releases , Secret Base  which allows two-player  cooperative gameplay.
 December: In the Japanese arcade game market, Taito has earned $600 million (equivalent to $2.18 billion in 2016) from 100,000 machines. Space Invaders
 The US arcade game market's revenues increase to $1 billion in 1978 (equivalent to $3.63 billion in 2016).
October: Namco releases , which introduces Galaxian levels and boss encounters, and is the first game to have all of its graphics in RGB colour, popularizing graphics in  RGB colour. It has aliens periodically making kamikaze-like dives at the player's ship, giving the enemies their own individual personalities.  The  Namco Galaxian arcade system board used specialized graphics hardware supporting RGB color, multi-colored sprites, and tilemap backgrounds, distinguishing it from the  Taito 8080 monochrome framebuffer system of . Space Invaders Namco Galaxian also introduced a sprite  line buffer system, later adopted by arcade system boards such as the Namco Pac-Man, Midway's hardware, Tron and  Sega Z80. The Galaxian hardware was widely used by other game companies during the arcade golden age, including  Centuri, Gremlin, Irem, Konami, Midway, Nichibutsu, Sega, Taito, and bootleg manufacturers.
 November: Nintendo releases , a Sheriff run & gun multi-directional shooter with dual-stick controls (one joystick for movement and other for aiming) and many enemies shooting many bullets, influencing dual-stick shooters like and Robotron 2084 . Geometry Wars This was the first arcade game that  Shigeru Miyamoto worked on.
November: Atari releases , a major hit in the Asteroids United States and Atari's best selling game of all time.
 December: Shigeru Miyamoto makes his game design debut with , Radar Scope which introduces a  three-dimensional third-person perspective, imitated years later by shooters such as Konami's and Juno First Activision's . Beamrider
 The US arcade game market's revenues increase to $1.5 billion in 1979 (equivalent to $4.89 billion in 2016).
May: Namco releases , its biggest-selling game. One of the most influential games, it had the first gaming Pac-Man mascot character, established the maze chase genre, opened gaming to female audiences, and introduced  power-ups and  cutscenes.
 Namco releases , King & Balloon which is the first game to feature  synthesized voices. It is also an early example of dual-core processing, using two Z80 microprocessors, the second to drive a DAC for speech.
 Namco releases , the first game to feature Rally-X background music, multi-directional  scrolling, and a  radar to show the car's location on the map.
 December: DECO releases DECO Cassette System, the first standardized arcade platform, for which many games were made.
The US arcade game market's revenues rise to $7.19 billion in 1980 (equivalent to $20.6 billion in 2016).
February: Konami releases , the first side-scrolling shooter with forced scrolling and multiple distinct levels, Scramble and an early example of  multi-core processing, using two Z80 microprocessors and two AY-3-8910 sound chips.
 February: Williams Electronics release , a more challenging shoot-em-up space game with control configuration of five buttons and a joystick.
Defender June: Konami releases , a popular arcade Frogger action game. It also uses multi-core processing, with two Z80 microprocessors and an AY-3-8910 sound chip.
 July: Nintendo releases , which was one of the first Donkey Kong platform games. It was also the game that introduced Mario (named simply "Jumpman" at the time) to the video game world, and one of the first video games to have a fleshed out storyline.
 November: Namco releases , introducing a Bosconian free-roaming style of gameplay where the player's ship freely moves across open space that scrolls in all directions and a radar that tracks player & enemy positions on the map.
 December: Sega releases , a space combat Eliminator multi-directional shooter notable for being the only four-player vector game created. It featured a colour  vector display as well as both cooperative and competitive multiplayer.
 The US arcade game market's revenues increase to $8.2 billion in 1981 (equivalent to $21.3 billion in 2016).
January: Sega Zaxxon arcade system board debuts with , introducing Zaxxon isometric graphics and diagonal scrolling.
June: was created by Moon Patrol Irem and released in the U.S. by Williams. It is the first game to use parallax scrolling.
