My Top 5 Arcade Sports Games series of rankings lists resume today with volleyball now joining the party. Make sure you get enough pizza grease on your joysticks so you have the best chance at the highest score. It is my serve, and the best arcade volleyball games are coming your way!
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5. World Cup Volley ’95 (developed and published by Data East Corporation in 1995)
Put me in coach, I am ready to play! Data East released this title to the arcade universe in the mid 90s. It is a realistic volleyball simulation that stars coaches vested in their team’s success. Each team has 6 players on the court at all times, and there are 12 teams to choose from. The countries represented for the World Cup are; Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, U.S.A., Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Spain, and ??? (custom).
When you insert that coin, the coach will instill his trust in you after you have chosen your team and put you in the game. The game chose a strange rabbit, or kangaroo (I do not know) mascot to cheer you on as you attempt to climb up the high-score leaderboards. All of the controls and gameplay is a breeze and a pleasure.
You can employ a slider serve, floater serve, or a leaping spike serve. The game will select the player you control for you, based on where the ball is going and who it is closest to. The AI hustles for you in this game to help you win. If you mistime your dive, the player will kick the ball up in the air to keep it in play. While the graphics, music, and sound effects of this game are decent, the gameplay is its greatest strength.
4. Power Spikes II (developed and published by Video Systems in 1994)
Power Spikes II is one of the most popular games of the genre. The introduction before starting a game makes you want to pummel your opponent with authority, lol. You can choose to compete in 3 leagues; the Hyper, World Men, and World Women leagues.
The Hyper League consists of 8 teams of cyborg-like robot characters. These teams are the Lethal Machines, Power Spikers, NEO Crashers, Iron Fangs, Grooscaps, Steel Strikers, Turbo Force, and Metal Breakers. In the Hyper League, there is not a traditional scoreboard. A bright meter is displayed at the top of your screen and each time your opponent scores the meter decreases. It feels like Will Smith could come any minute to start eliminating them during the game, lol.
The World League includes 8 teams representing certain countries. You have Italy, France, Japan, China, Germany, England, Korea, and the U.S.A. as options. Each player has a name and their card including their measurements and stats is displayed at varying times. There is a scoreboard in the stadiums of these leagues giving the action a more realistic feel. The gameplay is smooth and the sound effects are pretty good.
3. Winning Spike (developed and published by Konami in 1997)
Released in 1997 by Konami, Winning Spike is a realistic simulation of Olympic style volleyball. There are 10 teams including Italy, Germany, Netherlands, England, Spain, Japan, France, Brazil, Russia, and the U.S.A. Each team has 5 players and specific strengths and weaknesses to consider based on your style. A serve, receive, and an attack rating is all shown for each squad.
The graphics are appeasing and the game features spectacular sprites. The sound effects give the game an authentic feel as you can hear the soles of sneakers squeaking on the court. You can occasionally sense the intensity among the players as they apply teamwork and communicate who is taking the next shot. To win any match you will have to feel the pressure of a stadium packed with rabid fans.
Players leap high above the net to slam down spikes over the top of defenders. You do not have to take the spanking, but you will have to show off your vertical and reject the impending shot. A bright green flashing icon is displayed to indicate the ball’s final destination. You can switch to the player closest to the ball and run under it. Kid you not, this is one of my favorite Konami arcade sports games.
2. Super Volleyball (developed and published by Video Systems in 1989)
The action shifts back and forth across your screen from the same angle as you play matches, in this all-time classic. Super Volleyball is a 1 or 2-player game where all of the action takes place on indoor courts. The court is presented on a horizontal screen and you consume all of the matches from a side-view perspective. The camera stays locked on the ball and pursues its every move.
The game is so good and addicting, that when it was time for the arcade to close, the staff had to kick us out, lol. It has great sound effects with a roaring crowd and a catchy tune of music. Plus, the animation runs smoothly and the gameplay happens at a consistent pace.
Anytime a player puts a massive charge into the ball, performs a spike and scores, he throws his hands up triumphantly and confetti rains down on him. Eye-candy!
Despite a 2-player game only consisting of you, a friend, and a handful of coins, this retro gem has a tournament mode for the 1-player experience. Depending on the version, your team can be USA, Japan or Korea. Other teams featured in the game are Cuba, China and U.S.S.R. If you win the tournament Championship, you are allowed to enter the World Cup. By earning the victory in the World Cup your team is awarded the Gold Medal. Easy as that, fun as hell.
Ace Attacker (developed and published by Sega in 1988)
Back in 1988, Volleyball games were not the hottest property to iterate on as a developer. Sega changed all of that with Ace Attacker. In essence, it is Pong with multiple paddles but that is also why it is so fun. Pong did start this whole movement, after all.
What made Ace Attacker cool in the arcades was its graphics – the volleyball arcing up towards the screen being a particularly awesome instance of early scaling on arcade games – as well as its accessible, compelling gameplay.
Simple, to the point, and utterly addictive, AA reminds us of the basic principles that underlie most sports and video games in general.
Time to leave the court and move to the beach now, my top pick is waiting for us there…
1. U.S. Championship V’Ball (developed by Technōs, published by Taito in 1988)
Do you like sand between your toes, bikinis, and chiseled glistening bodies? Me too! It is the enjoyment and spirit of these volleyball features that make U.S. Championship V’ball an epic game. Released in 1988 by Technos Japan, U.S. Championship V’ball is a 2-on-2 style masterpiece of a competition. If you are looking for a fun game that removes you from your element and takes you to a better place, this is the game for you.
Successful TV show, “Saved by the Bell“, could have had this game in mind when they made one of their most memorable episodes. Perhaps you know the one, Kelly, Zack, Slater, Screech, and Jessie try to beat a rival school in a high-stakes match. This game makes you feel like that. You can choose from 4 locations for the matches to take place: Daytona, New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii.
The graphics are gorgeous and each court is in a beach setting. The scorekeeper is a hot lifeguard and the players are all Duke Nukem look-a-likes. Features of the backgrounds present each match as a momentous occasion. At Daytona for instance, there are monster trucks parked on the shore next to the court. U.S. Championships V’ball’s sound effects and music are extraordinary.
With each powerful spike, these swollen weightlifters let out a thunderous grunt. When the ball is hit hard enough, comic book animations appear, such as “Pow!”, “Wham!”, and “Kaboom!”. If you are skilled enough to dive into the sand to save a score from happening, the crowd “ahhs” and “ooohs” in amazement. Going to the arcade is about having fun, which is why U.S. Championship V’ball is an all-time great.
A few of these games I am especially fond of and are high up my Sports Arcade Games rankings list. This genre has puzzled me in one particular regard, however. I do not know why any of the creators of arcade volleyball games did not get too wacky and nutty. There should have been at least one arcade volleyball game that allowed me to knock people down, set things on fire, and punch opponents in the mouth, lol. It does not matter if the net tries to get in the way!
Seriously, I hope you have enjoyed this article and stay tuned for more of My Top 5 Arcade Sports Games ranking lists. If you loved this post, be sure to subscribe to be notified of more lists like this one. So, tell me retro folks, which of these games did you like the most? Did I snub your favorite volleyball arcade game? Please let me know below in the comments section.