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Which Arcade Games Use Spinners?

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Arcade games are the real deal. Unlike other games, they are known to have their joysticks and monitor infused on its machines. 

Modern-day consoles have joysticks that are either wired or use Bluetooth, thus giving you the freedom to move. But the bad news about them is that they are easy to damage since they are separate components with consoles. 

Thus, the arcade game machine’s joystick is hard to damage due to the immobility factor.

There are a variety of different arcade games that use spinners. Some of the most popular ones are: 

  • Arkanoid
  • Discs of Tron
  • Cosmic Chasm
  • Mad Planets
  • Tempest
  • Zackery
  • Boxing Bugs
  • Blasteroids
  • Free Kick
  • Cemetery

If you want to learn more about arcade game spinners be sure and check out the video below or keep reading to learn more about these games. 

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Arcade buttons

 Now, the arcade games contain the following gaming buttons:

Direction buttons

These are common in almost every game. The direction buttons are used to move a character in motion or a vehicle either by acceleration or turning it into the left and right direction. Thus in games that involve using a character or moving things like Pac-man, direction buttons are very essential.

X and circle buttons

These are used mostly as key switches. In games that have many forms of controls, they usually play key roles. Games like Tekken and Street Fighter have many controls like jumping, kicking, and punching, so the buttons are an essential part of the game. And not only that, even in games that involve moving a character a lot like sports games, they are also essential in that aspect as well.


Now this is a very special type of control that is specific to some types of games. The spinner allows you to move in any direction on the screen and it has the same mechanism as a computer mouse. Plus, the knob is what allows you to move by dragging it.

What are arcade games that use a spinner?

Not every game uses a spinner in the arcade gaming world. It’s only the ones with the control that is specific to it. Some of these games include:

10. Arkanoid

Arkanoid is a game that was developed in 1986. It was created by the famous arcade gaming company Taito. The game involves a player controlling a craft called Vaus and removing color formation. It’s among the first spinner games in the industry and it’s very much loved in the gaming world, thus receiving a lot of positive reviews.

2. Discs of Tron

Disks of Tron was developed after being influenced by the movie TRON. The game was highly received and appreciated by arcade gaming fans all around the world with a four to five-star rating by the famous Gamespot. The game was developed by Bally Midway and it was released in 1983. The game is a combat game in which a player uses Tron as the main character. This was also among the first early games to adapt the use of spinner controls.

3. Cosmic Chasm

Cosmic Chasm was developed in the same year as Disc of Tron. It was developed by a highly famous gaming company called Cinematronics in 1982 but was officially released in 1983. The gameplay is just like any other space game gameplay. It involves a ship that is armed with lasers which is supposed to destroy the Cosmic Chasm Station. This game also uses a spinner for character movement. 

4. Mad Planets

It seems like the era in 1983 was the gaming revolution year for spinner games. Just like Discs of Tron and Cosmic Chasm, Mad Planets was developed in the same year, which was 1983. The game was developed by Gottlieb. The gameplay involves moving the player multi directionally by using a spinner to avoid opponents like moons attacking you. The game was designed by a Japanese native named Kan Yabumoto.

5. Tempest

This game is very famous, perhaps the most famous arcade game in the 80s apart from Pac-man. The game was developed in 1981 by Atari Inc. And it was designed by Davide Theurer. It uses an Atari color Quadrascan vector display. And it’s also the first game that gave a player the option of choosing a level. Its multidimensional movement made the incorporation of spinners essential.

6. Zackery

Zackery was developed by a famous company that developed Ms. Pac-man named Bally Midway. It was developed in 1984. The arcade game involves the use of a wizard named Zwackery in battling evil forces. The games use a spinner due to its multidimensional movement

7. Boxing Bugs

The game was developed the same year as the famous arcade game Tempest in 1981. The game was developed by famous Cinematronics. Its gameplay was simple. It involved the movement of a shooting canon in a multidirectional way by the use of a spinner.

8. Blasteroids

Blasteroids was a sequel to the famous space game Asteroids. It was developed by Atari games and it was released in 1987. The game had both single-player mode and multiplayer mode. The game had a 2d design, and its gameplay was just like any other space gameplay in the ’80s. Its spaceship movement is what required the use of a spinner. The game also had four levels which were easy, hard, medium and expert.

9. Free Kick

The game was developed by Nihon Systems and produced by Sega. As you know, this was a paddle game thus, spinning was essential. Its graphics were more advanced and less pixelated. The game involved doing set pieces that are taking free kicks, and the spinner helped in setting the course of the direction in which you wanted to kick the ball. Therefore, it was among one of the first soccer spinner standard games in arcade history.

10. Cemetery

Cemetery was among the first strategic spinner games in the United States of America. It was designed by the famous arcade company named Taito in 1989, which was also responsible for designing many spinner arcade games including Arkanoid. The gameplay involved rotating a ball through a rotary maze by using a spinner to move it. The game was a bit more difficult than most arcade games in the ’80s. It had 4 levels which were beginner, expert, training and special.


So, to sum it up, the spinners brought a revolution in the way the character was able to be moved in the game. Directions of movement had been good in the past, but they were so unilateral hence, after the advancement of designs in gaming, the spinners became essential in the multidirectional movement of the characters.