 July: Namco releases , Pole Position and it becomes one of the most popular racing games of all time.  It used full-color landscapes with  scaling sprites, and a pseudo-3D third-person view of the track, with its vanishing point swaying side to side as the player approaches corners, simulating forward movement into the distance. Its  Namco Pole Position hardware was the first to use 16-bit microprocessors, with two Zilog Z8002 processors, and displayed up to 3840  colors.
 November: Konami releases , which features a Time Pilot time travel theme and a free-roaming style of gameplay where the player's plane could freely move across open air space that scrolls indefinitely in all directions. 
 Sega releases , a Star Trek space combat sim featuring five different controls, six different enemies, and 40 different simulation levels. One of the most elaborate vector games ever released.
 December: Atari releases , Quantum an early arcade game to use a 16-bit  Motorola 68000 CPU, for more detailed and smoother vector graphics.
 The US arcade game market's revenues peak, increasing to $8.9 billion in 1982 (equivalent to $21.8 billion in 2016).
June: is released, as the first commercially released polygonal 3D arcade game (and one of the first in general, along with I, Robot ).
Plazma Line July: Data East releases Technōs Japan's , Karate Champ which is credited with establishing and popularizing the one-on-one  fighting game genre.
 August: Namco releases , an influential Pac-Land side-scrolling platform game.
Irem releases , which lays the foundations of the Kung-Fu Master beat 'em up genre,  combining side-scrolling  platform and fighting game elements with multiple enemies.
December: Atari Games releases , the first arcade game to use the Marble Madness Yamaha YM2151 FM synthesis sound chip, which is subsequently used in many arcade system boards in the 1980s.
The US arcade game market's revenues decline to $4.5 billion in 1984 (equivalent to $10.2 billion in 2016).
 16-bit processors are increasingly used in arcade machines, resulting in much more detailed and faster graphics.
Post-golden age (1985–1986)
January: Konami releases , which was the basis for modern Yie Ar Kung-Fu fighting games.
March: Tehkan releases .
Gridiron Fight April: Atari Games releases .
Paperboy May: Konami releases ( Gradius Nemesis in some countries).
July: is released by Hang-On Sega. It runs on the Sega Space Harrier hardware, which was the first of Sega's "Super Scaler" arcade system boards that allowed pseudo-3D sprite-scaling at high frame rates, and displayed 6144 colors on screen.  The pseudo-3D  sprite/ tile scaling was handled in a similar manner to textures in later texture-mapped polygonal 3D games of the 1990s. Designed by  Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki, he stated that his "designs were always 3D from the beginning. All the calculations in the system were 3D, even from Hang-On. I calculated the position, scale, and zoom rate in 3D and converted it backwards to 2D. So I was always thinking in 3D." It was controlled using a cabinet resembling a motorbike, which the player moved with their body. This began the "Taikan" trend, the use of  motion-controlled hydraulic arcade cabinets in many arcade games of the late 1980s, two decades before motion controls became popular on video game consoles.
 October: is released by Sega. Designed by Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki and running on the Space Harrier Sega Space Harrier hardware, it introduces a 98,304 color palette. It also introduced a true  analog flight stick for movement, with the ability to register movement in any direction as well as measure the degree of push, which could move the player character at different speeds depending on how far the stick is pushed in a certain direction.
 October: Atari Games releases .
Gauntlet Tehkan releases , the father of Tehkan World Cup association football/soccer games with an above view of the field.
 Namco begins development on the Namco System 21 Polygonizer, an arcade system board dedicated to producing 3D polygon graphics, around this time, over three years before the eventual release of . Winning Run
 The US arcade game market's revenues remain stagnant at $4.5 billion in 1985 (equivalent to $9.9 billion in 2016).
Due to the success of new action games emphasizing violence, such as Double Dragon and Contra released the previous year, the arcade industry has a brief recovery, with US arcade revenues in excess of $6.4 billion.
April: Namco releases , which was one of the first games to make use of massive sprite rotation as well as sprite scaling.
