Summer is inching its way out the door but news about new locations opening their doors is not. This one is for those of you in the Atlanta, GA area, it’s called the Joystick Gamebar and they opened just a couple of weeks ago. In addition to serving adult beverages, they have some classic games on hand including: Space Invaders, Ms. Pac-Man, Rampage, Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, Galaga and more on their way. They already have a good following on Facebook and you can visit their principal website here, with directions in case you are in the general area and are looking for some entertainment. Judging from some of the pictures on their FB page, it looks like they have had a bit of fun in prepping the place to open, we wish them the best of luck in the endeavor!
The article I found out about this from came from a local writer who made a visit to the place and penned and article offering some thoughts on the recent “arcade resurgence” as it has been called. [See the Bitmob article here] They bring up another article by Ars Technica that has brought a lot of attention to the arcade scene that was previously ignored so hopefully many arcades out there are enjoying some help from that. That effect is exactly why I have adamantly opposed articles I have come across over the years where the writer has included “arcades are dead” as a part of their schtick. It’s not just irritating that they did not bother to do any research on that and whether it was truly a fact or not but that such a mentality works against the thousands of locations out there actively working in the business. That is something that any writer should take care to say before proclaiming anything dead, unless of course they are intentionally spreading misinformation. In that case they are just being scumbags.
One of the points that the article makes is looking to counter an argument put forth in the Ars Technica piece that talks about nostalgia. They point out the popularity of mobile games in the general market, particularly Angry Birds as being a type of game that has led people to seek out simpler experiences and be comfortable with arcades again.
One problem with a point that is made in the article is they seem to brush aside the contributions of simulator and rhythm games that became a big thing in the late 90s. These games really helped the industry thrive. They still can too. I recently added a Galaga which has done quite well for a 30 year old game. But it’s still not making anywhere near as much as any of my newer games are. If I was able to add a ReRave to my location (which seems to be the hottest rhythm game on the market currently, from what I see done in social media), I’m absolutely confident that it would earn more in a day that all of my classics could in a week. Probably even a month.
I’m not meaning to bad mouth classics at all but my experience so far has been that they are great to have but will not pull in the largest amount of dollars per machine. Some locations have no new games to speak of at all and with large numbers, they will do fine with a lot of classics and fans to support them. Alcohol or other food can certainly help too. Really if we want to get into what is going on with arcades these days, it’s much more complicated than saying “nostalgia”, “simplicity”, “mobile gaming” or whatever, but our space is often limited. That is one reason I have been writing a book about modern arcades, to offer my thoughts on that (which has been coming along but at the moment I am going through it to cut – having over 64,000 words made it a bit lengthy for a first book). When it comes to blog posts, it’s even better to summarize it down. I did contribute to that Ars Technica article and I still maintain that nostalgia is part of it but they could not carry all of my thoughts for the article since I tend to ramble on when it comes to this subject but I think that it’s important to remember that arcades never truly died. It is obvious that it did in the minds of many people but every year since Computer Space there have been new game releases, new locations opening their doors, and on occasion new companies jumping in to create more games. Just this weekend I had a new game brought into my place by a local operator, a factory fresh Big Buck HD. I have said it before, and it will be repeated but they would not develop new games for a market that does not exist. I think part of the problem has been that the arcade industry as a whole has not done a great job at marketing its own existence for a long time. Only recently is that changing with game companies and location businesses alike jumping on-board the internet bandwagon to take advantage of those bountiful opportunities which can be enjoyed. But even then we have some ways to go. Even brand new shiny games recently seen at the AAMA Gala are still shrouded in some level of mystery as opposed to being hyped up for players to get their hands on.
Anyhow, hopefully by the end of the year I can just say that I have already put down an awful lot of words on the subject so send a few bucks my way to read about it. I’ve been trying to refrain from constant shameless plugs about it but when it comes to the subject, I have plenty to say on it so I will leave it for now.