I caught this at Arcade Renaissance and I’m glad I did. Anytime we can debunk falsehoods that come from the mainstream gaming journalism world I’m happy to line up. Of course the level of incompetency you see in the video is just bad that it’s really not hard to do. Ryan at AR makes several good points which I recommend you read, I’m just going to add my own thoughts to the debate. Let’s begin. (BTW- I’ve updated a few of my comments)
1. Against what everyone seems to believe the arcade is not dead. In 2006 the industry made $6 billion. Last I checked, that means NOT DEAD. OK it’s definently not as much as it was back in the early 80’s and it does show that the number of arcades has dropped, but last year also didn’t see many affordable good games come out, unlike this year. Also how on earth did GlobalVR post its best sales ever this last May if the arcade is dead? Did ON Networks even go to an arcade on the weekend to check it out? Did they bother to ask arcade developers what their earnings are? In fact did they research anything before putting this piece out? Read on.
2. “It’s like a malt shop in the 50’s, it’s not something we have anymore” – OK so I suppose those businesses I see around my state that call themselves arcades aren’t really arcades. They must be figments of my imagination , even though there are several of them and they always seem to be packed on weekends. I guess I should take some pictures or video so I know I’m not going insane.
3. Pong was released in 1972 NOT 1971. At the very least the dates for everything else was right so it’s not a big complaint.
4. Nail in the coffin was the Sega Genesis? You have got to be kidding me. Everyone knew that no matter how nice the home version was, arcades were ALWAYS better and thus people still went out to play. Also talking about Sega like they were the first to come up with the idea of bringing their arcade hits to the system is completely false. Atari was doing that in the late 70’s and is one reason why the 2600 became so huge. Even the NES did that before the Genesis.
On top of this, some very popular arcade games came out around the time of the Genesis that showed that the arcade had some life in it. Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. They do mention this briefly but state that after this brief era the arcade was dead, completely ignoring strides made by later games including all the motion-based games you never hear of because journalists are too busy having a Wiigasm to notice anything else that was innovative before the home consoles were.
5. I have an issue with them saying that home console games can be a lot more fun than an arcade game. What a load of BS, arcades HAVE to be fun in addition to being hard so they keep making that money. If it’s nothing but frustrating then of course people won’t play it. Yes it’s true that home consoles give away one experience that you can’t get in the arcade but it also works the other way.
6. Using the NeoGeo as a ‘case in point’ is totally ridiculous. It had nothing to do with the games being “boring” as the ‘expert’ says but with the price point that he just happens to mention and then blows off. Not only did the console cost about $600 and was poorly marketed but each game cost about $200. They could have released Halo on the NeoGeo and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference with the game itself costing a third of what the system did. Of course SNK also released more fighters than anything else but saying that it was the arcade style games on the system that killed it is the 2nd most uneducated statement in this entire video. The absolute dumbest comment comes a little later.
7. “Why do I want to spend $54 for 3-minute bursts of fun, nobody wants that” – this is the fault of home consoles, not the arcades themselves – arcades give you those bursts of fun for a quarter or two (and yes on occasion $1 or $2, depending on the age of the game). It was the home consoles that would charge you those high prices for the same thing, which kind of defeats their point about how much better home consoles are for the arcade experience. I find it funny that they keep bringing up how it’s better to have the games at home (but at the same time they somehow suck; of course home versions were never as good as the arcade version but they ignore this) because it’s supposedly cheaper but you could beat the game several times over by the time you’d reach the $60 price tag of the home version. It’s also interesting how they completely ignore the existence of Xbox Live Arcade that obviously shows that some people don’t mind playing games in short bursts and don’t want to spend 60 hours of repetitive gameplay to wade through a story.
8. “How do you play a sports game at the arcade?” – yes they actually say this in the video. Whoever directed this video apparently decided on finding the dumbest person they could to comment on this in desperation to somehow make their point. Sports games have always been around in arcades and they are always a lot more fun on top of that. Pong was a sports game; Atari Football(1978) was huge and only eclipsed by Space Invaders; I could name many others that were great in arcades: Cyberball, Punch Out, NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, the entire Golden Tee series (which has been around for a while) and more. I don’t always want to play team manager of a professional team for a whole season, I just want to play the game and arcades give you that and most of the time arcades do it much better than home consoles do.
9. Point about competition and social interaction. (begin sarcasm) Yes the social interaction online is so much better when you hear 8 year olds swearing up a storm at you while you try and play and also while you have to deal with modders and cheaters. The online experience is just SO much better than the arcade (end sarcasm) where it’s about real skill, cheating is next to impossible and people behave themselves better as they don’t have that anonymity that turns them into total jerks.
Finally, don’t tell all those people that go out all the time to DDR competitions that the arcade is dead. Or people that went to CAX that it was only about nostalgia and nothing else. For some reason I think those of us that actually play arcades and who are not paid off to make dumb statements understand this. Maybe one day mainstream gaming journalists will too, once they can get off of their lazy cans and actually go out sometime.