Assault September: Reikai Doushi by Home Data is released. Also known as  Reikai Dōshi: Chinese Exorcist or Last Apostle Puppet Show, it was the first fighting game to use digitized sprites and motion capture animation, and is the first  claymation fighting game. It also introduces finishing moves similar to fatalities.
September: by Top Landing Taito is released as the first coin-operated flight simulation game to use 3D polygon graphics. It runs on one of the first dedicated 3D arcade system boards, the Taito Air System.
 November: Namco releases , Splatterhouse the first game to get a parental advisory disclaimer.
 December: makes the jump from home to arcade as a Tetris Sega coin-op, along with another arcade version by Atari Games released the same year.
December: by NARC Williams is released and is one of the first commercially released games to use a 32-bit processor, the TMS34010.
Capcom debuts the CP System arcade board.
Namco introduces the Namco System 21 "Polygonizer", one of the first arcade system boards designed for 3D polygonal graphics. The first game to use it is the early 3D racing video game , the first polygonal 3D, arcade Winning Run racing video game. It is also one of the first to use a 32-bit processor, the Motorola 68020, and 3D graphical capabilities included flat shading, depth cueing, Z-buffering, and fog effects.
February: Exterminator, the second game with fully digitized graphics, is released. It had some of the highest quality digitized graphics until the release of  .
Mortal Kombat II February: by Atari Games is released as the second arcade driving game to have 3D polygon graphics.
Hard Drivin' September: is released by S.T.U.N. Runner and is known for its use of high-speed 3D polygonal graphics.
Atari Games December: Capcom releases beat 'em up game , which represents the peak of beat 'em up popularity in the arcades. Final Fight
is released by Air Inferno Taito and is the last game running on the 3D hardware Taito Air System.
is released by Galaxian³ Namco as a video game theme park attraction, based on Namco System 21 hardware, and is the first to feature 8 or more players. This game is a sequel to the Galaxian series and is known for combining pre-rendered laserdisc background video with 3D polygonal graphics. It was later released as a scaled-down arcade cabinet for public arcades in 1994.
is released by NAM-1975 and is the first game running on a SNK Neo Geo hardware, which became a standardized arcade platform throughout the 90s to the early 2000s. Many 2D fighting games like , Fatal Fury , World Heroes and Samurai Showdown ran on this hardware, and it was very popular in the arcades for its time.
The King of Fighters The North American arcade video game industry faces yet another decline, with revenues falling to $2.1 billion by the following year.
The US arcade game market's revenues have recovered, up to $8 billion (equivalent to $13.1 billion in 2016), with the success of fighting games such as and Street Fighter II as well as Mortal Kombat sports games such as . NBA Jam
 By this time, fighting games had become the dominant genre in the arcade game industry.
 is released, featuring high quality digitized graphics, and an advanced sound system, the Mortal Kombat II DCS sound system which allowed for MP3 style compression to all sounds.
Sega releases , the first polygonal 3D fighting game. It implemented polygonal 3D human characters in a useful way, with Virtua Fighter physics, popularizing 3D graphics among a wider audience.  Some of the  Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) staff involved in the creation of the original PlayStation video game console credit Virtua Fighter as inspiration for the PlayStation's 3D graphics hardware.
 Namco releases , the first Ridge Racer Namco System 22 arcade game to receive a wide release.
Sega releases , considered Sega's most successful arcade game. As the first title released for the Daytona USA Sega Model 2 arcade system board, it was the first video game to introduce filtered, texture-mapped polygons, giving it some of the most detailed graphics in a video game up until that time. Other 3D graphical capabilities of the Model 2 include  perspective correction, anti-aliasing, diffuse reflection, specular reflection, alpha blending,  mipmapping, LOD, and lighting.
 Namco releases the Namco Magic Edge Hornet Simulator arcade system, the most powerful game system at the time. 3D graphical capabilities include T&L (transform, clipping, and lighting), trilinear mipmaping, sub-sample anti-aliasing, and directional shading & lighting. Its 3D rendering performance would not be reached by PC graphics cards until many years later.
