JAEPO is now finished and for the next big trade show we look forward to is Amusement Expo. One thing that was big at JAEPO was the continued support for online MVS type systems like Taito’s NESiCAxLive or Sega’s ALL.NET P-ras Multi. Unfortunately these systems are limited to Japan and it looks like they will be sticking to that region for the near future. I have ran a poll about this before where interest seemed to be there but I think it would be interesting to do a thought experiment along these lines. Perhaps what is needed for the ball to get rolling is for some people to know whether there is some true interest in such an idea. So let’s do a thought experiment shall we?
First, an example of how great I think these systems can be. At the JAEPO event a number of new games were announced for these systems. Some were hardcore games, and there were a few casual ones in the mix. Here’s an example of a more casual game coming to Japanese arcades thanks to Taito’s NESiCAxLIVE network, Do Not Fall:
Or Sega got a 2D fighter by the name of Under Night In-Birth through ALL.NET+ Multi not long ago:
We don’t have access to games like this in the arcade in the US because everything has to be an “event” type game for FECs.
But what if we kept event machines as a great thing for a location to have once a year, backed up by something like NESiCA/ALL.NET+ for games served year round?
So let’s say we have some motivated individuals that have worked out a plan to resuscitate *economical* video gaming for arcades—not redemption, not 8k+ ‘event’ games, but games like Mom used to make in a variety of genres, particularly the neglected ones.
The plan would include a design for a cabinet replete with 30” (or larger) touchscreen monitor, commodity parts-based hardware (read: nVidia, Intel, etc.), and a digital distro system that would be, effectively, iTunes for arcades. Oh, and it would cost less to get up and running than the average event game probably by a few thousand dollars less.
Let’s say this digital distro system allowed for free test drives of beta software to gauge customer interest before buying; pricing that was substantially less than half, per game, as the latest event game; and stocked with games from Japanese developers, indie game companies, and, oh yes, perhaps even mainstream console developers.
And, finally: Let’s say, to get this up and running, this group would need to raise about $100k to make it a reality via Kickstarter. Would you kick in on that sort of project?
More importantly, would you help get your friends and arcade operators to kick in on this sort of project?
And: would you help spread the word, far and wide, so that we can get this thing funded, and make a run at bringing back some semblance of the glory days of arcade gaming?
This experiment may or may not be for a group looking to undertake just that but I would certainly be fascinated to see what your responses are, especially from arcade operators who would be at the front lines of making such a purchase. As an operator myself I am very interested in this (if you couldn’t tell from constant coverage on the Japanese only systems) as it would be a wonderful way to get new games in my place without having to rely on a 3rd party game operator or used games to keep things fresh, which is what I have been doing for the past six months or so.
And let’s top it off another poll about the subject and get a more up-to-date idea on what all of you think about this.