Hardcore Gamers: What Do You Want To See In Arcades These Days?

arcadehero April 4, 2013 35
Hardcore Gamers: What Do You Want To See In Arcades These Days?

It wasn’t long ago we ran a little thought experiment on some potential idea for arcades and while this isn’t directly related to that, it is similar.

At the recent Amusement Expo 2013 event, I talked for a little bit with an executive for one of the major arcade game manufacturers and we discussed this particular subject for a short time. I think it is an interesting one: what would bring hardcore players back to the arcade? What would keep them interested? Is the problem attributed to the current culture of gaming or the lack of content? Phone game ports aren’t the answer – those appeal to casual gamers but not necessarily someone who is going to consider themselves a serious/hardcore gamer.

How should we define a hardcore gamer, for starters? There are various definitions one could use. Basing it on metrics such as how many games you own, what consoles you own, how much time you spend playing games or which exact games you play don’t completely work out since who is it that decides what the cut off point is? Serious gaming is a hobby and hardcore gamers are the enthusiasts. So one metric I think could be used is how one approaches games – what I have noticed from players at my arcade is that casual players don’t give games a chance. They don’t try and learn them or their nuances. They will float from one to another hoping to find the path of least resistance until they may give up playing entirely. A hardcore gamer will not let the first setback in a new game keep them from playing. They will try a different strategy or actually bother to read the instructions.  They will play a game even if the graphics are outdated or subpar as how the game plays is more important than how it looks. So old games are on the table to play as much as new. Genres also don’t always matter either, they will play RPGs, RTS, FPS, STG, action, adventure, whatever. Maybe even sports, although that doesn’t always fit the stereotype 😉

I have played enough games that I have no way of keeping track of all of them. Among arcade games I’ve played a few hundred but there are certainly many titles I haven’t had a chance to experience yet. When I think of modern games I find extra appealing I think of Taito’s Dariusburst Another Chronicle. I have raved about the game many times on the blog and in person to any of you I have met. There are various reasons I like it – it takes skill to master, it does not hold your hand, there is a ton of content to it, there’s more to the controls than is first apparent, and that’s just for starters. With some minor tweaks it could appeal a little more to keep casuals interested (simple voiceovers to explain the primary objectives come to mind). Because of what it offers I’ve been able to spend hours playing it and there is a lot more to explore. Personally, that is what draws me to the game, the multiplayer aspects and excellent soundtrack are bonuses.

There are other games which have drawn in numbers of fans. The interest I have seen in Namco’s Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 is higher than any other arcade title in recent time, with frequent requests about whether the game is coming West. I’ve seen that to a lesser degree with Sega’s Initial D series. I personally never got a chance to get in on the action with the previous iterations with these particular series but when I played Speed Driver 4 by IGS at some trade shows (which tries to be in the same vein as these other technical drivers) I could see why. The games find ways to integrate a multitude of features and even storylines into the action flow of the required arcade style games. Player accounts through the use of data cards certainly provide incentive to store and track data. This was also used in IGS’s Oriental Legend 2 – which with a quick glance may seem like any other brawler but look deeper and you find much more that is worth using a save card for.

Arcade titles have used many ideas over the years to bring players back to them – aside from leaderboards you have unlockable levels or characters, player accounts, randomized content, leveling up/ranking up, or complex moves pulled off using secret combos, etc. Of course these are things that games on any platform can do but they have worked particularly well in many arcade titles have done over the years. So arcades have had to use their hardware and social advantages to gain an upper hand. But has that been enough?

So the quiz, not so much a thought experiment, for today is this. It’s not for any group in particular, more just to satisfy my own curiosity and foster some discussion on a topic I have often considered but don’t always get to bounce off of others. If you are a hardcore gamer, or perhaps you just consider yourself a gamer without the hardcore label, what would arcades need to do to draw you in that they don’t do already?

Can new ideas in hardware do the trick? (Things like “4D effects”, wind, motion, water, image manipulation, etc.)

New ideas in the software?

A common complaint about modern arcades and their lost appeal is that eventually consoles caught up in terms of graphics. How much does that difference matter to you?

Is multiplayer social interaction important?

What about complexity? Arcades have to balance this in a way that allows for simplicity on the surface with potential to unlock features through skillful tricks. Fighters are a good example of this practice. One person I have talked to about the subject before uses Atari Games’ Rampart as an example of an original idea that maintains that good balance.

