Great Arcade Attract Modes That Don’t Drive You Crazy

arcadehero May 29, 2014 11
Great Arcade Attract Modes That Don’t Drive You Crazy

Anyone who has worked at an arcade for more than 2 hours will know what I am talking about when it comes to irritating attract modes. I’ve wondered if some designers have really sat there and listed to their game repeat itself once every few minutes over an 8-hour day. Some attract modes really drive you up the wall so if you’ve got the ability to shut off the attract mode sound, then you probably will with certain games. I can’t really handle music games too well since they repeat songs a lot and not always the songs you like to listen to.

In an optimum world, all attract modes would be at least 10 minutes long before looping. Most are only a few minutes. Either way, there are occasions where you have an attract mode with music or a sequence that despite it repeating itself over and over again, it doesn’t make you want to drive a nail through your own head. So let’s take a look at some of those, in no particular order other than what comes to mind and what I’ve heard mention of from some of you:

(also as a bonus, a thread on Arcade Otaku about good attract modes, generally speaking)

Daytona USA / OutRun 2 – Sega

I’m not sure what is is with Sega – usually their racing games have excellent attract modes but their light-gun titles generally feature some of the more irritating modes that I just have to turn down. I couldn’t stand more than a day of House of the Dead 4. But as mentioned, they generally get it right with their racing titles. Daytona USA and OutRun 2 are great examples of attract modes that blend in with the arcade cacophony without driving you crazy.

(Jump to about 1:40)

Since I’m on the subject of Sega, here’s Star Wars Trilogy Arcade. This one benefits from being almost 6 min. long, some attract modes seem to repeat in about half that but it varies. At my first arcade job, SWTA was setup right in front of the Lazer Tag desk where I spent most of my time and it was just fine to have there, especially compared to the Sports Arena redemption game near the Redemption Zone. SA is probably used in gloomy torture chambers in places like North Korea.

Batman – Raw Thrills

I don’t know what it is about the song (the bongos maybe?) but it works. It doesn’t loop immediately after it’s done of course, there are a few other things in-between but as the main theme song during the attract mode, it works.

X-Men & TMNT – Konami

I only have the attract sound set to play once every three attract loops but the tune for this is catchy albeit brief. I also can include TMNT which really is more nostalgia driven but the sounds seem to be something you expect to hear when you wander into an arcade. Although I have to admit that TMNT does loop pretty quickly and if it were the only game that I could hear I would gladly turn off the attract sound to save my sanity.

Of course many classics aren’t bothersome at all since they often don’t have any noise during the attract, it’s purely visual.

Road Blasters – Atari Games

It all comes down that catchy tune. I can’t find an attract mode video of it so here is the tune:

I asked about this on Twitter and received some suggestions which are:

Dimahoo – Raizing

This one pops up a lot and I can see why. It’s fun to watch and doesn’t do anything that necessarily gets stuck into your head audio-wise.

Metal Black – Taito

With shooters it generally seems to be a good bet that they will be tolerable since they tend to have good music that is reflected in the attract mode

Darius games – Taito

Where I have Dariusburst Another Chronicle sitting right in front of me every day it certainly had the potential to make me loathe the attract mode but it doesn’t at all. Funny enough one part of the attract mode always makes people think of Halo; someone suggested G-Darius as well so it seems like the Darius series handles the idea well. What I like about this G-Darius mode is that is explains the story behind what is going on, which is oddly missing from DBAC.

Alien Vs. Predator – Capcom

I generally like Capcom attract modes for themselves, where the games were often based on a character of some kind, they would throw up profiles to show you what they could do, like in AvP. AvP was recommended by a few and I guess it isn’t too bad when you just listen to it, seems like it would blend well with other games, much like TMNT.

Laserdisc Games – Various

Thanks to the animation, laserdisc games had modes which did exactly what their name implies – attract players – although as an arcade operator they would wear thin very quickly. I have The Act: An Interactive Comedy and it’s one of those loopers that you really have to tune out because of the quick repeats. But these were mentioned so here’s Cobra Command by Data East.

What are your favorite attract modes that can play all day long without making you cringe? And if there are any that you can’t stand, speak up about those as well!


  1. Azrial May 29, 2014 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    I never liked Lethal Enforcers.
    “plea don’t shoo me!”

    • arcadehero May 30, 2014 at 10:11 am - Reply

      I haven’t really played that, maybe once or twice.

  2. Steffen May 30, 2014 at 8:08 am - Reply

    What makes the attract mode of Daytona USA really great and still stands out today is the use of multiple monitors when linked.

