Article: What’s Happening With Western Arcades – My Thoughts

arcadehero April 3, 2012 28
Article: What’s Happening With Western Arcades – My Thoughts

Through the day I’ve been following a popular article that was published by Ars Technica, “Whatever Happened To the American Arcade?“. I was contemplating commenting on it and Kevin Williams then sent me the link as a Stinger Report Newsfeed so that pushed me over the edge to put down some thoughts about it. It’s a nice article that while covering that new documentary about Japanese arcades, also delves a little into what it is that has been different in the Western market. In regards to that particular question, they deal with geographical and demographical differences between the two countries as well as efforts by big Japanese gaming companies to combat the negative image arcades got over time.

As there is more to it than that, I figure that this is a good opportunity to expound upon some points on the market from my own perspective. Just a warning that this has become a much more lengthy article than I intended but I hope it gives you some insight into the Western arcade scene.

I’m not saying this to be critical of the article, but to add to the discussion from what I know since I live and breath this stuff everyday and I hope I can improve the understanding of the market and why it is what it is. I am in the process of writing a book about this subject (that I don’t have a title for yet) and so you can consider this part of my treatise on the subject that believe it or not, I have a lot more to say about.  I have been an arcade operator for four years as of this June and I’ve been through a lot to keep my mall arcade afloat amongst varying circumstances in the economy, location, game selection, etc. So I think I have a good idea of the situation from a Western Arcade point-of-view, also having worked in a large arcade about 13 years ago. There are many readers here that are likewise in the operation business in the US, many with more experience than I have that can not only back me up on a few things but probably add to it as well.

I’ve done a little watching of people on Twitter who are responding to the Ars Technica article and several are saying it was “consoles” that have done arcades in here but that doesn’t address one problem – home game consoles also exist in Japan and everywhere else you happen to find arcades. It’s true that if there were no consoles then you would only get your gaming fix from arcades and it would be a different world but such is not the case. There is a very delicate balance to be had between consoles and arcades. I’ve seen console releases completely decimate sales on a game that had been arcade exclusive for a time (particularly with Super Street Fighter IV Arcade) but I’ve also seen console-to-arcade ports do fine, an example I own is Blazing Angels. I understand the sentiment that you can get games at greater depth at home and I participate in that market as well. You are going to play based upon what your pocket book allows you to do and there is a difference of values between the two sectors, although as game console prices, along with accessories and other upgrade requirements have gone up, the gap has closed although its hard to see. But what do you want to play? That answer has changed for me over time, as I have gotten older, I find myself playing arcade style games much more frequently than ever before.

But it’s important to remember that arcade games have shifted in response to changes brought on by consoles. They seek to reproduce a simulator experience that is unique in its own way. Many people forget that a lot of the control schemes you enjoy today with motion/gesture/body recognition/etc. have all been done in arcades in varying degrees, some of them over a decade before they were brought home. It has long served as a playground for innovative new ways to entertain yourself and that opportunity hasn’t changed.

Unfortunately I can’t fit the answer onto a bumper sticker but it boils down to this – its not the mere fact that people can play games at home that has damaged the Western arcade industry – it is the gaming culture itself that has changed over time as well.

I see this unfold frequently as I get to watch people play different games. Some are good at them, others are not. Some people practice at a game until they get good at it, others give up after they screw up once. There are many more people I have observed in the latter group than the former one. Every week I come across machines that people leave behind before their credit was even up because they gave up the moment the game didn’t read their mind and behave exactly the way they expect it to. This seems to happens most often with pinball, which is the least predictable game one can come across in the arcade.