I’ve asked this before but how much do online features matter, if they matter at all in an arcade setting?

By all means, please comment below!


35 Comments »

  1. Chun April 4, 2013 at 8:17 am - Reply

    If I had to say anything about the state of arcade gaming, it’s that you need to maintain something that cannot be done at home, as the arcade experience. Japan game arcades thrive on card-related touch screen interfaces, live online shooting games with an RPG element to them, and generally games set up to immerse the player (Gundam Capsule Pods). Arcade owners and American licensing fails to innovate beyond simple console + joystick which can be copied at home with netplay; there’s little reason for most to go out to events or arcades. Real “Game Centers” are made of these I-can’t-have-this-at-home game experience.

    • Jordan Neo April 4, 2013 at 8:41 am - Reply

      So true. Arcades for me are about videogames I can’t have at home.

    • RedSwirl April 4, 2013 at 9:47 am - Reply

      I would agree with the “experience you can’t get at home appeal.” I used to love lightgun shooters and games like Afterburner. That’s just one method though.

    • masterLEON April 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      It’s always been about “games I can’t play at home” for me.

  2. Vince D April 4, 2013 at 8:19 am - Reply

    I mostly don’t want to feel like I’m on a timer. I want to be able to survive 30 seconds or 30 minutes based on my SKILL. That’s why I want to see classic games – the design was such that the average play time was short, bu it didn’t FEEL like it. Plus, as you got better, you could play longer on a quarter. Cheap entry fee, simple to get the hang of, and REPLAYABILITY.

    If I want into an arcade (or other location) and I see a classic game (besides Ms Pac Man/Galaga) I’m happy.

    • arcadehero April 5, 2013 at 7:43 am - Reply

      I’ve been surprised by some of the new games I’ve come across where in the operator options they have moved away from the model that most 90s shooters used and instead use adjustable timers to determine a huge jump in difficulty. These games still do well but they cannot be finished in a single credit no matter how good you are. I agree that it should go back to the older models where skill matters more than how many credits you have.

  3. Jordan Neo April 4, 2013 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Where I live (Singapore), the most popular games are often japanese titles that have save cards and online features. Right now the two most popular games are probably Jubeat and Midnight Maximum tune. At the peak of its popularity, I once waited for nineteen games before my turn at a Jubeat machine.

    Over here, we pay SGD$6 (about USD$4.8) for a save card and sgd$2 – $2.50 a game that’s connected online. The same game, without online connectivity, goes for considerably less (as little as SGD50cents).

    Repeated play with a save card allows one to unlock more content and customisation options. Online play also means you’ll never have to play alone; you’ll always be competing with someone online, and it makes you want to do your best especially if the opponent’s from another country. This encourages people to come on their own even if they don’t have any friends interested in arcade games. Some games also show the location of the arcade the player’s playing at, which I think is cool.

    I’m not sure what it’s like in the US but most folks I know who play arcade games here almost always focus on a single genre. Playing other genres only very casually. The guys who play midnight maximum tune are also likely to play initial D, while the guys who play Jubeat (a music game), are also likely to play beatmania, drummania, or pop ‘n’ music.

    I think having multiple games that use the same save card also encourages people to try new games. For example, I played Jubeat almost exclusively for a long time, only touching bishi bashi occasionally. But when an online version of Bishi Bashi that used the same save card I already had arrived, I found myself playing it a lot more simply because I could collect avatars (that admittedly, were pretty much useless). And I continued playing simply to show off my completed collection of avatars.

    I don’t know how much it costs the operator to subscribe to the online service though. Some games like Jubeat have less than half it’s content accessible offline and the recent discontinuation of the konami e-amusement service in some arcades here has left many gamers feeling upset and betrayed, in the same way one might feel if their favourite MMORPG just shut down one day because of how much we had invested into our favourite games.

  4. Molloy April 4, 2013 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I think the future for hardcore western arcades is a cover charge of 10 or 15 euros and a mix of arcade machines and console. I just want to go somewhere where gamers hang out so I can play and watch a bit of Street Fighter, shmups and even sports games that are up to date, and maybe a few classics without it costing a fortune for the operator or the player. Heart of Gaming in London or Next Level in NY essentially.

  5. RedSwirl April 4, 2013 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Personally, for here in the US I would suggest that arcade games just get people together for multiplayer. Local multiplayer where you can meet people in person has been in decline on consoles in favor of online. Plus, it’s so hard for older gamers to organize local multiplayer at home these days.