    Especially the super deluxe version with the 8 moving seats looks cool when the attract mode combines 4 times 2, 2 times 4 to larger screens or all 8 monitors to just one screen.

    Too bad I can’t find a better video than this:

    • Steffen May 30, 2014 at 11:31 am - Reply

      Much better quality but only 6 seats:

  3. Steffen May 30, 2014 at 9:44 am - Reply

    And to add a few of classics of my own on the Neo Geo:

    – Garou Mark of the Wolves
    – Pretty much every King of Fighters with 98 being the best. Some of them are true masterpieces how nice the picture is synced with the music
    – Pulstar
    – Samurai Showdown 2

    Putting Pulstar, Garou and four of the KOFs in a six slot is attract mode heaven for me.

  4. Nomax May 31, 2014 at 3:38 am - Reply

    At one of the arcades where I worked was a game called Tokyo Cop. The attract mode sound was so irritating with its ’70s guitar sound that you wanted to kill yourself at the end of the day. Too bad because the game is pretty much ok with its motion seat.

  5. Jon June 4, 2014 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Ha I got some great idea 🙂
    1.Okay police911/24/7 the cop being shot over and over ;:pow,pow,pow,puuuurrrrrgggghhhhhhh?!!!!! Lol
    2.Obviously dayyyyyytonnnnnaaaaaa no1 🙂
    3.Hotd1 you shall all diiiiieeeeee haaaa hahaha haaaa_-curien
    4.outrun 2sp special dx plays the classics 🙂
    5.SEGA rally 2 : baby you can feel it in the air 🙂
    6.silent hill arcade :Emily :nooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh
    7.18 wheeler say no more lol
    8.ddr :okay hit it oh my god oh my god Nooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh

  6. masterLEON June 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    I kinda like the first Time Crisis’ dramatic attract mode “Since you’ve come so very far, be my guest and let me entertain you!” And of course, “Your father will pay the price for destroying the imperial rule!”

    I also like the Initial D v2/3 attracts that have “Gamble Rumble” from the movie playing. I got into Eurobeat in general from playing the game (I played the game before watching the anime)

    Quartet may get annoying in attract mode, but all is forgiven when someone plays and that beautiful 80’s synth fills the air.

    Some of the Laserdisc games get annoying, Space Ace especially grates on me after a while with Dexter’s voice. Time Warp and Badlands are cool, though.

    • masterLEON June 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Oh, and I don’t think I’ve come across a single redemption or prize game with an attract sound I like.

  7. JustSaiyanPaul August 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Many redemption games are friggin’ noisy! They all play the same sound effects over and over. Some of the music it plays it catchy but gets repetitive after a while.

    I honestly cannot stand the attract sound in DDR Extreme. Same friggin’ song plays over and over at one arcade.

  8. sup3rch1ck3n October 21, 2022 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Great topic! Just stumbled across. On the subject of necro bumping this… Rise from your grave…. Altered Beast has a great attract mode!

    Some of my faves…

    Double Dragon
    Short and sweet but just loved the music, so engaging…

    Again, short and sweet but the music in this film was serious.. serve the public trust, proptect the innocent, uphold the law… love it

    Sunset Riders
    Almost like the credits of a classic western movie. Amazing visuals and audio!

    Battle Garegga & Armed Police Batrider
    Flipping heck the music in these game is ridiculous. Insane beats bass and synthlines. Just superb. And they rotate the levels & music in the attract so you get a great overall loop. Many of the modern shmups also fall into this category.

    Strider (US)
    The US versio is great, the Japan versio says @pow@ every time Strider fires his blade. US versio great, Japan version NO! 🙂 Again, brilliant music and effects.

    Final Fight
    That telephone ring…. If you don’t hear that in the aracde you’re in, you need to leave…

    Street Fighter 2 – WW/CE
    That elephant on Dhalsim stage…If you don’t hear that in the aracde you’re in, you need to leave…

    Very understated and mostly silent, but when it kicks in, it’s brilliant and very engaging. A must in my opinion.

    Completely agree with the suggestions above of Daytona, Outrun and Pulstar. All total bangers!

    Im not sure what the arcade version is like but one of my all-time favourite soundtracks is from Seage Rally Championship on the Sega Saturn. I could (and sadly do) listen to Reckless Running on repeat on my B&O MX7000. Just sounds sooooooo good.
    Check it here…

    Game on everbody! 🙂

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