Wednesday, August 3, 2011

EPISODE 55: "What We Lost In The Fire"

UPDATE: As of 9/13/11 this video is now at THIS LINK

The OverThinker finally confronts PyroThinker - and, more importantly, confronts the decline of the American Arcade...



I've been wanting to do an Arcade-centric episode for a long time, and this finally gave me a good context through which to approach it. Incidentally, Episode 56 has already been shot and readied, I'll post a date as soon as I have one. For now, enjoy and remember to Tweet, Facebook etc. this if the mood so strikes you!

58 comments:

Jacob said...

Sounds like you want Yug to set up the Mana bar here in America. Good episode. I haven't heard anyone really talk about the arcades other than you and a little on extra credits (they brought it up for a point). They kinda are gone never really played one other than that X-men game that ate up all our quarters at the roller rink when I was like 5. They really are gone huh.

Kevin R. said...

You've gotten a lot better at integrating the storyline and "overthinking" elements, I'll give you that.

As for tonight's subject, well, that too was very interesting. Here in New Jersey, I know that a lot of the boardwalks on the Shore (yes, THAT Shore) have a couple of pure arcades on them, and that most of them are successful. Of course, those are also tourist destinations. There's also a place a few miles east of me in East Hanover called the Funplex that has a lot of new and old arcade games, though it's more of an indoor amusement park (complete with bumper cars, laser tag and MagiQuest) than anything. Also, every movie theater that I've ever been to seems to have an arcade inside of it, and many of them have new games (the one I usually go to has brand-new Mario Kart cabinets).

Axle said...

Hopefully the Mana Bar type thing becomes more common. I know there's something like that in Canada too. Seems like a pretty good evolution of the typical arcade.

There's one arcade near my family's beach house that I spent a huge amount of time when I was little, but last time I was in there a couple years ago and as much as I'd like to keep supporting arcades, I've noticed a lack of the sidescrolling beat-um-ups that I spent most my time on. I have very little nostalgia for light gun and racing games.

Good episode though.

Aiddon said...

Bob wanted that line to be in Warrior's Way sooooooo badly.

Anyway, I'm surprised you didn't actually comment on the differences between Japan and the West in this regard. In Japan arcades are STILL huge and it's where most fighting game money is still made for devs. The whole online seems more like something the West does and that's probably because of MASSIVE geographic differences.

Sir Laguna said...

Sadly, your "Ninjas, Daaaamn" was not nearly as cool as spoken in the "Way of The Warrior" trailer.

japaniard said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention any of the innate benefits of the arcades over home consoles. One of the most important reasons Arcades fell out of style by the time the nineties came around was that you didn't need expensive, stand-alone machines to play games with good graphics. The Atari 2600 didn't kill the arcade because it lacked the graphical capability, but once the N64 and PS2 came out, there was no reason to go out to an arcade for an experience you could have at home.

My favorite arcade game is still the one where you pull the helmet over your head to control a cannon, because that is an experience that home consoles cannot replicate. If arcades want to come back in any meaningful way in the US (they are still popular in Japan, where entertaining guests in your own home is not a popular option, partially due to small home sizes) arcades need to deliver something exclusive to expensive stand-alones.

Maybe they could take a page from Hollywood and Nintendo and give a 3D experience with advanced current-gen graphics (as opposed to the 3DS with it's limited graphical capability) since most people have not invested in 3D TVs and won't for some time. It they wanted to be really ambitious they could take it a step further and try to make a virtual/augmented reality game, but that is outside of the realm of economic feasibility.

Antonio Black said...

Excellent presentation as always Bob.
I used to have an Aladdin's Castle in my hometown. Yeah, an Aladdin's freaking Castle. It was amazing. It was where Soul Blade, Time Crisis, Cruisin' USA, Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, Mortal Kombat, Dance Dance Revolution, and other great arcade games from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s were housed for all to enjoy. It was, without a doubt one of the things that contributed to my strong interest in gaming.
After that place got emptied out, the only places to enjoy arcade games were the occasional machines at laundromats and Pizza Hut.
I know there's at least two or three arcades in the area I'm living in now, and I've yet to go check them out. Might as well take your message to heart and go there.

