Anyone who has worked at an arcade for more than 2 hours will know what I am talking about when it comes to irritating attract modes. I’ve wondered if some designers have really sat there and listed to their game repeat itself once every few minutes over an 8-hour day. Some attract modes really drive you up the wall so if you’ve got the ability to shut off the attract mode sound, then you probably will with certain games. I can’t really handle music games too well since they repeat songs a lot and not always the songs you like to listen to.
In an optimum world, all attract modes would be at least 10 minutes long before looping. Most are only a few minutes. Either way, there are occasions where you have an attract mode with music or a sequence that despite it repeating itself over and over again, it doesn’t make you want to drive a nail through your own head. So let’s take a look at some of those, in no particular order other than what comes to mind and what I’ve heard mention of from some of you:
(also as a bonus, a thread on Arcade Otaku about good attract modes, generally speaking)
Daytona USA / OutRun 2 – Sega
I’m not sure what is is with Sega – usually their racing games have excellent attract modes but their light-gun titles generally feature some of the more irritating modes that I just have to turn down. I couldn’t stand more than a day of House of the Dead 4. But as mentioned, they generally get it right with their racing titles. Daytona USA and OutRun 2 are great examples of attract modes that blend in with the arcade cacophony without driving you crazy.
(Jump to about 1:40)
Since I’m on the subject of Sega, here’s Star Wars Trilogy Arcade. This one benefits from being almost 6 min. long, some attract modes seem to repeat in about half that but it varies. At my first arcade job, SWTA was setup right in front of the Lazer Tag desk where I spent most of my time and it was just fine to have there, especially compared to the Sports Arena redemption game near the Redemption Zone. SA is probably used in gloomy torture chambers in places like North Korea.
Batman – Raw Thrills
I don’t know what it is about the song (the bongos maybe?) but it works. It doesn’t loop immediately after it’s done of course, there are a few other things in-between but as the main theme song during the attract mode, it works.
X-Men & TMNT – Konami
I only have the attract sound set to play once every three attract loops but the tune for this is catchy albeit brief. I also can include TMNT which really is more nostalgia driven but the sounds seem to be something you expect to hear when you wander into an arcade. Although I have to admit that TMNT does loop pretty quickly and if it were the only game that I could hear I would gladly turn off the attract sound to save my sanity.
Of course many classics aren’t bothersome at all since they often don’t have any noise during the attract, it’s purely visual.
Road Blasters – Atari Games
It all comes down that catchy tune. I can’t find an attract mode video of it so here is the tune:
I asked about this on Twitter and received some suggestions which are:
Dimahoo – Raizing
This one pops up a lot and I can see why. It’s fun to watch and doesn’t do anything that necessarily gets stuck into your head audio-wise.
Metal Black – Taito
With shooters it generally seems to be a good bet that they will be tolerable since they tend to have good music that is reflected in the attract mode
Darius games – Taito
Where I have Dariusburst Another Chronicle sitting right in front of me every day it certainly had the potential to make me loathe the attract mode but it doesn’t at all. Funny enough one part of the attract mode always makes people think of Halo; someone suggested G-Darius as well so it seems like the Darius series handles the idea well. What I like about this G-Darius mode is that is explains the story behind what is going on, which is oddly missing from DBAC.
Alien Vs. Predator – Capcom
I generally like Capcom attract modes for themselves, where the games were often based on a character of some kind, they would throw up profiles to show you what they could do, like in AvP. AvP was recommended by a few and I guess it isn’t too bad when you just listen to it, seems like it would blend well with other games, much like TMNT.
Laserdisc Games – Various
Thanks to the animation, laserdisc games had modes which did exactly what their name implies – attract players – although as an arcade operator they would wear thin very quickly. I have The Act: An Interactive Comedy and it’s one of those loopers that you really have to tune out because of the quick repeats. But these were mentioned so here’s Cobra Command by Data East.
What are your favorite attract modes that can play all day long without making you cringe? And if there are any that you can’t stand, speak up about those as well!