    In my mind an arcade would ideally be combined with some kind of gathering place like a bar or restaurant.

    • arcadehero April 5, 2013 at 7:36 am - Reply

      Games like Pac-Man Battle Royale are a good start. Personally I’ve liked to get as many 4p games as I can into the arcade as I agree, fostering a location that makes multiplayer easy is key.

  6. kostas April 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    i am using arcade centers for 20 years…!!!i play games fo 25 years First of all i believe that all video game companys have the “know how” to make a game exchiting and atractive but … the earning of selling titles to game consoles are much better and they decide to go there … I believe that arcades have to be online and play multiplayer as to our homes… also i would like to play a game i play in my home to a big dedicated cabinet that has this extra feeling … for example imagine a dedicated gran tourismo cabinet … that i could login and play … companies should have an administrator tool for the operators to help them create promotions and tournaments of theire games… Another example… i have a SEGA GRID in my location which is very good but has hundrend of euros to buy it and i can buy a60 euro sega grid game for my ps3 !!! if the arcades were cheaper more operators could afford them so more close to the players would the games be… i dont like the idea of cards for arcades online … come on guys do you find it usefull to have my card always with me … or 10 cards with me for my favorite 10 games …xaaaaa…simple is better just a login and a password and i would like to play my favorite game we need to have 4 player racing initial d setup online in the price of 2 player arcade games cheaper for the operators to buy and online capabilities for me to connect my location in athens and cyprus and make online tournaments … thank you

  7. Tom Stack April 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    I also beileve that cards and online connectivity is really where arcades must go. In the west some games have had great success with this Golden Tee and Silver Strike as well as Big Buck Hunter Series have pulled this off well.

    Global VR used to in the dial up days but never really upgraded to high speed networks. They were apperntly bringing it back in Nascar they had advertised it but I dont think that it ever launched too bad.

    Sega/Sammy tired with with All.Net but they required a very expenive direct fiber connection great idea for speed but terrible becuase of the inital buy in expense. Hopefully they can come out with V2 there is less expensive to install.

    However there are some rumors that Specular (Hydro Thuner/Dirty Drivin) may be looking to add online capbility to thier next title thorough the Coin UP online system same as Big Buck Hunter.

    This needs to happencfor newer games.

  8. masterLEON April 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Memory card games, like Initial D, Max Tune, DJ MaxT, even Derby Owner’s Club, were always addictive to those that were hooked to them. A single regular player could spend a hundred dollars or more per month, or at least spend more money per visit than a casual player. These players also liked the idea of internet rankings to see how they compared with other players. Initial D was a prime example, you can see times of players in the same area, on the opposite coast, and in the East.

    Local high score tracking may also encourage players to come back and compete with each other. A new generation of retrogamers are also coming around to appreciate the pursuit of high scores thanks to video game media features like The King of Kong, websites like Speed Demos Archives and RecordSetter. Local playoff events on popular games may be successful, too.

    One thing I’d like to see, if the arcade’s local gaming culture is into it, is streaming of live gameplay on Twitch TV or Youtube or something. You can even split the feed to the dining/lounge area so people can watch games in progress while they eat. Maybe even provide high quality recording services, like saving to SD card or BYO device, so the players can keep their footage (I hear some arcades in Japan are doing this for the shmup players). Gamers, like myself, like watching gameplay videos of games they like.

    • arcades4ever April 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      that’s a great idea and also it gives people an idea on how the game plays and what you have to do. you mentioning that reminds me of the old sega daytona USA huge deluxe cabinets and outrun spdx with the live cameras (even though its not quite the same) people want to see how games play but can be difficult when other people use the game due to having to peek behind the player when it’s difficult to view what the player is seeing leaing the only option is to watch the game when it’s not in use when demos come on for a mere few seconds

