This was an interesting read, and some of the points raised have been bugging me for quite a while. Like when having a search on google for “arcade” all you get is Xbox Live Arcade, Arcade Fire, crappy arcade game rip off downloads and not actually much on real arcades. Hopefully we will see publications like gamesTM and Hardcore Gamer cover more arcade news and then in theory the rest will follow.
On May 12th, two amusement trade associations will have to present a plan to their executive boards for the promotion of the industry. Both AMOA and AAMA have decided they should do something to reverse poor or non-existent coverage of this industry by the mainstream consumer media. But the train has left the station without them as Betson, IT, and various other industry elements create their own positive PR. In the meantime, the home game sector is doing its best in its latest efforts to co-opt the appeal of coin-op games.
The idea of dressing the home game industry in amusement colors has been confusing across the Internet. Microsoft have tried the hardest to garner credibility with their ‘Xbox Live Arcade’, the download service that has attempted to dress itself in past classic Coin-op titles and borrow amusement nomenclature. Not to be outdone, the Nintendo Wii: Virtual Console has also embraced Classic Arcades and a raft of pseudo-coin-op titles; console industry execs seeing arcade-type credibility as a strong wallet opener for players.
Confounding Google searches and news monitors, the Indies rock band ‘Arcade Fire’ offers an interesting dead-end for those surfing for their latest amusement news.
In the consumer media section, UK based GAMEStm Magazine has started to look once again at arcade reporting; it’s one of the only consumer mags to still include arcade coverage in its masthead. Since an appallingly butchered piece on the state of coin-op in 2003, the magazine’s latest editorial team have once again started to Preview titles such as ‘Silent Hill – The Arcade’ and even give a half-hearted Review to ‘AfterBurner CLIMAX’ – in a concession to a growing undercurrent of arcade interest on the part of home game players
The momentum by multi-platform magazines continued across the water with USA publication Hardcore Gamers Magazine biting the bullet following growing public interest seen on the Net, having commissioned a Review of Global VR’s epic blaster ‘Aliens EXTERMINATION’. What will follow this in the magazine’s pages? The publication’s next move will be based partly on public and advertiser reaction to a mainstream title jumping with growing audience fashions.
The Internet has once again been an excellent barometer of audience attitudes, and has embraced resurgence in video amusement popularity. The slow reaction by printed media has seen some painful catching up – general criticism of possible biased reviewing and advertiser-centric attitudes not helping matters. A concern is that half-hearted and poorly informed reviews of arcade titles will be rushed by lazy editors in those surviving mags.
A major shakeup in the consumer games magazine sector has been in the works, with official console coverage seen as the last defense against plummeting readership. A danger that audience tastes have changed so drastically for Internet reportage has caused widespread panic amongst established publications seeing departures by editorial staff and complete formats closure by publishers. A fear that coin-op will be grasped, as with any new trend, as an expedient life raft by unskilled hands, remains a constant concern.