Taito releases Western Gun, the first video game to depict human-to-human combat. Designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, the game had two distinct joystick controls per player, with one eight-way joystick for moving the computerized cowboy around on the screen and the other for changing the shooting direction.
November: Midway MFG. releases Gun Fight, an adaptation of Taito's Western Gun and the first arcade video game to use a microprocessor, which the original incarnation did not use, allowing for improved graphics and smoother animation.
July: Nintendo releases Donkey Kong, which was one of the first 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 Bosconian, introducing a free-roamingstyle 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.
November: Konami releases Time Pilot, which features a 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.
Atari develops I, Robot, the first commercially produced polygonal 3D arcade game. It may have debuted at a test market location later that year. Atari originally wanted to release this game in 1983, but it was delayed due to technical issues and difficulties, so it was returned to the lab for further testing and research. It was not fully and officially released until June 1984.
December: Simutrek releases Cube Quest, the first to combine 3D polygonal graphics with laserdisc background images (this technique was later used in by Namco's Galaxian 3).
16-bit processors are increasingly used in arcade machines, resulting in much more detailed and faster graphics.
January: Midway/Williams releases Star Rider an arcade lasersdisc game. Some of the background graphics in each stages uses polygon based 3D computer animation. Even if the copyright date says 1983, it was released in January 1984.
The Last Starfighter was planned to be released by Atari in late 1984. Due to the high cost of the hardware, the game was cancelled. If released, it would have been Atari's second arcade game to use 3D polygonal graphics.
May: Konami releases Gradius (Nemesis in some countries).
July: Hang-On is released by Sega. It runs on the Sega Space Harrier hardware, which was the first of Sega's "Super Scaler" arcade system boards that allowed pseudo-3Dsprite-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-mappedpolygonal 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.
Atari was planning to release Air Race in late 1985. Due to the high cost of the hardware, the game was cancelled. If released, it could have been the first space-themed arcade racing game to use flat-shaded 3D polygons.
April: Namco releases Assault, which was the first game to make use of massive sprite rotation as well as sprite scaling. It also released Splatterhouse, which was the first game to get a parental advisory disclaimer.
Atari Games develops Hard Drivin' and is the second arcade driving game to have 3D polygon graphics. It runs on the Atari Hard Drivin', one of the first 3D arcade hardware dedicated to flat-shaded 3D polygonal graphics. However, the release of Hard Drivin ' was delayed until the February the following year.
Pit-Fighter is released by Atari Games and is the second fighting game to use fully digitized graphics, two years before Midway's Mortal Kombat.
Air Inferno is released by Taito and is the last game running on the 3D hardware Taito Air System.
Galaxian³ is released by 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.
Mortal Kombat II is released, featuring high quality digitized graphics, and the most advanced sound system in arcades at the time, the DCS sound system which allowed for MP3 style compression to all sounds.
Killer Instinct is released, the first arcade game with a hard disk, up to that point the game with the highest quality graphics pre-rendered by a rendering program, featuring to this day the highest quality use of the movie background technique.
Rush 2049 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.
Hydro Thunder is released by Midway Games. A 3D speedboat racing game and one of the first to one on a Windows based PC hardware called Quicksilver II. Many arcade games later in the decade soon followed. The game was one of Midway's most successful arcade games.
^ abBill Loguidice & Matt Barton (2009), Vintage games: an insider look at the history of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the most influential games of all time, p. 197, Focal Press, ISBN 0-240-81146-1