  9. Mike O'Hair April 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    I think that beyond what specific types of games should be in modern arcades, some thought should go into what kind of environment arcades should be. Arcades are inherently social experiences; I was reminded of that fact after reading an article on Polygon:
    http://www.polygon.com/2013/1/20/3896872/texas-arcade-owner-brings-back-the-social-experience-of-retro-gaming
    People who frequented arcades used to actually converse with each other rather than sit semi-silently at their X-Boxes and occasionally communicate with each other via messages or internet forums. We’d trade tips and strategies, berate each other for losing so quickly, create outrageously false theories regarding secret characters in Mortal Kombat 2. Now, the internet facilitates and almost eliminates the communication that was once within arcades.
    The race of more advanced hardware will continue as long as developers persist. The graphics of home console games caught up to arcade games, but PC games are still capable of better graphics… although some PC games are ports of console games these days. So the race for greater visual fidelity is a dead end; the resolution can only go so high until it doesn’t matter anymore.
    Many of the action games enjoying success on mobile platforms are very similar to the action games featured in arcades, and some console games were and still are being ported to portable platforms and smartphones. Difficult to compete in that arena. Puzzle games? Fuhgettaboutit. Why go to the arcade when you can play a one dollar knock off on your phone? Really sad.
    Online features would probably be more relevant to global leaderboards rather than multiplayer functionality. On the subject of competition, I think the reasons why people went to the arcades to compete against other players versus the current environment of competitive player should be examined. In the 1990s players could have easily compete using the home console versions of, for example, Street Fighter 2 and other similar games. But those versions were not “arcade perfect” and were inferior in many ways. Now the home console versions are tuned the same way as the arcade version (in some but not all cases, regretably), and with internet connectivity and game streaming services (NESiCA x Live) they can be updated on a similar schedule. The widespread adoption of home consoles for competitive tournaments, specifically in fighting games, help drive another nail into the coffin. But what keeps players playing arcade games when a nearly identical experience can be had at home?

    Little of this diatribe was very constructive. If I had all the answers I’d be laying atop a swimming pool full of quarters by now.

    Non-sequitur: Has the Gaiden craft been unlocked for the DariusBurst AC machine at Game Grid yet?

    • arcadehero April 5, 2013 at 7:32 am - Reply

      Funny you mention that communication aspect. Last night as I was about to close, three complete strangers had me stay past the closing hour as they were busy playing against each other on Street Fighter IV AE, giving tips, doing a little trash talking, etc. That same effect. A couple exchanged phone numbers so they could keep in touch. It was exactly what you are talking about. Fighters of course seem to have that happen more often but the fighting scene is not as strong as it could be due to console encroachment. One thing that had drawn these players together though was that they could play without the lag inherent with online play.

      We did find the Gaiden and the 2nd Silverhawk but it wasn’t as spectacular as we had hoped. It didn’t unlock the fighters for the entire game, they are only available on the particular Chronicle levels that Tairo hinted at. They are pretty cool but the Gaiden levels don’t give you a good fight for what the Gaiden can handle – its just two boss battles – the black hole bomb needs hordes! The 2nd Silverhawk level is six levels of mayhem though and it is quite a powerful ship. All the music is from the games these fighters were introduced in, which is a nice touch.

      It could be that they can be unlocked for the rest of the game still – there is a password system built into the game. Taito is promising to share the codes once we’ve had the first 3 star systems of Chronicle mode cleared. Still working on that one…

  10. voltz April 5, 2013 at 1:54 am - Reply

    Japan has a lot of those RPG based card games and I’m wondering why in the US we’re not allowed to set ourselves up to enjoy some of that? Someone is making the decision not to bring it here and I’d like to see someone change their minds on that.

    • chaos April 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      I’ve seen a few card based RPG games tested at various locations over the years. Nobody played them and I’m guessing it’s due to the fact that people didn’t get them. While card games like Magic the Gathering are huge in the US, I’ve felt that an electronic or video game version of this ever caught on anywhere besides Japan.

    • chaos April 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      There is a slight learning curve for these card based games and they are geared towards one particular demographic of game players. Most arcade owners won’t invest in a game that only caters to one specific type of gamers and doesn’t allow the casual gamer to figure out the basic principals of the game only after a couple of plays

  11. Arcades4ever April 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    For me it’s about playing games that I can’t really play at home properly or if ever, namco’s dead storm pirates is a good example, I have the game for the PS3 with the PS move but I still find myself coming back to the arcade original that has the motion seat since not only having an enclosed cabinet but also a rudder controller plus mounted guns are something that cannot be done at home.
    Years ago when DDR was very popular it was also released on the PS1 but despite the home release I find people including myself coming back to the arcade original as the dance mats were unresponsive at times and slippery. Another thing is that arcade games have the playing field laid out and ready to be played on where as at home you have to save up for controllers and set them up and then there’s putting them away and storing them somewhere.
    I remember for hardcore players who like football sega’s WCCF series was very popular at every arcade I saw that I went in and I’m really surprised that the sequels weren’t release because players spent along time on that game and quite a few people spent hours on it. I’m also surprised that someone in the arcade industry hasn’t made an RPG game instead of cards like sega’s RPG series have figurines like the skylanders series. A game like that that kids know and love and especially fans of the series would love something like that and maybe even make an arcade special addition where players could take the figures from home and put them on a completely new playing field with new playing elements much like sega’s derby owners club, star racer, dinosaur king and mushi kings series and much more

