What Arcade Games Use a Spinner | A Detailed Guide

Find out what arcade games use a spinner and learn the different types of gameplay associated with this classic game mechanic. Get up to speed on all the details in our comprehensive guide!

What Arcade Games Use a Spinner | Let’s Play!

Do you remember the days when playing just one arcade game could require hours of hard work? With complicated controls, your fingers and wrists would ache from the sheer effort of controlling a single game. 

But if there’s one thing many classic arcade games had in common, it was the spinner – a joyous turn-based control system that offered improved movement control for blog titles such as Tempest, Arkanoid, and Wizard of Wor. 

If you’re looking to relive those memories or discover more about what arcade games use a spinner, then read on! We’ve compiled all our favorite spins-filled classics into this overview for retro aficionados everywhere.

What Is a Spinner and How Does It Work?

What Is a Spinner and How Does It Work?

Imagine a controller that rotates in a circular motion, allowing you to move characters or objects left and right with precision. That’s the essence of an arcade game spinner. It’s also occasionally referred to as a paddle controller due to its resemblance to ping-pong paddles.

Spinners are typically made up of a knob or wheel that players can rotate, which then translates to directional movement on the screen. The input is usually measured by an encoder disc, similar to a mouse’s ball mechanism, and can detect both speed and rotation direction.

Types of Arcade Games That Use a Spinner

Various types of arcade games feature a spinner as their primary control mechanism. These include:

  • Shooter Games

Games like Space Invaders and Galaxian use a spinner control to move the spaceship or shooter left and right, allowing for precise aiming and movement.

  • Racing Games

Titles like Pole Position and Pac-Man Battle Royale utilize a spinner for steering control, creating a more immersive driving experience.

  • Puzzle Games

With games such as Q*Bert and Marble Madness, players use a spinner to navigate characters through challenging levels and obstacles.

What Arcade Games Use a Spinner? 

Now that you know what a spinner is and the types of games that use it, let’s delve into some of the most iconic arcade games that feature this classic mechanic.

  • Tempest (1981)

This fast-paced action game features a unique spinner controller for precise movement and shooting as players navigate a spaceship through geometric obstacles.

  • Arkanoid (1986)

In this classic brick-breaking game, players use a spinner to control the paddle at the bottom of the screen and bounce a ball around to break bricks.

  • Wizard of Wor (1980)

As one of the earliest games to incorporate a spinner, Wizard of Wor uses it for movement and shooting as players battle through monster-filled mazes.

  • Wolf Pack (prototype) 
  • 720 Degrees (set 1) 
  • Aztarac 
  • Forgotten Worlds (US) 
  • Kozmik Kroozr 
  • Crater Raider 
  • Wheel Of Fortune 
  • Victory 
  • Two Tigers 
  • Discs of Tron
  • Cosmic Chasm
  • Mad Planets
  • Zackery
  • Boxing Bugs
  • Blasteroids
  • Free Kick
  • Cemetery
  • Tac/Scan
  • Major Havoc
  • Star Trek
  • Peggle
  • Puzz Loop (spinner + 1 button)
  • Beam Invader (spinner + 1 button)
  • Pong
  • Super Breakout (spinner + button)
  • Straight Flush
  • Off the Wall 
  • Riddle of Pythagoras (spinner + 1 button)
  • Gigas (spinner + 1 button)
  • Pop’n Bounce (spinner/ joystick)
  • VS Block Breaker 
  • Peek-a-Boo (spinner + 2 button)
  • Goindol (spinner + 1 button)
  • Warlords (spinner + 1 button)
  • Circus
  • Clowns
  • Kick (x-axis trackball +1 button)
  • Avalanche
  • Puchi carat (spinner + 1 button)
  • Zektor (spinner + 2 buttons)
  • Omega Race (spinner + 2 buttons)
  • Cosmic Chasm (spinner + 2 buttons)
  • Dark Planet (spinner + 3 buttons)
  • Blasteroids (spinner + 3buttons)
  • Zwackery
  • Ixion 
  • Heavy Barrel
  • Time Soldiers
  • SAR- Search and Rescue
  • Guerrilla War
  • Midnight resistance
  • Bermuda Triangle
  • Shmup
  • Gondomania
  • T.N.K.III
  • Downtown
  • Tournament Table

Finding and Playing Arcade Games with Spinners

If you’re feeling nostalgic or simply want to experience the joy of playing arcade games with spinners, there are multiple ways you can find and play these classic titles:

  • Arcade Emulators

Many online emulators allow players to access old arcade games that used spinners, making it easier to play without having to track down physical machines.

  • Retro Arcade Collections

Some retro gaming collections, such as the Atari Flashback or Sega Genesis Mini, come with pre-installed spinner games for you to enjoy.

  • Arcade Museums and Fairs

If you’re lucky enough to live near an arcade museum or attend retro game fairs, you may be able to find and play authentic arcade games with spinners.


Arcade games with spinners have left a lasting impression on the gaming industry. From improving gameplay mechanics to creating a more immersive experience, spinners have been an integral part of many classic titles. 

By understanding what arcade games use a spinner and exploring different gameplay types, you can gain a deeper appreciation for this iconic control system. 

So why not dust off your spinner and start spinning your way through some retro arcade games today? Keep the spirit of classic gaming alive and have fun playing with spinners. Happy gaming! 

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