Vault Dweller said...

newer control schemes like kinect and wii motion plus, upgraded to higher accuracy and durability, seems like the perfect thing for arcade 2.0 coupled with bobs mem-card idea (or a magnetic strip card) could be big money and with gamers spending all their "W.O.W. time" basically exercising we can take our place as the smart AND athletically fit masters of the planet

evil laugh

ninja smoke

Joe said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Story complementing the "overthinking"! Fantastic. I'm really starting to like the new direction.

Damn, do I miss arcades. With each clip I was 10 years old again. But I did see Golden T at the pub this past weekend right next to Big Game Hunter, some crane prize-grab game and the jukebox, and some guy got up to play it.

And I agree with japaniard: the best cabinets I see at the movie theatre or Dave & Buster's are the ones with huge peripherals (Silent Scope, Time Crisis, Hang-On) or motion controls the consoles can't match yet (Tokyo Police 24/7 had Kinect-style full body motion years before XBox). But the old fighters and brawlers were the best local multiplayer experience hands down.

Unknown said...

Maybe its because I come from a generation before you bob, but I don't seem to have the same rose tinted memory of arcades. Yes there where those moments where you stood in front of the machine on your last quarter, just moments away from reaching a high score while your buddy stood next to you just willing with his own silent thoughts for you to beat it. The rush of putting in your initials on that screen. Knowing this was proof that YOU did it and no one could take that off the board unless they did better then you. However I also remember most arcades weren't the most respectable places, I can't think of a single one I went to that didn't have a middle or high school kid dealing drugs in the place. That half of them had billiards the next room over with open gambling. Yes, I agree that online multiplayer can never live up to playing versus someone within arms reach. I would just say that social component of gaming has evolved. Now a days a lot of people have a form of a gaming console in their house. Usually they'll take it out when they have a party or guests over, also there's Pax and lan parties Hell I just visited my nephew in his college dorm and they have a super smash league in his hall. Anyways first time caller long time listener, just respectfully disagree.

Quey Joh said...

I gotta ask: do arcades over there really just cost a quarter, or is that just an expression or throwback to a time when they did?

I ask because down here in Australia, you're lucky to find a game that costs just one dollar (most cost two) which makes playing them a rather expensive operation.

Also, I've seen the whole 'take your progress with you' idea implemented in some of the Japanese racers out there, although their names escape me right now.

Ralphael said...

Another great episode Bob, I would say that you have perfected the balance between story and over thinking.

Started to get goosebumps near the end where you told us to go to our arcades.

Thanks for another great episode

shadowzard said...

I skip the "in the last episode" bit, I skip the intro, and I skip the story.

Bob I'm addicted to your overthinking, I'm repelled by everything else. You talk about the golden days of arcades? I would just settle for the return of you rambling on for 10 minutes about revolutionary ideas that made sense.

Ian T. Campbell said...

Yeah, why didn't you mention anything about The Mana Bar? They're already one of the most successful venues in Brisbane and they're already expanding in Australia with future plans for venues in North America and Europe. Could THAT not be the new form of the arcade? Or are you just afraid of mentioning Yahtzee Croshaw exists?

vamast said...

hahaha, norway reference

sure u didnt jump the shark?

because i said hahaha doesnt mean i laugh at murder

vamast said...

that online arcadet hing is huge in japan, haha

look up border break. has a toyline

Yug said...

Loved the episode, I used to hang out in arcades all the time when I was younger.

That's the thing though, arcade games grew up into home consoles, and I grew up into a console player. Arcades never 'changed' over the years, they didn't adapt.

Of course, that's also the reason I started opening Mana Bars :)

Keep up the great vids!

Hawkeye In the Sky said...

At least you and I have the Willows Bob.

awwnuts07 said...

So sad. This episode hits pretty close to home since I'm part of the fighting game community. Just recently, Chinatown Fair in NY and Denjin Arcade in LA shut down. Luckily, the arcades I grew up with are tied to Golfland, so they're less likely to go out of business. I wish the arcade scene in the States was like the one in Asia. Sigh.

Cole said...