  12. Arcades4ever April 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    There could also be special figurines for skylanders arcade version that you could collect and find rare special additions from a prize capsule vending machine sort of thing where each one is a mystery. Each gamer is different and have different tastes when it comes to trying to luring back the hardcore players and really depends on the skill and type of game. Konami’s DDR is fun for beguiners and also hardcore players so to attract hardcore players arcade companies need to try fins the right balance of being easy to play and learn but hard to master and conquer. But the only real way is to have a selection of difficulty eg easy, medium and hard, a game that can not only be more fun but do something that the home consoles either can’t do or have some sort of connectivity through either online or through smartphone devices and have a special mode that only matches up a player of a similar skill to that of the same opponent so as not to put off casual gamers much like when playing on Xbox live and psn. Namco’s wagon midnight is a good example as it not only maintains attrating the casual player but also the hardcore player and it’s also a game that can only be played properly in the arcade all setup plus the save card system and 6 gearstick unlike the wii wheel bundle with mariokart wii holding the wheel in midair.

    • Takosh April 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      I’ve thought since I first saw them that an arcade tie-in for Skylanders would make great sense. The game (or games) doesn’t even have to match the console – a simple mini game (or series of mini game options) like they have available online with Skylander Universe, but with easier unlocks, would be a tremendous winner in arcades. Add in a ticket winning feature, and kids using their own figures they build up over time, and you’d have a real winner, I think.

      Adding in a $10/throw capsule dispenser with a chance at a random rare figure would be a tremendous boost, as well (right now, the game is based on buying $12+ figures that are non-random…add the random collectible thing to it, and you could bring Skylanders to a whole new level of profitability).

      • arcades4ever April 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm - Reply

        yeah this sort of thing would be very popular with kids and hardcore players alike as long as the game wasn’t too gimmicky for the sake of collecting the figures and having crappy gameplay. the figure could be put into certain formations and have it a sort of like poke’mon type gameplay with added adventure rpg game element added in (not that familiar with skylanders actual game). knowing rawthrills they may even make an arcade version of skylanders just like what they did with guitar hero, frogger, doodlejump and now pacman. you never know and they is a strong possiblity if the frachise is still in demand 😉

  13. Brent Silby April 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I think the “going out for entertainment” factor is the biggest thing arcades have going for them. It’s like going to the movies. You’re going out with the specific purpose of immersing yourself in an environment of games and entertainment.

    In terms of games, arcades offer a range of different interface experiences, such as in car games or throwing balls at a screen. These can’t easily be replicated at home. The 3d experiences now being rolled out in games is pretty cool too.

    As far as graphics goes, personally it doesn’t matter to me. In fact, I am often more interested in a game that has abstract graphics than “real” looking graphics.

    Cheers

  14. the7k April 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    The number one thing I want out of an arcade is to play fighters with an offline community. Yes, I can “technically” get this same at home by playing GGPO or some of the console re-releases, but frankly, this isn’t the same at all. I’ve made some lasting friendships from playing with people offline and had better matches with these same folks as well. I know I’m weird, but I feel uncomfortable playing against people online – I find it more comforting to know that we’re breathing the same air, and after the match is over, we can shake hands and talk about the match to work out the kinks. Sadly, the closest place I know that offers this sort of experience is 3 hours away…. but that is why I make the 3 hours drive every now and then.

    The second thing I want out of an arcade is to play some old school favorites. Again, you could just load up MAME or something and get the “same experience” at home, but it’s just not the same. I wanna play those games on the actual cabs. There’s an arcade about an hour from me that doesn’t have much, but it does have Centipede, Frogger, Asteroids, Defender, Ms Pac-Man and Versus Super Mario Bros. That’s the main reason I go there.