By 1994, largely due to the success of fighting games as well as the rise of 3D gaming, North American arcade revenues reach $7 billion, larger than the $6 billion generated by console games as well as the $5 billion generated by Hollywood movies.
Sega releases for the Virtua Fighter 2 Sega Model 2 arcade system board. It was considered the best-looking 3D fighting game at the time.
Sega releases , a 3D Virtua Cop shooter for the Sega Model 2 that begins a Renaissance for the light gun shooter genre. Many 3D shooters would follow its template over the next few years.
Sega releases , the first Virtua Striker football/soccer game to use 3D polygon graphics. Running on the Sega Model 2, it was also the first 3D sports game to use filtered, texture-mapped polygons.
Namco releases , another 3D fighting game.
Tekken is released. It used a Killer Instinct hard disk, and high-quality graphics pre-rendered by a rendering program, featuring high-quality use of the movie background technique.
SNK releases , a run and gun game widely known for its sense of humor, fluid hand-drawn animation, and fast paced two-player action.
Metal Slug February: Sega debuts the new powerful Sega Model 3 arcade system board with , which was regarded as the most realistic looking video game possible up until then. Virtua Fighter 3 describes the game's demo as "the most astounding display of video game graphic muscle ever in the history of this industry." Computer and Video Games The Model 3's 3D graphical capabilities include  multi-layered anti-aliasing, fix shading,  specular highlighting, multiple light sources, trilinear filtering,  culling,  pixel buffering, and tiled rendering.
 The US arcade game market's revenues remain steady at $8 billion in 1996 (equivalent to $12.1 billion in 2016).
Konami releases , an arcade game with four arrow pads that the players used to "dance." This game would create many sequels and spin-offs. It was responsible for popularizing the rhythm game genre and its success renews interest in arcade games in Dance Dance Revolution Asia.
At the same time, the North American arcade video game industry declines to $1.33 billion.
The US arcade game market's revenues decline to $5.7 billion in 1999 (equivalent to $8.1 billion in 2016).
Konami releases , the first guitar-based rhythm game. It would later inspire the Guitar Freaks series on consoles.
Guitar Hero Konami releases , the first drumming-based rhythm game. It could be linked up with Drum Mania Guitar Freaks for co-op gameplay. It would later inspire the series on consoles.
Rock Band is released, the last arcade game to bear the Atari Games logo. Atari Games in Milpitas is renamed Midway Games West, and closes its coin-op product development division.
Modern era (2000–present)
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Konami releases , the first video game to use accurate, full-body Police 911 motion controls, which allowed the player to take cover by physically ducking for cover rather than pressing a button or foot pedal (as was the case with ).
The first commercially successful touch screen game is introduced by Sega, . It is a World Club Champion Football sports strategy game where card placement on a touch surface corresponds to the actions of units on screen; the surface is able to identify each card separately.
Worldwide arcade game revenues reach $3.2 billion, roughly the same as the amount generated by PC game sales that same year.
The North American arcade video game industry declines to $866 million, the industry's lowest revenues since the 1970s. In contrast, arcade video games remain popular in Asia.
Arcade game revenues in Japan reach ¥649.2 billion, equivalent to $7.7 billion, the largest share of the Japanese video game industry.
 Arcade video game revenues account for a majority of Namco's revenues, largely due to the success of arcades in Asia.
 Sega releases , a Sangokushi Taisen real-time strategy where card placement on a touch surface corresponds to the actions of units on screen. Like World Club Champion Football, the surface is able to identify each card separately.
Japanese arcade game industry revenues reach a peak of $702.9 billion, equivalent to $8.3 billion.
 The light gun shooter introduces a unique 2 Spicy cover system, where players use foot pedals to move from one destructible cover to the next. It also allows to players to face-off against each other using such a cover system.
Due to the economic recession, Japanese arcade game industry begins a slow decline, dropping to $573.1 billion ($6.76 billion). However, this still remains the largest share of the Japanese video game industry, followed by home  console games and mobile games at $3.5 billion and $2 billion, respectively.
The Japanese arcade game industry reaches a low of $495.8 billion, equivalent to $5.85 billion.
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