Arcade games are not always easy and in our culture where punishment is light for dying in a game anymore – if you die in Call of Duty you just go back to the last checkpoint that wasn’t far behind and try over and over and over again until you get it right. In the game culture of the 80s, even home console games would only give you so many continues before it pretty much told you to start all over again. That could be frustrating as the games themselves changed into longer operas and it led to password, memory cards and other game saving methods. For the longest time however, if you wanted to see the ending of a game, you had to get good at it. Now, your hand is held and you are told how great you are at everything, here’s a trophy/achievement for finishing level 1. Watering things down to the casual game culture, which does enjoy arcade style games, has hurt things overall because fewer people seek a challenge. Of course this is all my opinion but I’m basing it off what I have observed from a good variety of player behavior over the years. There are still some games out there which deal out healthy doses of virtual punishment and there is a segment of players that they appeal to still. Get rid of the “Everyone’s a Winner all of the time” mentality and I think that people will seek out the challenge of the arcade in greater numbers but that is much easier said than done and I’m not really sure how you would even go about that on a massive scale. I remember playing baseball as a kid and we didn’t win any championship but for some reason they gave us a trophy. It was completely meaningless to me as I already knew that you wanted trophies for actually achieving something.  Last I checked, plenty of people still do that and that seems to cross over into interactive entertainment to a degree.  I suppose that the adults didn’t want us feeling bad for loosing but in my mind they should have approached it differently. Feeling bad can suck but its part of life and if you’re allowed to, you can take that negative experience and use it as fuel to do better next time. Being shielded from it just makes it that much worse when you have to perform in the real world and fail because you were unprepared anyways.

Let’s keep in mind that this culture change has affected arcades on more than one level. No I don’t completely care for the fact that the modern arcade industry is primarily dominated by racing/light-gun/dancing games but the reality is that people haven’t wanted to dump their money into other kinds of concepts for the most part. There are some exceptions here and there and that doesn’t mean that the right concept can’t come along and change the dynamic of what people prefer but in a tight economy safe concepts do well. Of course I will champion what we do get as there still can be great ideas that come to light even when in the safe category. But if we want to see a greater variety of video games on the arcade market, they have to make money otherwise they are very expensive and risky paperweights. Right now consumers spend most of their money in this business on instant prize redemption machines that you often find at malls. As such, those are the machines you are going to see more off until they are replaced by some other neat concept. I often read a criticism that Western arcades are terrible because they offer nothing but redemption. I’m no big fan of redemption but its a fact that in most cases it has made a lot more money than video and as such, that is what operators spend most of their money on.

At this point I would like to share with you some thoughts by ECM, he’s been in the game business for a long time which includes game journalism for a magazine you might have heard of called Gamefan. I shared with him some of my article and he brought up some points about gamer segments as well as the event behind the arcade:

The one thing that struck me, that I really hadn’t considered before, is that arcade gamers and console gamers are almost two completely separate species now. Whereas, upon a time (up until, say the mid-90s or so–basically at the advent of PS1/SS/N64), you had one, fairly monolithic, block of gamers but, reading this, it suddenly crystallizes for me that arcade gamers (if you can even call most of them gamers, in any meaningful sense) aren’t the same people playing God of War or COD. Only fighting games really have a little bit of crossover, but arcades, these days, seem to be places people go to as Disney World writ small.

In other words, it isn’t maybe so much about particular genres or games, it’s that arcades are a mini-event, like going out to dinner or a movie. And the people most likely to hit an arcade are not going to be the jaded, ‘hardcore’, teens-and-20-somethings because they’ve ‘seen it all’, so to speak. This, at least in part, probably explains the general success of D&B’s and Chuck E.  Cheese. It’s an event to hit one those places-: you have the ‘event’ setting–kid-oriented and adult-oriented–plus the games, which sort of set them apart from Applebee’s or McDonalds.”

To stop there for a moment, I have heard this idea expressed by more than one arcade developer before. At the time I was objecting to an increase in the number of console-to-arcade ports but it was impressed upon me that fewer people seek out the arcade for the latest game on the market and has become something where the thought-process is: “I’m out of the house, this looks cool as its a little different then what I have at home so I will play it”. Suffice it to say, I’ve come around to understanding that angle of the business. For now, the idea is to give people a big bang for their buck of their out-of-home experience. If they want to make coming back to the arcade frequently a weekly or daily event then that is great and it can happen. But often the idea in the current Western market is to capture whatever is out there of people who are already out and about.

Back to ECM:

I guess the point (if there is one) that I’m trying to make, is that you are indeed correct that Japanese arcade culture is *nothing* like Western arcade culture. Like, at all. (It’s probably even fair to say that even in the glory days of the 80s and 90s that they weren’t very similar.) But the problem that nobody seems to attack is that the console gamer is no longer the arcade gamer and, in many cases, vice-versa. They simply do not appeal to the same audiences.

