Throughout the years we have had many non-traditional ways to control our characters on screen, like paddles in the ’70s, a totally rad glove in the ’80s, a computer mouse for ‘90s PC gamers, and motion controls in the 2000s.

But a forgotten piece of hardware is the Trackball, which many arcade games used for more accurate control than a stick and buttons were ever gonna give us. We know because some of these titles got console ports that just aren’t as fun when using a regular D-pad controller.

So let’s take a look at the

Best Trackball Arcade Games Of All Time

Goalie Ghost – Bally Sente, 1984

Goalie Ghost is sort of a 3D Pong, where you have human players throwing and blocking soccer balls at each other trying to score.

Dunk Shot – Sega, 1986

Dunk Shot

A top-view basketball game that looks incredible for its time. You move around with the trackball and shoot and pass with buttons.

It was nice to play before NBA Jam came out because the charging faults here are kinda annoying and break the flow of the game sometimes.

Shuuz – Atari, 1990

A virtual version of the game “horseshoes”, where you throw a horseshoe to a stake 40 feet in front of you, trying to hit it while encircling the stages or at least get it as close as possible.

It has colorful cartoony graphics and 4 characters to choose from. It’s pretty fun to play with friends.

Syvalion – Taito, 1988

An action game where you control a fire-breathing metal dragon that burns and melts enemies on its path. It has cool music and a hardcore theme.

While it never got really popular, it became sort of an obscure cult title, and it got a port for SNES, but without the trackball, you won’t be able to rush through the levels as fast.

The Irritating Maze – Saurus, 1997

A top-down view game for the Neo-Geo where you must move the “zap-rod” in a maze and avoid touching anything. Which is easier said than done.

There are lots of obstacles and moving platforms and everything is trying to touch you. Also, there’s a time limit and a constant feeling of pressure. Saying this game is irritating is an understatement.

Blades of Steel – Konami, 1987

A game that captures the excitement and violence of 80’s Hockey. Perhaps more well-known for its NES port, or the Arcade version with a joystick, but sliding the ball to skate on the ice feels amazing, and beats an NES D-pad.

Shuffleshot – Incredible Technologies, 1997

Shuffleshot Arcade

A shuffleboard arcade that includes 4 games. They all involve sliding a puck on the board with the objective of making it stop on the space that gives you the most points. Pretty enjoyable with your pals.

Mini Golf – Bally Sente, 1985

A simple top-view minigolf game with very good physics and level design. Each hole has many hazards to overcome and some are wacky like electric fields, portals, and moving obstacles that can make you take too many strokes to beat.

Cameltry – Taito, 1989

Is a maze game where you must take a ball to the goal, but you rotate the level around the ball while it’s dropping, and not the ball itself.

It can make you dizzy to see the stage rotating fast, but gameplay wise it is entertaining and a style of gameplay you won’t see often, so drop a coin in and give it a try if you encounter it at an arcade.

Track & Field – Konami, 1983

You may know it from the 8-bit Nintendo port, but there’s an arcade version where you have to roll a trackball in order to run, and it is more exciting this way.

It may not beat the NES Power Pad where you have to actually jump around, but is better than just tapping two buttons fast.

PGA Tour Team Challenge – Global VR, 2006

An official PGA game with realistic 3D graphics, nice controls, lots of players to choose from, online gameplay and so much content you’ll be playing hole after hole for hundreds of hours.

Crystal Castles – Atari, 1983

Crystal Castles classic arcade game

Is kinda like a 3D Pac-Man, where you have to collect gems in a maze, but by rolling the trackball you can control the speed of your bear character and move really fast.

Graphics and sound may be a little outdated, but it’s worth a playthrough if you’re into 40-year-old arcades.

The Simpsons Bowling – Konami, 2000

There are many arcade bowling games with trackball controls, but this one has America’s favorite yellow family.

The characters look great in 3D and have funny animations. The game has the sense of humor from the show and you will see more than a few gags, like the special balls such as an actual round black bomb and one that explodes with acidic nuclear waste on impact.

Sonic the Hedgehog Arcade – Sega, 1992

You move Sonic around with the trackball and spin jump by pressing the button. It has a top-view perspective and nice colorful graphics like the Genesis games, but with a style of control that you wouldn’t see in Sonic titles for home consoles at the time.

Cabal – TAD Corporation, 1988

A great shoot ’em up where you aim and move your character with the trackball, similar in gameplay to the Super Nintendo classic “Wild Guns”. Some people say the trackball version is harder than the joystick one, but it is more entertaining and precise this way… And who doesn’t love a challenge?

Golden Tee Golf

A very good golf arcade simulator with realistic 2D graphics (think Mortal Kombat) where you aim and shoot the ball with the trackball. Golden Tee has a lot of sequels and updates and is among the favorites of many arcade cabinet collectors.

Marble Madness – Atari, 1984

Marble Madness

Here you take control of a marble and roll it around a maze in an isometric perspective. There are many obstacles to overcome, narrow passages you must travel carefully as well as traps trying to trip you off the platforms. Is short, but very fun to play.

Missile Command – Atari, 1980

Missile Command

In one of the best trackball games of the 80s, you move the cursor on the screen with the trackball and fire the counter-missiles to avoid your city to be destroyed by nukes.

The gameplay is timeless and you may find yourself trying to beat your score for hours before realizing it.

Arkanoid – Taito, 1986

Arkanoid is a popular trackball game

Is similar to Atari’s BreakOut, since you move a paddle and bounce a ball to destroy blocks, but I enjoy this one even more. The gameplay formula is as addictive as ever with a trackball, it features a Sci-Fi story, the level designs are great, no 2 stages are the same so it doesn’t feel repetitive, and there are lots of power-ups for your paddle to pick up, and use and even Boss Fights!

You’ll be playing through all levels losing track of time.

Centipede – Atari, 1980

Centipede for the arcade

A Classic in every sense of the word and one of the most popular games in the “Golden Age” of arcades.

It’s like a Shoot ’em Up with a twist since your goal is to destroy the giant alien centipede creature, but every time it gets shot, you break it in half where it got hit, and the part of the body you shot becomes a mushroom obstacle in the stage.

Super addictive and totally worth playing to this day.

That is a pretty complete list of trackball video games I remember finding in local arcades throughout the years. While this does not cover all arcade games using a trackball, it does cover the best. Which is your favorite?