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Top 10 Disappointing Arcade Ports

VO: Dan
Many fondly remember the delight of playing video games in arcades. The arcade cabinet games just seemed way better than anything we had at home. Though we were tired of popping countless quarters to play, we were even more frustrated by the versions of the game we were actually able to buy. That's right, we're talking really bad ports. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 disappointing arcade ports of all time.

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Top 10 Disappointing Arcade Ports

More than a few compromises and bizarre decisions were made while adapting these classics to the home consoles! Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 disappointing arcade ports of all time.

#10- Mortal Kombat (SNES)
Kicking off our list is the arcade port that showcased such things as a full second control delay, harder to pull off special moves and gratuitous censorship! Mortal Kombat was famous for its rapid arcade action, abundance of blood and dismemberment. However, Nintendo’s family friendly politics turned blood into sweat while forcing gamers to flock to the un-neutered genesis version for its genuine experience.

#9- Donkey Kong (Atari 2600)

Everyone knows Donkey Kong, it’s the granddaddy of gaming! Too bad this port was a shell of its arcade counterpart! A casualty of a rapid development time and hardware, several major concessions were made. Namely, the sound effects were wrong, and Jumpman, A.K.A. Mario, wore pajamas while jumping over oatmeal cookies. Think that’s bad? Pauline had no limbs and Donkey Kong became the gingerbread man…

#8- Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition (Genesis)

The SNES had Street Fighter II, and Sega gamers wanted in on the action! The only problem was that the Genesis’ standard controller featured three measly buttons! This meant using the start button to toggle the button…that is unless you had the new-revamped 6-button gamepad! I don’t know about you, but I hate being forced to upgrade after buying a game, justified or not!

#7- Revolution X (SNES/ Genesis)

This Aerosmith light gun shooter was a phenomenal arcade cabinet. Unfortunately, the console versions became unplayable messes! No, we’re not even talking about the unpolished visuals and glitchy audio! It sucked for not supporting light guns, and the gamepad-controlled cursor being too fast to aim properly! Think that’s frustrating? The title only granting players 20 measly credits to make it to the end, and the Genesis version didn’t even bother to tell you how many you had left!

#6- 10-Yard Fight (NES)

That’s right, classic sports games are not immune to disappointment either! This football game retained similar graphics to its source, however it was broken by a fundamental gameplay change. Namely, the arcade version added a simultaneous 2-player mode that gave the 2nd player full access to all of the computer’s cheats! Talk about an unfair field advantage…

#5- Popeye (Odyssey 2)

There’s no denying it, one of the biggest disappointments with ports are the graphical downgrades. Fair or not, this transition only had acces to 64 bytes of RAM, turning Popeye into a stick man, his nemesis Bluto into a stick man, the spinach cans into green circles, and the staircases into…uh…division symbols. As ugly as it was, the biggest disappointment was the fact that it featured only one playable stage…

#4- Final Fight (SNES)

This beat ‘em up port looked and played phenomenally. However, its sins include removing “Guy”, one of the three playable characters and its entire two-player mode, which was the game’s star feature! Stage four’s factory level was also deleted and censorship forced the female baddies to be given sex changes…

#3- Double Dragon (Atari 2600)

This game is the foundation of the beat ‘em up genre. This was due to its focus on delivering smack downs on countless foes. Unfortunately, everything had to be stripped down. While we understand the loss of detail, the real shocker here is that the three-button control scheme was even attempted for the one button system by retaining only one move! No, it didn’t even have proper collision detection either…blasphemy!

#2- Dragon’s Lair (NES)

There have been countless ports of this landmark full-motion choose your own adventure game. While it was understandable that none of the older home consoles could handle full-motion video, it didn’t mean that it should have been made into an unplayable platformer! Centered exclusively on memorization, it was plagued by horrific controls, terrible character movements and was impossible to move several steps without dying for any apparent reason!

#1- Pac-Man (Atari 2600)

This is the greatest arcade game of all time thanks to its simplicity, iconic look, sound effects and addictive gameplay. Understandably, Atari wanted in on the action, but killed everything gamers knew and loved in the process. Dots became wafers, fruit became vitamins, ghosts literally turned invisible, and the “wakka-wakka” sound changed into a cringe worthy “Bonk-Bonk”! They even changed the mazes, pushing the escape tunnel to the top of the screen!

Agree with our list? Which arcade port disappointed you the most? For more great Top 10 lists, be sure to subscribe to

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