(Remember, again: console gaming, by and large, is dominated by a hellishly niche audience that just happens to buy *tons* of games. That audience is not even remotely catered to–even in Japan–by amusement manufacturers anymore. So what you end up with is only maybe 50%, best-case, of a classic arcade crowd. This is *exactly* why I visit arcades so infrequently: I’m one of those game dorks that sees little reason to go if they aren’t at least offering certain genres that, upon a time, were run-of-the-mill. And I’m not arguing they should since, even if they did, it’s an uphill battle in a small market to sell those that don’t go on the idea that arcades are hip and cool again for the first time.)

I think it would be *extremely* interesting to see if the ‘event’ gamer (those that hit Chuck E. Cheese and D&B) what consoles they have at home. I’d almost guarantee that, in most cases, most of them have a Wii but may not actually have an HD box. (This is also, in part, because, as far as forms of entertainment go, arcades are reasonably cheap thrills next to things like the arm-breaking extortion of going to the movies, just like the Wii. Plus they both offer novel experiences, something that HD consoles are, generally, sorely lacking since they cater to males in their 20s ahead of *everyone* else.)”

(Thanks to ECM for his contribution here).

Likewise I would be interested in having that knowledge. It’s something I contemplate often and I make an assumption on when I watch people shake their guns to reload when the game is telling them in text and voice to shoot off-screen to reload instead. They are being trained to play games in a certain way that is different from the past and they are a different crowd then the hardcore gamer.

There is another part of the gaming culture is to blame and that would be the media that pushes what’s hot in games. Take a good look at some of the top gaming sites on the net: IGN or Gamespot are easy examples. They happily list all of the gaming categories they focus on, it’s a hold over from the game magazine days that would list on the cover which consoles they review to attract buyers. Notice that they do not have an Arcade section on those websites (which speaking of classic 90s game magazines was not always the case, many did have sections dedicated to arcade games that were eventually dropped). Just because the big guys never cover arcade news doesn’t mean that there is no development in arcades to speak of – this blog is a testament to that – but they choose not to cover that side of the industry unless it has some sort of console connection to it. What their reasons are for that, I do not know, I can only surmise that it has to do with no arcade companies advertise with those sites, and they can’t give away free copies of arcade cabinets for reviewers to have. I have written arcade articles for Hardcore Gamer Magazine when that was around and they were open to it but I got the sense that it was because they just liked games no matter what platform they are. Kevin Williams who contributes to this site all of the time has recently been creating content for EDGE Magazine but it sounds like it was not without some trouble. But anything else I have seen, such as GameInformer remains detached and un-informed about what goes on in the arcade industry. There is no media hype for any arcade game unless some really big movie or console license is attached to it and even then you might get one article about the game and they are done.

There are dozens of arcade games being worked on right now but this industry does not reveal what they are working on months in advance usually. They keep it under wraps until it’s pretty much ready to go, and that doesn’t work for the modern hype model. There are reasons they do that, which can be frustrating to the 24/7 news junkie but they are often necessary.

Recently it was unveiled that there was a new Big Buck Hunter game. That is arguably one of the highest profile arcade games out there in terms of units sold but how many mainstream game sites even acknowledged the existence of the game? If a high-profile modern arcade game has a hard time catching some attention, how much more something that hasn’t made a name for itself yet? Lack of coverage = lack of interest in the general public. The narrative for arcades is thus weak and not really positive. The most recent arcade opening most people probably heard about in the mainstream was the re-opening of Chinatown Fair. I don’t mean to knock CTF but that is not the only place in the US that has opened up recently, there have been numerous others that have done so this past year but you wouldn’t know it from a game magazine or or mainstream game site as they choose to ignore any others that have come along.