Game Overthinker I've Gotta say i'm enjoying your plot more and more Keep it up

Now onto the actual contents I support the idea of a phone swapping stat idea but that would mean everyone would need an iphone and that would be pretty hard to get

Avistew said...

For my first wedding (only one so far, but I'm divorcing so I might as well specify :P) We went to the arcades after the ceremony.
Well, we went to have lunch, then went to the Bowling alley, where we played a few games, then went to play a few games of pool, then finished at the arcade. It's all in the same building.
It was a lot of fun. This being said I've always been partial to the less videogamey stuff, and I usually stick to, say, table hockey (which they usually have in arcades too) or pinballs (which I really like). But I understand why you'd mourn the arcades.
The social aspect is nice, it exist for other types of entertainment and there is no reason for it to have to stop. Not sure about the whole cellphone thing, because I'd rather be able to play games without having to get a cellphone, but if they also offer some kind of card for your data as an alternative, I'd probably give it a try. I'm sure many of the "casual games" would fit right in as they don't require you to play hours on hand and they tend to be social.

Smashmatt202 said...

Did you really need framework to talk about the decline of arcades? Extra Credits talked about the decline of arcades, and they didn't need any framework.

Oh, any about using stories to differentiate yourself from Extra Credits and RevRant. You don't need that. You can differentiate yourself from them from HAVING A DIFFERENT OPINION! Or at least EXPRESSING YOUR OPINION IN A DIFFERENT WAY! It's clear that while you praise these guys as being great and such, you don't agree with everything they say. THAT'S what makes the Overthinker who he is; not having storylines and characters and stuff, but by thinking for himself and not being shy about expressing his own thoughts. That's what he was about. That's what he's always been about! That's who he was... And still is, behind all that nonsense in the way.

Anyway, was that a real demolished arcade near where you lived? My condolences.

See, here's what I'm talking about. You looked back with regret on arcades, but Extra Credits just used arcades as an example of the medium moving forward, since they were really talking about console gaming going down the same path.

Honestly, I can't quite sympathize with you on arcades because I remember going to arcades all the time, and only one or two games I remember playing fondly... specifically The Simpsons arcade game by Konami. That was the SHIT!

Later in my life, as a teenage-to-young adult, I've managed to catch glimpses of Pac-Man, Galaga, and even the original Donkey Kong, but I'm sorry, as a kid, I wasn't really as fond of arcades as you. The only one I recall going to, actually, was Chuck E. Cheese's, which was okay. In fact I remember going to my birthday to that place. They were fun times, but they were also kind of goofy...

But then again, I seem to have forgotten the funnest time I had at Chuck's. The time I played the Simpsons arcade game... with three other people I didn't know. It was one of the best times I had playing a game. Geez, how could I have forgotten?!

What's shocking about Angry Birds is that my MOM is playing it! And she knows next to NOTHING about video games! I found myself laughing at how strange it was hearing mom talking about Angry Birds with a friend of hers!

Say what you want about online play, it's NOT the same thing as playing against someone who's right there next to you. Some you can say "good game" to, or punch in the fact if they make a douchebag move, which is what EVERYONE does in online play!

Yeah, I remember the high score system. I remember how pointless it was to have high score systems in console games, since I was the only one who ever played those games.

Unfortunately, I don't know about any arcades near where I live. Sorry. :(

"Ninjas... DAMN!" What you wanted to be in that movie you were disappointed by... Also, that Pyrothinker's a bit off a goofball. At first he was relatively cool and intimidating, but now, he's kind of lame.

So the fight's the next episode? And it's a "normal" episode? What are you going to talk about then? Well, either way... pirates are better. :P

The Offender said...

I loved the arcade back in the day. Now I see one of the dieing arcades and I walk in and I see why. They are always filthy, with grease coating every joystick and button. They smell of sweat and vomit. If you want to bring them back, tell the owners to keep them clean, or at least less filthy.

Butcher's Boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Butcher's Boy said...

Good work and thank you.

Butcher's Boy

Subtle said...

I don't really care about the arcades. I'm a generation behind you, my first experience with a videogame was the SNES, and I was three or four at the time. When I was old enough to really be able to play at arcades, the PS and N64 were out, and I played them instead of going out and sucking at machines that teenagers were hogging and being good at anyway. I've never had a social aspect with gaming beyond friends in a room or jerks online, so the loss of arcades doesn't really affect me in any meaningful way.

