I was sent the following message from a long-time site contributor, Phil Arrington. Phil provided video from an auction in California back in 2010 and also setup some live coverage from trade shows in the past where he and I walked around the show floor to give you a look at what was going on. Here’s what he would like to discuss:
“I seriously been giving this some thought for a long time now after me and one of my co-workers had a discussion over the current gen games which consist of games that are just bad and just dumb down where anyone can pick up the controller and just play.
And it had me thinking…..what was the last bad arcade game to ever see the light of day? This is a serious question in my view because, in all honesty, I can’t think of none.
Like, the last game that was consider horrible arcade was between Capcom Fighting Jam and SNK vs Capcom…..even then, those games were still consider average and not just plain horrible…and those were released almost 10 years ago.
Hell, even Justice League wasn’t that bad for a game that didn’t pop up anywhere.
So my question is….what is a bad arcade game…..what’s been a horrible release in the last 20 years? Street Fighter the Movie Arcade game? “
I’ll spout off a couple of thoughts and let you guys take it from there in the comments.
What a bad game is somewhat subjective. If we were to venture out onto the internet I’m sure the chorus of “E.T. is the worst ever, start there!” would drown out most thoughtful discussion in that regard but there are worse games than E.T. (try Rise of the Robots sometime – I’ll take E.T. over that any day). The thing is that games that are horrible are often broken – perhaps hampered by bugs or poorly implemented features or they clone another idea that was popular and somehow manage to do a worse job at it (Again, see Rise of the Robots as a great example). In arcades it is difficult for this to happen as really bad games almost never get out of testing. So a horrible arcade game is going to be a rarity since the expense of putting one onto the market is substantially higher than a home game and if you see that it can’t make money on test, not many are going to be crazy enough to pull the trigger and produce it without making a lot of changes or just dumping it entirely.
In regards to bad arcade games in more recent times, there are some games I don’t care for that are usually are mixed bag types of games as opposed to downright terrible games. Some examples: Sega Racing Classic (more disappointment than a bad game – it was still Daytona at its core and that was an excellent racer, I just think that everyone wanted much more out of that than a higher resolution and there was the loss of the Daytona license). Justice League (it did have some problems but it grew on me after a few plays; it looked better in person than the screenshots but still was lagging well behind what could have been done in 09; the character movement needed some tweaking particularly in how fast you run along. Still it was playable and fun to play with a second person). Panic Museum (everyone I have talked to seems to like this one so maybe it was just me), Paradise Lost (it looked great but the changes made to it sucked any personality the game had in the first place which wasn’t much to begin with, enemies just run haphazardly onto the screen as you mow them down, bosses just appear with no theatrics whatsoever). None of these games are at the level of a Street Fighter: The Movie type of game however so on that point, I would have to say I’m in agreement with Phil.
I think to get into examples of what would be horrible, we would have to look to China currently where on occasion, usually because of poor rip-offs, there are some examples of really bad games being made(Happy Bounce Ball, Ultimate, Pong Pong Table, Pandora’s Adventure, as some examples). It’s hard to say though since it is difficult to come across these games out West, since they rarely see the light of day over here. The industry there will mature with age though and we’ve already seen that occur with games like Storm Racer which had the quality of any racer made by an established arcade developer.
If you have a different take on it however, I’d love to strike up a discussion in this regard so type away!