Of course this can be laid at the feet of our own industry to a degree, don’t get me wrong. Manufacturers are responsible for marketing their own products, operators responsible for marketing their own stores. But marketing takes money and there are certain realities to be dealt with there. I haven’t been able to spend a ton of money marketing my location as I have bills to pay that have to come first. Manufacturers generally are accustomed to marketing to operators and not so much the end player, which is something that has been “just the way it is” since the Golden Age. There have been improvements on both sides with the internet but we still have a way to go. Trade shows as put on by the AMOA or AAMA are nice but for the most part only arcade industry professionals bother with those. This is why I have stated in the past that more should be done to promote arcades at E3 when the gaming world is paying close attention to what is going on. There are arcade-related E3 events here and there and I would gladly setup an Arcade Heroes booth there but that’s another thing that takes money.

The point on this part is that what marketing there is for Western Arcades has been minimal and this has lead to the notion that they are dead. “No one ever reports about new arcade locations or new games so it must not be happening”. We live in a society where there is news coming out 24/7. If you don’t hear about something new in a category for a while, then you can easily slide into believing that nothing is happening there.

I do what I can through this site but our reach is much more limited unfortunately. If you have followed us for a while then you know that we do what we can to share recent game news as well as recent location news. I want to see the narrative shift on arcades but it is something that will take time and work. You can certainly help by sharing stories you find interesting through different social media channels and we will continue to work on those where we can.

A point I should get to is that Western Arcades have not disappeared to the level that they are accused of doing. Here’s one of my favorite links to use, the Aurcade Locations List. That is an incomplete list of locations in the US that is currently up to 1131 locations – incomplete as they rely on user submissions but it’s still an impressive list. Yes, not every location is stocked with every game you want and there are some places that don’t take care of their machines. Those places will eventually go out of business and perhaps will be replaced by someone else who wants to offer a service where the games work. That’s how the market works – some do it better than others and those that do typically thrive. At the end of the day if we want arcades to thrive, its up to us consumers to support our local arcades and make that happen. Play the games, spread the word, everyone benefits.

 

28 Comments »

  1. Arcades4ever April 4, 2012 at 7:16 am - Reply

    There was one coverage years ago of an arcade game that was tested at the time and that was mariokart arcade GP by Nintendo official magazine. I think it all comes down to influence by game journalists and anyone who has no clue about arcade game industry at all.
    All people like to do is point out saying the arcade scene is dead but yet they never mention of new arcades opening up or new games still being developed by arcade companies.
    To me arcades are just like any other leisure business, they’ll either make or break and it all comes down to good location, good selection of weel maintained games, friendly staff without bad attitudes, lots of up to date as well as contemporary games eg air hockey.and getting games that cannot be replicated at home at all. Another thing is that there are so many many good games on consoles and arcade games making it overcrowded a little but the advantage to an arcade game is hat you actually see a game in action e.g. I never played blazeblue but after spotting the game in casino london I really liked it.
    Going back to arcades are dead they’ve been saying that since the NES came out nearly 30 years ago and people have just been trying to find an excuse.
    Yet another reason for arcades been given a bad name is that many people view arcade games as gambling machines but yet they never accuse games like pinball, air hockey and pool/billiards as being gambling machines. I had this problem many times when I was with a teenage group the staffwouldn’t let us go on the machines because they viewed it as gambling.
    The one other good thing is that because there’s so many games people esecially the hardcore gamers will oftern pick games like call of duty over a game like tekken so the arcade would be a good alternative if they couldn’t have both games because they both cost too much and/or because they have too many games at home.
    Arcades have evolved over they years though even though they are a tiny bit behind due to hardware such as sega’s lets go island but another thing that arcade games could really benafit from is in game advertising just like on apple app games such as angry birds eg so a comercial while the game is loading the next level. Game consoles have learnt from what has made arcade games so sucessful so I see no reason why arcade games can’t learn a thing or 2 from game consoles

    • arcadehero April 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Interestingly enough, the gambling charge isn’t so serious here in the US. I live in one of two states where gambling is completely outlawed but we have many arcades here with sizable redemption centers that no one ever complains about. I know lawsuits are launched on occasion about redemption but they never go anywhere, much less on video.

