Here are some of the hottest games at the video arcades this summer. Not all games are available at all arcades.
* Neo-Geo: This is the arcade version of the $650 home game system that figures to be the top game system of the next few years. You have your choice of up to six built-in games on one machine. It costs 50 cents to start your game, but only a quarter to continue. I played King of the Monsters and Sen-Goku. In Monsters, you're a monster pitted against many others in various Japanese cities, all the time wrecking buildings and collecting power capsules. If you liked Rampage, you'll love this. In Sen-Goku, you're a Japanese samurai. It's your basic karate-swordsman game, but the play control is incredibly smooth.
* Block Out: Tetris-lovers, here's the game for you. The idea -- to fit blocks into open spaces -- is the same as Tetris, but it's three-dimensional instead of two. The blocks, which are different sizes, are transparent so you can see the blocks beneath them. The four-button control system -- three to rotate the blocks, one to drop them -- takes getting used to.
* Magic Sword: A standard "I've-got-a-sword-and-I'll-bash-the-enemies" game but still great fun. The enemies are generic -- dragons and such. If you can find keys, you get companions who aid in your fight -- a crossbow shooter, axe thrower, wizard, etc.
* Desert Assault: A complete copy of MERCS, except it's played in Iraq. Unfortunately, it misses an opportunity to have any subtle little educational twists. You start with a spread gun and can collect other weapons, like bazookas and machine guns -- all the things that weren't important in the Persian Gulf war.
* The Simpsons: You choose to be one of four Simpsons, and you bash enemies on a 3-D screen. When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out, this idea was comparatively new. Now, it's the most common -- and boring -- type of game. The only possible reason for anyone to play this is because Bart is in it. This is strictly for Simpson fans.