Arch Rivals (1989)

by Christopher
4 minutes read


Arch Rivals (1989): The Original Streetball Classic

Released in 1989 by Midway, Arch Rivals is a groundbreaking arcade basketball game that introduced violence and streetball elements into the genre, paving the way for the popular NBA Jam series.


Arch Rivals is a two-on-two basketball game played on a half-court. The game features simple controls, with players using a joystick to move their player and buttons to shoot, pass, and punch.

The game’s most distinctive feature is its emphasis on violence. Players can punch opposing players to knock them down or steal the ball from them. This adds a new level of strategy to the game, as players must decide when to fight and when to play it safe.

In addition to punching, players can also perform a variety of special moves, such as dunks, blocks, and steals. These moves add an element of excitement to the game and can help players to gain an advantage over their opponents.


Arch Rivals features a cast of eight unique characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The characters include:

  • Blade: A fast and agile guard with a powerful jump shot.
  • Bulldog: A strong and physical forward who is a force on the boards.
  • Cosmo: A skilled ball-handler and passer who can create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
  • Cyborg: A robotic player with enhanced strength and speed.
  • Fangs: A vampire with a deadly jump shot and a knack for stealing the ball.
  • Hammer: A giant player who is a force on both offense and defense.
  • Neon: A flashy player with a variety of trick shots.
  • Siren: A female player who is quick and agile, with a deadly three-point shot.


Arch Rivals was a critical and commercial success, and is considered to be one of the most influential arcade basketball games of all time. The game’s innovative gameplay and emphasis on violence helped to popularize the streetball genre, and paved the way for the release of NBA Jam in 1993.

NBA Jam was an even bigger success than Arch Rivals, and helped to solidify Midway’s reputation as a leader in the arcade basketball genre. However, Arch Rivals remains a classic game in its own right, and is still enjoyed by retro gaming fans today.


Arch Rivals is a groundbreaking arcade basketball game that introduced violence and streetball elements into the genre. The game’s simple controls, unique characters, and innovative gameplay make it a classic that is still enjoyed by retro gaming fans today. If you’re a fan of basketball games, or if you’re just looking for a fun and challenging arcade experience, then Arch Rivals is definitely worth checking out.

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