  2. CJW April 4, 2012 at 7:17 am - Reply

    One thing you may be overlooking is the “gee-whiz” factor of video games (and arcade games in particular) back in the 80s. Computers were new and magical and high tech, and walking into an arcade often felt like walking onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, with all the blinking lights and colorful screens. It was all very new and futuristic. And especially for a nerd like me, that was a huge part of the appeal. Even games that kinda sucked could draw a crowd if they had impressive graphics. And video games in general were really novel – interacting with a TV!

    It’s not just that console technology has gotten better, it’s that games in general have become ubiquitous. Video games are *everywhere* – on home consoles, handheld consoles, computers, Facebook, on your phone. Entire generations have now grown up with computers and video games as commonplace as running water. So the idea of going to a dedicated venue just to play video games seems rather quaint.

    Personally, I *love* arcades, still to this day. But much of it has to do with nostalgia for the days when they were still new and amazing. When I walk into an arcade today, I no longer experience a sense of wonder at the marvels of modern technology. I think that alone is a huge contributing factor to the decline of the arcade industry, which often seems to be overlooked in discussions like this.

  3. Arcades4ever April 4, 2012 at 7:35 am - Reply

    I agree and don’t agree with you CJW? Yes video games are everywhere But alot of video games are really only suited to the arcade scene thuse making it more worth while e.g. Dead storm pirates is originally an arcade game but came out on the PS3 to only be panned by most game crittics so in other words games do better on certain platforms better than others eg legend of zelda adventure RPG is better at home and the time crisis and house of the dead series do much better in the arcade even though they’ve been release on consoles yet never manage to sell well over millions and millions like the call of duty series. There may not be many arcades BU arcade games have other homes not just limited to arcade places bowling alleys, cruise ships, airports, leisure parks, theme parks, dave and buster, chuck e cheese.
    The one thing game consoles don’t have is the attraction lightning on the cabinets that make it looks pretty and cool like casino lights in las vegas e.g colour changing lights on sonic and sega all stars racers and the led lightning on sega operation ghost.

    • CJW April 4, 2012 at 10:43 am - Reply

      You’re absolutely right about certain games being better suited to arcades and others being better suited to consoles. I’d also add PC games as a distinct category (games like the “Total War” series, and other strategy/simulation games).

      I am definitely an “arcade gamer” through and through. I almost exclusively play games that are arcade-style in nature. I have never played Call of Duty, nor do I have the slightest inclination to do so. The only console I own (or have ever owned) is an original XBox, and the only games I ever play on it are arcade conversions like Soul Calibur II. The rest of my home gaming consists of PC ports of arcade games (OutRun 2006, House of the Dead 1 – 3, Hydro Thunder, SF IV, VF2, Crazy Taxi, etc.) and various emulators of older arcade hardware (MAME, Daphne, Model 2, etc.). I even built my own arcade cabinet so I could enjoy these games the way they’re supposed to be played.

      And even though I can play these games for free at home (or on my laptop, or my PSP, or my phone, etc.) I still enjoy going to an arcade and playing these same games on their original cabinets from time to time. But the thing that primarily motivates me to do so is nostalgia for the environment and the feeling of awe that it *used to* inspire. But the average american kid who’s grown up surrounded by video games is not going to be drawn to arcades the way I am, not for just video games anyway, no matter how exclusive. That’s why arcades feature more and more redemption games. Most of them are mechanical in nature, making them truly different from the sort of entertainment you can get in the home. The prizes are just the icing on the cake that motivate the kids to keep on pumping quarters in to collect as many tickets as they can. But I don’t think they’d be as interested if all the redemption games were just video games that spewed tickets.

      I actually think pinball machines are overdue for a resurgence in popularity, specifically because of their mechanical gameplay and the fact that they’ve become somewhat rare – a lot of kids would find them pretty novel. Combine a pinball machine with ticket redemption, and you might just have the most popular machine in your venue!

  4. arcadehero April 4, 2012 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Thanks for the comments. I actually have got into those other factors in my book, I just didn’t want to blow the whole thing here 😀 But I agree, the newness of the video game has worn off and since arcades were the forefront of all that for a time, they were affected the most when that sheen wore off. But it doesn’t mean that the arcade can’t attract people to it still.