Normally I agree somewhat with you, maybe not completely or just a little, but not this time, I'm almost completely apathetic to the arcade. If I had experienced them when they were big though, I probably would be feeling the same way. Of course, if they had been able to keep up with the times, I probably would've gone to one more often.

Pregnant Orc said...

I wouldn't blame the players for the death of arcades. They fell behind on every aspect of game evolution.
They fell behind consoles and computers in terms of variations on games, lost the advantage in audio and graphical power as well as keeping the "ops you died from something you couldn't foresee. Remember it on your next quarter" mentality.
Arcades as a social hub might still have worked despite older games but they where loud and many cabinets where often damaged by angry players (mainly young children). With problems like that it isn't strange that we took the social interaction somewhere quieter and the gaming to where it would work and people wouldn't bump into you while you played.

I do think you are on to something with the player card in your phone idea. But what I think would be the more likely step would be to ignore the cabinets. They break and create queues and get filthy. No need to place a game system in the cafe or where-ever. People already have those with them. Modern phones as well as tablet computers can often hook up to a cafes wi-fi and go online. What if everyone who was connected to the cafes wi-fi where considered friends on social site games such as Farmville. It might not be the old arcade player demographic but it would work I'd bet. Don't want to pester all your friends (again!) to help you on mafia wars? Go down to the cafe and have a coffee. Talk with the others playing Cafe world and get to know them.
While it seems very far from the old arcades I think its a plausible direction for the social aspect they had to go.

The Karlmmentary said...

Have you ever seen those multi-drunk game video game machines at bars. They are about the size of a PC and sit at one corner of the bar. Its simple stuff like puzzle games and whats different in these two picture type games. People usually play them together. Human interaction social gaming still exists, however diminished.

Lemonman said...

The (Canadian) city in which I live has a very strong asian demographic (clear majority) which has resulted in a very unique mix of cultures, one which has lots of arcades. We often have them mixed with karaoke bars, normal bars, LAN centres, pool/billiards centres, or any mix of multiples. Many machines do use the card system you mention, including a version of mario kart that puts your face on the character.

John "TH" Wells said...

I my local area [central Arkansas, specifically Little Rock], the death of the arcade has been largely assisted by the state and municipal government taxing them into oblivion. They were easy laws to pass in what is effectively a retirement state where for every arcade-generation 20-something that would vote such legislation down there are 20 retirement-aged men and women who see the extra tax revenue and the death of arcades where "those darned kids waste all their time" a win-win scenario.

Sadly, these laws have been on the books longer than I've been eligible to vote, and most who would consider the revival of the arcade a worthy-enough cause to rally behind would rather move to a more metropolitan area than fight a losing battle here.

All is not lost. A few enterprising businessmen have attempted opening gaming centers eschewing the traditional coin-op pay-per-play model for a local console based experience paid for by the hour or day.

vamast said...

the arcade industry is alive and well in japan

Ezenwa said...

Wow, Bob. 31 comments here, and only 2 of them take shots at the plot-driven setup. Looks like you've gotten much better in the eyes of your public. Although I never doubted you (hides death threat letters...lol).

I'm saddened by the death of the arcade, and that's where I got my first exposure to that of Street Fighter and fighting games in general. Who knows what the future truly holds?

Great vid, as always, Bob.

Beware Pyrothinker, you're dealing with a man that used a fire flower to destroy his nemesis. Don't play with fire, if you don't want to get burned.

Ezenwa said...

Speaking of extra Credits, their latest episode this week was another winner.

This week's topic:
Art is not the opposite of fun.

Check it out!

Smashmatt202 said...

@ Ezenwa

I think that's because most of them gave up on the Overthinker a while ago...

Aqua said...

Bob your running is hilarious to watch.

Lord Fluffy said...

