Retro Coin Op Synopsis

If there’s such a thing as arcade therapy, this could be it. Bad day at the office or playground? Life outside the amusement park getting you down? Get a hold of that giant padded hammer and pound some moles… you’ll feel better once you have.

Developed in 1970 by Florida’s very own Bob’s Space Racers, the anger-abating coin-op game Whac-a-Mole was played for redemption tickets or for points. There were five holes from which the moles popped out, and as the game progressed, the faster and faster they reared their cloying little heads.

There was no strategy here, no patterns to memorize—all you needed was some good old-fashioned hand-eye coordination. And forget about bopping your brother on the head when he came over to heckle your gaming skills—the cord attached to the hammer didn't reach that far. Apparently Bob’s Space Racers intended violence for moles only.

If the animal lover inside felt badly about beating down critters, there were other versions of the game, including Whac-a-American-Footballer, Whac-a-Warden, or Whac-a-Saurus. And if hammer-happy parents wanted to raise the little ones to become high-scoring whackers someday, they could train them on the Kiddie Whac-a-Mole—three holes instead of five, and a lower cabinet.

Whac-a-Mole's long-lasting success led to the creation of an entire arcade genre, the ever-popular "whacker" game. Titles like Wacky Gator and Cracky Crab added new beasties and new twists, but the stress-busting premise remained the same. Today, Whac-a-Mole and its descendants can still be found in carnivals and arcades everywhere, still delivering fabulous prizes and noggin-whacking fun.

Arcade Machine Release History

1970 - Whac-a-Mole

Arcade Game Sub Categories


Machine Manufacturer

Bob's Space Racers

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