  5. ECM April 4, 2012 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Yeah, my ‘seen it all’ comment touches on precisely that, i.e. nothing new under the sun these days, particularly for the console gamer crowd. ‘Back in the day’ that teen and 20-something male crowd *was* the vast majority of the scene. (Though Japan is trying–and succeeding–with a heavy emphasis on networked games.)

    • arcadehero April 4, 2012 at 11:27 am - Reply

      The networked gaming thing is an important one that I will have to touch on in the book. I saw a peculiar situation take place with my arcade when I first started. We were in a crappy location and the only thing that really kept us going was our PC LAN. We had some very dedicated people that came in to play that. But we had such slow DSL internet that it was impossible to play online so people had to play over the LAN against each other. That ended up driving play greatly and amusingly enough, it was the arcade social effect occurring on PCs in an arcade. But as soon as we moved locations and got a high speed connection, that dried up as people stopped playing against each other and just played against Anonymous online. They then found that it was no different from playing at home and they stopped coming. Our PCs have been on a downward spiral ever since and I’ve put them up for sale now.

      • ECM April 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm - Reply

        Border Break!

  6. Ray Scarlet April 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    One thing I dislike about arcade games these days is that lately they’re trying to be as extravagant-looking as possible. Take a look at Razing Storm, for example. It comes with a nice big LCD screen and quite the sound system, and I’ve yet to see a smaller cabinet. As a result of games like these, arcades are forced to charge $1 a game, a fare that, as standard as it is these days, is quite expensive for a lot of folks who would rather pay once for a game and be done with it, DLC notwithstanding. This is where the whole problem of “bawww $1 per game” comes from.

    • arcadehero April 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Namco did release two versions of Razing Storm – the 60″ Super Deluxe and the 46″ deluxe. The latter was priced to be more competitive for Terminator but Namco did not keep it on the market very long as it came out quite a while after the SD version. Same kind of thing has happened on a few games – Deadstorm Pirates just recently got a standard version even though it was released in deluxe format a few years ago; they just barely came out with a 4th Terminator cabinet and Rambo had a few as well.

      Either way I think that the standard and deluxe versions of a game should be released as close as possible.

      • HeavyElectricity April 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm - Reply

        Interestingly, Sega took the opposite approach with GRID. The initial release was a standard twin cab, and the deluxe version came afterwards. But yes, standard versions should be easier to acquire – not every arcade can budget for huge cabs.

  7. Arcades4ever April 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I have some more to say but I’ll write tomorrow when I get home arcade hero as I need to be up early

  8. HeavyElectricity April 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Well done, this brings together a lot of important issues.

    Yes – home console players are generally no longer interested in becoming good at games. Some years ago you actually linked an article here that explained this perfectly: https://arcadeheroes.com/2007/07/17/arcade-culture-essay-at-insomniaac/

    The exception is with competitive players who must improve in order to hold their own online, which neatly explains why the fighting game community consistently tends to straddle both scenes. Unfortunately competitive console gaming is very niche, not least because of the antisocial reputation that online gaming has gained. (Ray Scarlet, if you’re reading: I know you don’t play fighting games, are interested in improving at games, and play both console and arcade games. You and every other Technika player I’ve known, oddly enough.)

    You’re also right in suggesting that the role of the arcade has changed. One particular developer I was speaking with at EAG was quick to point this out – dedicated arcades may be thin on the ground, but arcade games are alive in the cinema and the bowling alley as part of the experience. It’s not so common that they form the whole experience (in the UK, this is mostly in seaside towns). My university definitely had some dedicated time attackers on Sega Rally 3 and a hardcore Time Crisis 2/3 contingent, but the majority of players were just people who were already at the bar who wanted a way to compete with their friends. This has influenced its decision to cut the dedicated arcade room that used to exist and place games solely in the bar.

    At this point in time, I think it’s pretty ridiculous for anyone to talk about “console vs. arcade” because the two have so little in common. Because of the locations that arcade games now find themselves in and the role that they play, the customer profile is probably closer to the broad appeal of the smartphone game market than the relatively narrow console market. Arcade developers have to keep this in mind, while trying not to dilute the experience for the locations that do attract repeat customers. It’s a fine line to tread!