    Of course, mostly I go to the far inferior local arcades, and the only reason I do go to these arcades is for the pinball. Two arcades in my town, one has Simpsons Pinball Party and the other has the Elvis pinball. That’s literally all I play when I go there, outside of maybe an odd game of skeeball.

    I’m a bit tired of light-gun shooters and drivers, although I do still enjoy them when they are well done. Razing Storm and Dead Heat still get my quarters because they actually feel solid. Tank Tank Tank and Deadstorm Pirates were worthwhile experiences as well.

    I do understand that just putting fighting game cabs into an arcade will not make a community pop up, but it’d be nice if more at least gave it a shot. You might have to tell some people to go tell some people so that the word gets out, but I know that fighting gamers can be very loyal customers if you let them be.

  15. voltz April 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    My real beef is I’m sick of shooters, racing and redemption games. Gun games ain’t priced for completion and racing games are a simple one-time thrill (look at Mario Kart GP for example). Redemption games are just… ung!! It’s like you’re at the carnival rather then playing actual videogames and kids are the only thing they settle with.

    I probably sound a little jaded, but there’s things in the 80’s which I would personally stick to. Not just 5 min thrill-a-thons at $2 a pop.

  16. editor April 7, 2013 at 7:06 am - Reply

    I have had to survive in a market that dose not make games that are aimed at me, or have the lasting appeal that is worth the effort. GRID was a good game, but because of the need to make it suitable for quick play, it only played well in network sessions.

    Game R&D from the factories has been decimated by the console development revolution – now we see a slow rebirth of amusement development, but there is a strong danger that these new games will only be aimed at the current “impulse play” model.

    I would like to see some hard play gaming, linked to network play model – however, as the amusement trade in the West is focused on short-term returns this looks unlikely from this trade.

  17. Toby N April 7, 2013 at 9:23 am - Reply

    I think Jordan Neo’s post hit it on the head.

  18. Phil "iTossWomenSalads" Arrington April 9, 2013 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I believe the one thing we (U.S.) never caught on to is a live online ranking. Its one of things that would of kept more people in the arcade. As well as higher prices for a game.

    There’s a differences in how one person play if they pay 25¢ vs a $1.50. I think people will be force to put their all since they have to pay more since, in a mental block state, you going to realize you just paid a $1.50 a game that can possibly last for less than a minute

    Also wish license drama with some games (music games often as well as game titles ;like Max Tune 4)

  19. theptr April 10, 2013 at 1:37 am - Reply

    Adam! I would love to talk to you about this and see how it is from your perspective.

    I agree with several of the comments posted already.

    Strictly from my side of things,we need:

    1. Network/IC Cards:
    This will ultimately bring people back to play more. People want things in return for the money they put into the game. Whether it be more songs, new avatars, new stages, etc, it doesn’t have to be physical, virtual goods stored on IC cards will draw people back.

    Also, game companies use the network capability to update their games. Whether it is to add game materials or fix bugs, network can also be utilize to keep a game fresh and up-to-date.

    Unfortunately, US games are about 8 miles behind Japanese games in terms of networks. If anyone had the opportunity to take advantage of All.net, E-amusement, or Banapassport, you will know how much extra content these networks provide to the original game compared to Big Buck Hunter HD’s network.

    The three networks mentioned above are available in the US. (Project Diva’s location test have the cabinets connected to All.net, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 uses Banapassports, and Beatmania Tricoro uses E-amusement)

    But for arcade operators to acquire them, it usually requires lots of money and some luck.

    Max Tune 4, like you mentioned, has generated more hype than most of the other games in recent times requires Banapassport to operate. Just how many arcades in America can afford to get the Max Tune 4 cabs and pay for the network?

    For those wondering, there are currently only 6 arcades in the whole US with Tekken Tag 2 with network. (3 in CA, 2 in HI, and 1 in NY)

    If anyone were to get Max Tune 4 in the US, it be more than likely it would be to one of the 6 selected arcades)

    2. Better Games/New Gimmicks
    Dark Escape 4D sold like hotcakes because it was something unlike anything in the market.
    However, it is still the new one trick pony that has no replay value.

    That can said for most racing games/ shooting/ booth games. Once you played one, it like you played them all. Granted, there are some really good games from each of the respective genre.(especially the ones with online functions/ic cards)

    Racing against a friend on Dead Heat is drastically different than racing on Initial D.
    But if you race on Super Cars, that’s a lot more similar to Dead Heat.

    I definitely agree with the user Editor’s term of “impulse play” model.

