I'd be remiss if I didn't include a blog post about Ms. Pacman. For me, this was the game that turned me into a patron of arcade games. Ironically, one can still find Ms. Pacman machines about here and there, and seeing one never fails to bring forth wonderful feelings of nostalgia and joy.
I had encountered video games before Ms Pacman. I vaguely recall going to a Chuck E. Cheese with relatives down in southern California and playing some games, but my memories were vague and I was young enough that I know I didn't know what I was doing. I had also spent some time watching people play games at the skating rink, such as Galaxian and Asteroids, but up to that point I never had spent any money of my own (not that I had much anyways).
All of that changed when my parents surprised me with a birthday party at the roller rink. Besides being surprised by all of my friends showing up to skate with us, they were also tossing quarters in my direction and suggesting I play some video games. The first game I skated up to that day was a Ms. Pacman machine, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I find it ironic that I first played Ms. Pacman as opposed to Pacman, which historically is regarded as one of, if not the quintessential 1980's arcade game. However, I always found Ms. Pacman to be a better game, given the variance in mazes, the floating fruits, and I enjoyed the intermissions with the "story" of Pacman and Ms. Pacman meeting, hooking up and eventually making a Jr. Pacman much more than the ones in the original Pacman game.
What was the first arcade game you ever put a quarter into?