  9. editor April 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Let me try and spin the conversation in a different direction – rather than considering how amusement / arcade comes back – why not consider that the Digital Out-of-Home entertainment (DOE) scene should consider a totally new approach – such as seen with the simulators and pods?

    • ECM April 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      Speaking as a total game geek, I would *love* to see something like the old Battletech centers brought back in some fashion, and updated with as much modern tech as you could cram into a single pod, e.g. motion, hot and cold FX, 3D screens, appropriate controls with all manner of feedback, etc.

      The pragmatic side of me (I keep hitting it with a hammer, but it just won’t stay quiet) points out that it sounds really expensive, at least insofar as it applies to current operators. It almost sounds like something you’d start a brand-new business around. Which might be your point.

      I guess my question(s) would be: what are the costs and logistics of such an endeavor? Do you need a large space to slot in 16 pods (or w/e the number is)? Do you need games custom-designed for them? Can you re-purpose the pods/simulators easily to accommodate different genres (I’d think this would be very important)? Do you have/need a liquor license to make sure you make money? Etc.

      • ECM April 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm - Reply

        And the comments are eating my paragraph breaks XD

  10. Arcades4ever April 5, 2012 at 6:35 am - Reply

    Arcade games need to have alot of the features that many games have on consoles and handhelds such as facebook and twitter intergration with online leader boards and play.
    The people who say that arcades are dead also is hardcore players who very rarely go out but there is one thing which as a player that I don’t think is fair is paying to continue onto the next race even if you come first. It happens in many racers such as mario kart and maxitune series and yet you get to continue playing on a shooter like terminator salvation as long as your life is full and this is really unfair as most games cost a £1 per play and it’s alot really. I do believe that kids do enjoy going to arcades even now because of how the game looks inviting to the players with it’s attraction mode and flashing lights and that is something that cannot be done properly for a console game even with demo really because people need to find out about them and arcades are the best example. Like I said before if I hadn’t fond blazeblue in the arcade then I wouldn’t have brought it myself for my PS3. I would like to play blazeblue in the arcade though still because of the control setup with the classic joystick and buttons which is really how fighters really started out. To me arcades are like music and cinema, you can get music for your home and mp3 and rent videos to take home but you still go out of the home for the experience of seeing other people and competing with them.

  11. Arcades4ever April 5, 2012 at 6:45 am - Reply

    Another thing is that while many people have either smartphones or iphones which you can get games for the games might be cheap but only so many games are suited to them because of the onscreen buttons. One of my friends hates the onscreen buttons but I find that some games are great eg angry birds is ok though when your thumb gets sweaty it’s hard to swipe the screen as your thumb sticks BUT for arcade games is ever so fiddly, I was playing don pachie lite version on my ipod and I just find it really fiddly and for games like pacman to where you have to swipe.
    But going back to arcade games manufactures should create games in the arcade that weren’t possible back in the day and work on bringing some genres back that havn’t been in the west for many years e.g. a shump/or bullet hell game that uses touch screen trackball imput while also having the traditional joystick and standard 2 or 3 button layout making them contemporary

  12. pingdongpanda April 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    some arcades are seeming to do fine….
    Maybe people should open up more arcades, but with more rare japanese arcade games no ones ever played, that is, if they have the planning and money, of course.

  13. Arcades4ever April 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    You make a good point pingdongpanda if people got games that most arcades haven’t got that are exclusive then it would be good enough reason to visit different arcades that are near each other eg when I was at skegness there are lots of arcades that have popular games same as each other but some of them have games that other arcades didn’t have due to lack of space or location. But yeah they should deffinalty bring Japanese arcade games over here all over the world especially with how popular Japanese culture it with anime and manga and other related media eg hello kitty. Except just translate it a bit 🙂

  14. Arcades4ever April 9, 2012 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Another good thing about arcade games is that you’re not tied down to one location either being the persons bedroom or basement where ever and it gets the person to go out more with a change of scenary there refrshing your mind in a way in a way because I believe that staying in one location just playing games at home all the time can lead the person into being very hostile and be completly obessive with just staying on the console and/or pc for long periods of time. But of course it does depend on the individual as well. Hope that was good enough for your book arcadehero