Bob. i'm probably one to say that though i miss the arcade. it's not as much as other people.

i'm old enough to remember them. but i'm also not old enough to really have nostalgia about it. to be honest really, the fact that they're gone from where i live doesn't affect me as much as it does my two older brothers. but it's not like i don't love to have some good nostalgia burst when i find some of those machines.. hell last time me and a friend found a metal slug machine we blew 20 bucks on the dam thing cause we were having such a blast.

great episode as always bob. let's see you take down that pyro thinker

chaoticcranium said...

I guess others have said it, but I'm shocked Bob mentioned nothing about Japanese arcades. . .particularly given his penchant to inform us about aspects of Japanese gaming culture.

If you've ever complained that Japan gets all the great games. . .just visit one of these arcades, and that'll definitely put it in perspective for you. What I saw when I traveled to Japan were mutliple story megaliths of gaming, all over the place in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. And they're flooded with people, particularly bored high school and college students.

The typical structure of these arcades are as follows:

Basement: This where many of the fighting and racing games are, as well as classics from the '80s and '90s are. This will be the floor most American gamers will feel comfortable with.

1st floor: UFO catcher style crane games. You can play to win all sorts of otaku paraphernalia. I didn't see anyone winning much while I was there, but that sure didn't prevent people from clustering around players, waiting with tension to see if some guy will pick up that Mr. Saturn plushy.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v193/chaoticcranium/Japan%20Pictures%20-%20June%202010/IMG_1048.jpg?t=1312613381

2nd floor: A whole variety of rhythm/music based games. You may have heard of DDR and Taiko Drum Master. . .these are just the tip of the iceberg. They also have a huge variety of photo booths aimed at women.

But, then, the upper levels are where things get really different. You'll have things like this:

- Interactive tabletop games
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v193/chaoticcranium/Japan%20Pictures%20-%20June%202010/IMG_1053.jpg?t=1312613279

- Horse betting games with an actual miniature model horse tracks
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v193/chaoticcranium/Japan%20Pictures%20-%20June%202010/IMG_1055.jpg?t=1312613212

- Gundam combat games where you are fully encompassed in what can only be described as a gaming pod:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v193/chaoticcranium/Japan%20Pictures%20-%20June%202010/IMG_1063.jpg?t=1312613345

- And giant video-game themed prize games, like this:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v193/chaoticcranium/Japan%20Pictures%20-%20June%202010/IMG_1004.jpg?t=1312613480

That's just a taste of the things I saw. As you can see, arcades in Japan constantly evolving and coming up with new ways to entertain. So, it's not like the arcade itself as a medium isn't capable of adapting. . .


So, why can't we ever get cool things like that? The closest we have are Dave and Busters and Jillians, and those don't even remotely compare. Could it really just be the manufacturing, shipping, and localization challenges involved in bringing these machines state-side? Perhaps, but I think there's a deeper, cultural reason for it, and I think that's a shame.

toosoo said...

for arcades to survive there need to be two things to happen and i think one has there needs to be a big retro push witch there has been so that may bring some people into the arcade. secondly the arcade needs to give you something no home console can do it needs to sell the exsperiance more then anything else if you can play the game better at home then at an arcade

not to mention some arcade/console crossing could be good like giving you a code where you could unlock a reward on you console like an avatar clothes or some extra power or a special item

Halollet said...

I've already had to tell my 8 year old what an Arcade was. Trust me, that hurt.

ArchoNils said...

Am I the only one who doesn't give a shit about the pyrothinker? it's fine you added this stupid antithinker but please, please do not focus more on random characters than on the message you want to deliver. At the episode itself, I can't say much. I usually tend to agree with you, but I don't really care about Arcades, they never were big here in Switzerland. Also this entire episode was pure nostalgia. Why do we need some scores on some Arcade if we can actually compete against the entire world? And what's up with the image of gamers will suffer from it? This is the present time, just like a lot of couples find themself on dating websites instead of a loud disco. Welcome to the present where we don't have to be limited by the lack of technology

ArchoNils said...
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The Karligarchy said...

Did you ever play the FZero AX machines? You could bring your gamecube memory card and put it in the machine and use your cars and what not from FZero GX. Playing through the AX maps unlocked the maps and new parts and then saved them on your gamecube memory card. You could then bring it home and play the AX maps and use the new parts on the Gamecube and FZero GX. It was pretty sweet but once you got everything there wasn´t really a need to go back to the machine. Did anyone else play this?

