Arcade games have given us a lot of cool names over the years. Some are creative, tough, silly, or even downright hilarious. For this list, I am picked my top ten favorite cool video game names of all time. Of note, this list refers only to coin-op arcade games, not games found on consoles or computers.
10) Goatse: I have no idea what, if anything, Goatse means, but I always thought it was a bizarrely cool name from Sega’s thinly-veiled Donkey Kong copy, Congo Bongo. Goatse is the name of the ape that the hunter is endeavoring to capture. The game bombed at arcades(1) but did well in ports to home consoles, which I always thought was odd because the home games were pretty lousy compared to the arcade version.
9) Tron: Sounding both futuristic and robotic at the same time, this name refers to the titular character of the Disney movie who stars in the video game of the same name. The movie Tron was a computer geek’s delight, complete with eye-popping computer animation (for its time) and a man-versus-machine plot. The game did not disappoint either, allowing players to play four different elements of the movie(2).
8) Death Adder: Not the name of a black metal band, but instead name of the final boss in the arcade game Golden Axe and Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder(3). He is an enormous and difficult boss, as you might expect for a guy with such a kick-ass name. A death adder is an actual snake, as well.
7) Sub-Zero: This “cryomancer”(4) from the Mortal Kombat video game series has a name that is about as cool as they come, literally. With the ability to shoot opponents with freezing ice blasts, Sub-Zero is a fun character to play as in this violent game series, and his name is definitely bad-ass.
6) Mr. Big: The final boss in the arcade game NARC, Mr. Big rides in a wheelchair and is nearly invincible(5). Mr. Big is a popular name in songs and often used to denote the best or toughest of a given group. The Mr. Big in NARC is not only big in the sense of being a tough crime boss, he’s also rather large.
5) The Hanged Man: The game House of the Dead and its subsequent sequels uses names from the tarot deck to designate the various bosses in the game(6). That gives yours truly a lot of cool names to choose from, like The Magician and The Fool, but I went with The Hanged Man because it has a creepy-cool kind of vibe to it.
4) Gorf: In the category of goofy-cool, this has to be one of the best arcade names of all time. Gorf was a game from 1981 and ostensibly stood for “galactic orbiting robot force”(7). However, I always wondered if somebody just thought the word “frog” spelled backwards sounded cool. After all, the first Gorfian you see during the game “hops” across the screen as he distributes Space Invaders-type enemies.
3) Wizard of Wor: The best magic name on this list, Wizard of Wor is the 1980 Midway game of the same name(8). The Wizard himself is a teleporting, lightning bolt-shooting boss that you face on certain levels of the game. He is fast, hard to kill, and looks a little like the grim reaper. Cool guy, cool name.
2) Peter Pepper: Peter is the character you play as in the 1982 arcade game Burger Time(9). In the game you must assemble various sandwiches while running from Mr. Hot Dog, Mr.Pickle, and Mr. Egg. Other than avoiding enemies and dropping food on them, your only way to dispatch with these enemies is to throw pepper on them, which only slows them down temporarily.
1) Death: Even better than Death Adder, is simply Death himself. Death is the final boss from the gameTime Killers, a bloody fighting game from 1992(10). Death is a popular character to be able to defeat in any video game, as it implies that you will live forever! It is also the ultimate in cool arcade game names.
Those are my choices for coolest names for arcade games. What are yours?