  15. DAT April 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Game magazines used to report on the arcade scene a lot more because many big console games came from the arcades. Plus they tended to have much better graphics than can be produced by the consoles. Even though arcades machines can still be more powerful than 6-7 year old consoles, the public wouldn’t notice the difference as they did in the 8-bit days and prior.
    Here is a different take on how arcades can be more attractive:
    http://www.gearcade.com/index.php/8-articles/10-reviving-the-arcades

    • arcadehero April 10, 2012 at 7:20 am - Reply

      The point I’m trying to make is that it should not matter whether arcade games have any connection to consoles or not. Video game magazines and websites are there to supposedly cover all that goes on in gaming and they do for a good part, they will even cover games on mobile phones and indie games that have little financial backing. But one sector of gaming that they choose to ignore, even though it still rakes in billions a year is the arcade industry. I have come across a few who are willing to do so but it’s not many at all which is the sad thing.

      • DAT April 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm - Reply

        It would be ideal but journalists look for stories with the widest audience possible using their limited time and space to write. Many journalist cover indie games because it makes them look hip, but arcades haven’t been part of the zeitgeist in a long time. If you look at big sites such as neogaf, they hardly talk about arcades either so it’s not just journalist.

        If arcades ever get to a point again that they are so far ahead of consoles technically (not just graphics) that journalist feel like they are looking at the future of home entertainment like they did in the 80’s, they would write about it again. For instance, if you had a brain scanning arcade game that needed the big cabinet and could one day be scaled to console size, that would be a big story to cover. But it’s not the case today.

        • arcadehero April 11, 2012 at 7:31 am -

          There is a degree however that game journalists control what is talked about and thus what is considered interesting. If sites like NeoGAF don’t regularly talk about arcade titles its because there are no big sites driving that narrative for them to talk about in the first place. On occasion we’ve had some stories linked to here from that board but it’s usually one guy posting about something he finds most interesting. I have encountered with a good regularity people that had no idea about the existence of a game that has been out there until I brought it up.

          Dariusburst Another Chronicle is a good example. They can’t believe they hadn’t heard about it, it’s out there but media silence about it has been deafening, for a game that was created for gamers and is unique in a few of it’s own ways. When I ran a story about it being released in the US, I emailed several blogs about the news but only one place picked it up. The rest ignored it even though they had mentioned the Japanese version before. Dirty Drivin was similar – when the same development team did H2Overdrive quite a few outlets ran with our news on that (thanks to its ties to Hydro Thunder) but on their follow-up game, crickets. Big Buck HD is doing some great things with their online capabilities that are unusual for arcades and it’s one of the most popular arcade series out there but nothing on that either. Sega releases a sequel to the very popular GHOST Squad with Operation Ghost with a really cool gun that is far more interesting than any Wiimote accessory or PS3 accessory along with a unique LED targeting system and you wouldn’t know it. I understand that a lot of the time arcade titles like racers and light-gun games aren’t doing anything new but that isn’t any sort of requirement for games to be reported on in the rest of the industry, especially where you have Angry Birds or Call of Duty clones and classic game remakes ad nauseum.

        • arcadehero April 11, 2012 at 7:50 am -

          I should also add on that game journalists are so disconnected from the arcade industry that there are many instances where they get some things completely wrong on the rare occasion they do cover arcade titles or mention them in some way. I canceled my subscription to GameInformer over such a thing – they had some erroneous report about something on an arcade, I sent them a letter in response which they did publish in the next issue. But they edited it into a completely different letter making it sound like I brought up something else to cover their lack of research and interest in the subject. Had they made a mistake and fessed up to it is one thing, taking my criticism and twisting it into something else to make themselves look better, that is in another category all-together.

  16. Toby n April 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Hey, great article. When Funland (London) shut last year I wrote about what arcades meant to me & my friends. Arcades are a big deal to a lot of us who don’t necessarily play COD, MMO’s or games in general anymore. We used it as a social hangout. My arcades friends are completely different from my “regular” gaming friends. Even after Funland shut we still remain in contact as the arcade brought us all together.

    http://www.coin-opcommunity.co.uk/blog/2784-arcades-changed-my-life-rip-london-funland/

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