Ketsuban said...

I'll be perfectly honest: I don't have any nostalgia for arcades, and I don't see what you think we're losing.

Any time I've gone near anything vaguely video-gamey it's been a bunch of DDR or DDR-clone machines, pinball tables and gambling games. Maybe once, I've seen a racing game where the gimmick is the seat is shaped like a car.

It's not the sort of thing that would get me to go anywhere regularly, because none of those games interest me in the slightest, and anything that does interest me is either on a handheld device or unavailable because the UK is happily banning anything that looks too much like a gun.

A gaming-specific club/bar thing might work; the main thing it'd need to offer would be a better Internet connection than I get at home. It's difficult to see how you could specifically tailor that towards a gaming crowd, since as is that's just an internet cafe.

Gaming has moved on. I don't see anyone pining for the days of Fred Ott's Sneeze, and I don't think anyone should be pining for the days of arcades either.

Unknown said...

Here in Japan, they already use the card idea for other games, mostly fighting and strategy games. Arcades also do pretty well, too, even if they're just mostly seen as kids' places outside of Akihabara. You can buy your card from the desk at the arcade or from a machine, and then you use that card every time you play the game. The difference is that you actually can't play the game without the card in most cases, but the cards are inexpensive, so it's no real big deal. They do the whole stat-tracking and leveling-up thing, and in certain cases, I believe you can even customize your character, and the settings will be saved on the card so you can use that customization at any seperate machine. They also have machines where you can use cards from the various card games popular among kids here to play over a network with other kids across the country and watch digitized versions of your creatures duke it out, much like in Yu-Gi-Oh. It's really kind of a shame that they don't bring that technology over to the West, as getting not just adult gamers, but kids into the arcades as well, is a big part of saving the arcade tradition. You've got to have games that will appeal to both child and adult audiences. At least, that's my opinion.

streetPoet007 said...
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streetPoet007 said...
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weojunglee said...

Short version: F*ck the Arcades.

Long version: I personally feel betrayed by Arcades when their prices went from one quarter (25 cents), to fifty cents, to a whole dollar, and then two whole dollars (eight quarters)! What the f*ck? Do they think we're rich or something?

I understand a new game being a little more to play then some of the older ones, but having to spend eight dollars to continue only four times on a Tekken Machine is just bullsh*t ridiculous. They can all burn for all I care.

F*ck the Arcades, f*ck the gaming industry as a whole; I refuse to be exploited by them anymore. I thinks it's about time they gave back to use for getting them where they are now.

The only company I know of that does this for it's consumers is Bethesda Softworks, all others can kiss my a**. Sorry Bob, but this time I have to side with the Sol Bad-Guy. >:(

EBsessed said...

Thank you for fixing your formula, Bob! This is BY FAR the best episode I've seen from you in a very long while. Liiitle bit of story with a LOOOOTTA bit of thinking and analyzing. THIS is how your show should run from this point forward! Wonderful job, I'm so happy to see you're listening to the fans while also sticking to your guns. :) Much respect for this episode, sir.

Mykayel said...

There is an Arcade next to my home, but I wouldn't spend money there because...well...it doesn't work with quarters, it works with special arcade coins that cost 2$ each, not thank you, I have a console.

Justin said...

Personally, I'm fond of the progression thing, wherein you take your various stats and whatnot from machine to machine. While I don't think that pure arcades are REALLY going to come back for some time, some of the most successful arcades I'VE seen include multiple attractions. Like the Main Event, which is primerally a bowling ally, but also includes a decently-sized arcade and a Laser Tag game.

Which reminds me...theres another game that has a similar 'saved data' feature. I forget what its called, but basically you get a horse and save it to a card. Every time you spend credits at the machine, you get one training session with the horse, then you get to put it in a race alongside whoever's there next to you at the 5+ person machine. Its EPIC.

I envision a similar premise, but with a 3D multiplayer brawler, connected by the phones you talked about earlier. Using the app, people would be able to customize their fighter, but only by bringing him or her to the virtual arena, could they earn experience, as well as better and rarer equipment.

Eh? Any takers?

Gilbmj said...