    The whole thing is just a big negative loop:
    High R&D>High game cost>low game sales>discourages companies to innovate.

    Somewhere in that loop you can throw in limited number of arcades to start with.

    IMO, things are slowly changing for the better but I’m not sure if it’s too late or not…

    • arcades4ever April 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      what people need for the hardcore gamers to come back and stay longer is something to keep them hook like detph and hidden extras in a game like what you get in the pokemon games but something to start off nice, easy and slow and working your way to being harder in the game as it goes on, the old “easy to play hard to master” phrase

      to be honest theptr I thought that namco were making a maxi tune 4 international version which they showed off for the international market at jaepo earlier this year but were testing out the servers and location test first after they’ve tested in malaisia and china. the cards are great because you get to unlock levels which are not avaliable at the start but the one draw back I find in quick a few arcades apart from the namco arcades is a lot of the machines doesn’t have any cards avaliable. something like an alturnative like smartphone scans would work better in which the machine would scan the data from your smartphone. also with the banapassport I thing they should rethink what works with maxitune series certain elements and what doesn’t and make a local version while retaining almost all of the game apart from things like banapassport, needing to be online connected to their server etc.

      to be sucessful also would be to think back to certain times of what ideal games developers would like to make but weren’t possible at the time with technology wise like internet, low 3d graphics, retina displays, touch screen etc

    • arcadehero April 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      In terms of online stuff, a lot of it is operators in the US holding that back. It seems that many are embracing Big Buck HD but its not without some bumps. I personally have no problem with online stuff and I know a few other dedicated arcades don’t either. But for the majority of site operators, they need an easy system to go with. And some content that gamers will beat the doors down for.

      I’ve heard a lot of worry about the ideas of profit sharing online revenues that is done in Japan being done here. It’s hard to say how that will work here and I think that Tekken is a poor candidate to base testing those online ideas on since the game can be had at home. Mario Kart will probably be a much better candidate or WMMT4 since that is arcade exclusive.

      In that regards of better games, what I think might be the key is for companies to occasionally dabble in a game that is more around the $3k-$4k range but is something quirky or different(aka risky). Pac-Man Battle Royale is a good example of that. I’m not saying that they need to all completely go that route – there are places for the bigger games, even stuff like Dark Escape or Sonic Storm, although I do not want to see a majority of content go that route either as only D&B locations will be able to sustain an arcade. I think we have established quite well what does work in arcade but it can’t hurt to occasionally try something completely different that follows a skill-based model of gameplay and still does well. That’s why I wrote those “Missing In Action” articles a few years ago to point out genres that worked in the past and could still work today. Could something like Metal Slug or Hard Corps work in today’s arcades? Sure why not? A beat ’em up? As long as it doesn’t look like vomit and isn’t like controlling a sloth. A mech game? Seriously, who would not dump money into something like an arcade version of Hawken? (granted this later one probably would cost $8000+).

      I’m not convinced that we’ve exhausted all good/innovative ideas that can be done in arcades. There is quite a bit more that can be done that hasn’t necessarily been done before. Or perhaps done with a modern twist.

  20. voltz April 13, 2013 at 1:15 am - Reply

    I’m wondering, how would a third TMNT work out? Same settings and objectives as the previous games, .50c start .25c continue?

    Can a game like this still be profitable or does that work against returning investments?

    • arcadehero April 13, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

      To give you an idea, I have Pac-Man Battle Royale set at 50¢. It’s structure of course is different than something like TMNT for continued plays but it brought in enough to pay itself off in under a year.

      My old TMNT from 1989 currently averages about $20 a week. That is in a beat up cabinet (I got it with damage to the sideart, a little damage to the wood but nothing serious) and the monitor constantly has an issue with reds showing up. Once it made over $100/wk, not sure why that happened exactly but I’m pretty sure that a modern TMNT game with HD graphics and similar features (maybe more along the lines of Turtles in Time) would probably do really well. Just the name alone would bring players in. I also have wondered if a Thundercats beat ’em up would also work out fine.

  21. RJAY63 April 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    A title with good gameplay (ie, simple to get into but tough to master) and some kind of internet ranking. As a racing fan, the Japanese developers like Sega & Namco are the best at this. While western efforts by Sega Amusements and Raw Thrills may bring the money in, they simply don’t compare to titles like Outrun 2 SP, Wangan Midnight, Initial D et al.

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