Before everyone had four consoles in their house and a phone that had more games than phone numbers, the only way to play the newest and coolest videogames was to steal $10 from your mom's fanny pack, hop on your bike, and head to the arcade. We honor the quarters that sacrificed their lives in the last decade of the 20th century with this tribute.
Gauntlet itself was always pretty fun - a hack 'n slash fantasy adventure with wizards and warriors and hordes of bad guys - but the big selling point here was the ability to level up and actually save your characters; giving you the feeling of real accomplishment with each token spent. It was like owning the game, except you were leasing it one quarter at a time. Then again, if you wanted to actually accomplish something, you could have been putting those tokens into that skeeball game to work your way to that glow-in-the-dark yo-yo that was going for a mere 150,000 tickets.
I don't think anyone would disagree with football having a lot less rules about late hits, excessive celebration, and pretty much doing whatever you want on the field (well, maybe actual players would). For all of us, NFL Blitz was a dream come true - brutally hitting players a good 10 seconds after the play was over, flinging opponents onto the ground, constant fake punts, pass interference that would send most refs into an epileptic frenzy - it had everything. This was what I think everyone expected the XFL to be, and if it had been, maybe it would still be around today (RIP Memphis Maniax).
Giant heads, Bill Clinton, the horror of the other team being on fire, shooting nothing but 3's, "Kaboom!", "He's on fire!", "Monster jam!" - we all share the same fond memories of National Basketball Association Jam. The only problem was watching actual basketball games afterwards and being disappointed that the ball didn't burst into flames after the non-President players with normal-sized heads made three shots in a row, none of which were dunks where they flew 50 feet into the air.
With some games, it's tough to tell whether you remember them fondly due to pure nostalgia or because they were genuinely good games. With Cruis'n USA, the most poorly-spelled game in history, there is no question: pure nostalgia. The game isn't much more than hitting the gas and trying to not get screwed by the A.I., but that doesn't make it any less fun. You got to race across the entire country, see women in pixelized bikinis, and on some levels birds would actually take a dump on your windshield. Frankly, if there's more to a fun racing game than going fast, seeing landmarks, and birds shitting, I don't want to know about it.
Mortal Kombat 2 was all about "more" - more characters, more fatalities, more finishing moves (babalities, friendships) - but the best part of it was how much more our parents didn't want us to play it because of the ridiculous amounts of pixelated blood. It was like Kill Bill except every character was a hemophiliac on his way to the Red Cross blood drive. Did they think kids would start ripping out each others' spines or do mid-air bicycle kicks? Most kids were too lazy to even ride a bicycle, let alone do some kind of flying kick. Now if there had been a mid-air "ride in mom's minivan kick," there might have been a reason for concern.