As much as you hit on for arcades being the fast vanishing social component to videogames, I'm going to say you DID miss a vital point, which more or less demands some open letter request to the people in charge of what's left of the arcade industry.

The arcades fell for much the same reason Nintendo did. (And at the same time too.) They acted like their relevance was a given, and took the consumers for granted.

Think back to the days when yo stopped going to the arcade as much. What were the games like? The prices went up, and the playtime reduced. It seems like the arcade responded to the competition of home consoles in the worst way: They tried to milk the customers they had left, driving them away.

While console games generally kept the same price per game each generation, the average game started asking about a dollar a play. While console games kept expanding in size, arcade games tried harder and harder to keep the player's stay short to free up the machine for the next player. Worst of all, I keep seeing Ms. Pac-man go for fifty cents. who's going to pay that per play when they can get the exact same at home?

I think we CAN revive the dedicated arcade, but it will have to rebuild from the roots up. We have to create demand, and that will take getting some attention from the potential market by moving back into walmart's lobby, until a new generation gets a taste of a smarter arcade industry, which by the grace of god I'll be part of.

We need to capitalize on the advantages the arcade can provide, and offer the players the value the players weren't getting from the arcades they left behind.

Can you envision a big-screen game with five seats on the backside, beckoning passers-by in the mall? Can you imagine a wall full of machines, ALL of which can play that new hottest game, or any of the others which with lesser technology would have needed to be moved out to make room?

Matthew Black said...

Another fantastic episode. You ask what needs to be asked and represent (and challenge) the feelings of countless young adults of the gaming generation. And the story has my intrigue.

My opinions are mixed when it comes to the arcades. I have fond memories of going to arcades every couple of months as a kid in the late 90's and very early 2000's. Finding strange and unfamiliar games was most of the appeal. But now thanks to download services and an expanding game library at home not many arcade cabinets are very interesting. Hell, I've always had the option of playing beat-em-ups and fighting games back on earlier consoles. Although, romping about the arcades with my siblings and cousins and friends was a rush that I treasured above typical home gameplay. I adored interactive play beyond simple joysticks and buttons, even though I was often the worst at those. I hated having to go home from the mysterious, cool arcade.

I go take the train to Coney Island about once a year to satisfy that arcade feeling. That colorful environment, those totally fun peripherals, and the vigor of other players makes it worth going to. But the novelty wears off, I usually regret giving away so many quarters, and get mad that I wasn't able to play as much as I wanted. It would not affect me much if arcades continued to die out. Light gun and wheel games that cost a whole dollar per life? Fun for a while, but I can get that on the Wii.

If arcades want to make a comeback they should do things that home consoles can't: huge screens, effect-laden booths, and massive, fine-tuned peripherals. They could also lower prices or be more generous about player death. I think that there might be potential for public places to extract the potential of interactive electronic entertainment that a home system could not. Maybe as motion tracking gets more sophisticated, virtual reality booths could be advanced enough to appeal over consoles or something like that. Or maybe I'm wrong.

As for Japan's arcades still thriving, it must be because they have a different culture when it comes to how to spend leisure time and where hardcore gamers like to play. The west isn't going to just become like that easily.

TheAgriPunk said...

Have you ever been to Jillian's Bob? My wife just started working there and I'm super stoked! It's a arcade/billiards gigantic place where you can get beer and bar food. It's kinda like an adult Chuck E Cheese's and the business there is actually really successful. Look it up sometime! If you're ever in Seattle, we'll go and I'll buy yah a beer! Seriously, hit it up on your way out of PAX!

counterpoint said...

hmmmm. very late to this party.

honestly, though, I can't really say I'm super into the idea of arcades. Never was a huge fan. sure they're part of history, but so is Atari, and I don't feel a need to spend money and time to preserve Atari either.

sorry.....

GentleBen said...

gizmodo.com/312751/panoramic-mecha-simulator-arcade-game-is-networked-awesome

what do you think of this? I see a lot of potential here for an experience that can only be found in an arcade.

Growing Lights said...

Really best episode. I am junkies of Arcade game. Even i have collected couple of Arcade games like X-men and Sega games.

yatesspain.blogspot.com said...

This won't actually have success, I think so.

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