So I received the latest issue of GameInformer magazine in the mail today and to my surprise they published an e-mail I sent to them a few months ago in response to an article they ran suggesting the that arcades are totally dead, with no acknowledgment of any new titles that had been released last year. What is in the magazine is a bit shorter than what I sent and edited quite a bit for content as when I originally wrote the e-mail, it was fairly scathing. Now I understand that they couldn’t publish my entire letter – it was too long for the format and it’s normal for magazines to trim letters down so they fit but it’s interesting to see what I originally sent them and what was actually published. I do thank them for running it so I figured it would be fun to show the differences in the letter I originally sent and the one that was published, along with their response. In my original e-mail, I made a point out of showing how there are actually several arcade ports that have come out recently, including games coming to the Wii which they do talk about in their response but they talk about it as though I never brought the point up. At least it looks like they were being more gracious in their response than I was with my original letter but I’m not oblivious to how things are in the gaming world – I play on Xbox Live and understand that “gamers can compete, share scores, and chat online” as they mention and I know that has changed things. Some people still go to arcades for the live social experience that you don’t get online. Anyways, hit the post break to check it out:
Here is what I originally sent along to Game Informer. I was a little peeved at the time of writing so it does have some typos and grammatical errors(some of which I am only finding as I re-read it).
I have to comment with one point in your “Top 10 dying video game trends” article in the December 2007, specifically point number 8. I am quite disappointed with the negative edge you put on arcades as a whole, being an arcade operator myself it is already difficult fighting negative or false impressions surrounding arcades. Now it’s true that arcades have lost the huge advantage they once had in terms of graphics but then again some arcades run off of the “sophisticated console hardware” you mention, such as the upcoming Tekken 6 running off of PS3 hardware. Most arcades run off PC hardware these days which can be run better hardware than a console (if the developer chooses to do so). A lot of new arcade title are focusing on providing new experiences instead of solely shinier graphics.
I am not sure what is meant by “there is not enough time and money behind the games to let them compete” – Raw Thrills (run by Eugene Jarvis) recently announced that his company would be investing $25 million into arcade development over the next few years. It may not be as large a budget as some console releases but big money doesn’t always lead to better games, it leads to better hype which mostly seems to be used to offset fairly shallow games so people will go out and buy them. And hype is one thing arcades just don’t seem to get and media outlets like yourselves don’t help much by practically ignoring any arcade coverage. Either way, arcade developers are ramping up for 2008 as was shown by recent events such as IAAPA (something else pretty much ignored by game magazines and press).
“No arcades – no arcade ports” – was this even researched or is it just a generalization? Of course it is doubtful that your readers learn about new arcade titles seeing how coverage is pretty slim even on the internet, although it is there. In the past year there have nearly 30 games that came out for arcades (more if you count Japanese releases) – yes far short of console releases but the way it was written, arcades are simply written off as completely dead already and that there is nothing to look forward too. I understand that the article was focusing on dying trends and yes there are fewer arcade ports around than there used to be but it should have been written “fewer games = fewer ports”. Some recent ports include:
Metal Slug Anthology (including MS6 that is a fairly new arcade release)
Ghost Squad (for the Wii)
Virtua Fighter 5 (released first as an arcade in Japan – will see an arcade release in the US early next year)
King of Fighters Maximum Impact Reg. A (for the PS2)
Raiden 3 and 4
Time Crisis 4 (for PS3)
It’s not in the 100s like it used to be so yes it is a dying trend and that is not what I am arguing about because I know that there are fewer arcade titles than there used to be – just please stop passing off arcades as a thing of the 80’s and 90’s that is long gone – while many have passed on, some are coming along just fine and 2008 will be an excellent year for arcades in the US.
And here is what it looks like I wrote, as published in the March 2008 issue of GI.
I have to comment on your “Top 10 Dying Video Game Trends” in issue 176 – specifically the one about the death of arcade ports. I am quite disappointed with the negative edge you put on arcades as a whole. Being an arcade operator myself, it is already difficult fighting false impressions surrounding arcades. It’s true that they have lost the huge advantage they once had in terms of graphics, but then again, some arcade games run on the same hardware as console titles (like the upcoming Tekken 6). Plus, a lot of new arcade titles are focusing on providing new experiences instead of solely shiner graphics. In the past year there have nearly 30 games that came out in arcades (more if you count Japanese releases) I know that there are fewer arcade titles than there used to be, but stop passing off arcades as a bygone fad of the ’80s and ’90s. Some arcades are coming along just fine, and 2008 will be an excellent year.
And here is their response to this other letter
Thanks for the insight, Adam. You’re right to point out that arcades are not completely dead, but they have long lost their central relevance to gaming culture. We recognize this as a sad trend; many gamers have fond memories of the social and competitive opportunities an arcade provides. However, these concepts have since been adapted and expanded in the home console experience. Gamers can compete, share scores, and chat online. Even some of the gimmick-based cabinets (like rail shooters and boxing) are finding their way onto the Wii. The challenge is offering something at an arcade that you can’t get at home… besides hot wings.
We do agree on a couple of things here – arcades have lost their status in culture compared to what it once was and yes the online experience that people can get has changed things. But there are a few arcade games that are playable online and the social experience in the arcade is still there, especially when an arcade holds a competition. I also agree that arcades need to offer something more, which they are trying to do but it is difficult when the same developers release their games on a home console. But as you can see in my original letter, I made a point to show that several arcade games have been ported to consoles recently and in their response they acknowledged that, which I find to be funny since according to the original issue 176, such things didn’t exist anymore.
Overall, arcades still have a long way to go in changing perceptions and seeing a total revival as it used to be, but they are not dead – not as long as arcades still exist and new games are coming out. I understand that arcades are not the same as they used to be, but that’s why I write on here everyday, pushing for change (now I sound like a politician! changity, changity, changity, change! But no really, I’m honest about it).