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  #1  
Old 01-08-2013, 09:59 AM
LC Strawhouse LC Strawhouse is offline
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Why were coin operated arcade games so good so early?

Stand-up (coin operated) video arcade games looked, played and sounded great since the early 80s. At-home games couldn't achieve that quality for a good 20 years. Why was the quality of coin-operated games so difficult to replicate on other platforms for so long?

Last edited by LC Strawhouse; 01-08-2013 at 10:01 AM..
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2013, 10:09 AM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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Memory. Robotron: 2084 had 64k of processing power, the Atari 2600 had 4k. Took a while for the consoles to catch up, but the arcade games were evolving as well.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:10 AM
Airk Airk is online now
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There's no mystery here. Even "back in the day" a coin op cabinet would be incorporating hardware that was orders of magnitude more expensive than anything a manufacturer could HOPE to sell to the home market. People balked at paying $600 for a Playstation 3 in 2006. The idea of someone in 1982 spending $1000 for an arcade cabinet that would probably only play one game was completely out of the question. But it was entirely reasonable that an arcade doing decent business could get well more than the 4000 plays at 25 cents each that it would take to start turning a profit on that cabinet.

Eventually though, the forward march of technology meant that the difference between what you could build into an arcade cabinet for $2500 (or even more) was no longer appreciably more impressive to the average gamer than what you could get from a home console that cost $250. And of course there are other issues with arcades in the US as well (Though they continue to do okay in Japan for the moment.)

So it's not really a question of "at home games couldn't achieve that quality" so much as "at home games couldn't achieve that quality at a price point people were willing to pay." After all. You could have arcade perfect Neo Geo games for the low low price of $650 for the console and $300 per game in 1990. And you saw how well that went for them.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:18 AM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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One of the benefits of the crash in the mid-80s is that a lot of cabinets came up for sale, cheap. For $250 I bought an Asteroids, Gravitar, and Battlezone and had them delivered to my house.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:21 AM
Airk Airk is online now
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Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
One of the benefits of the crash in the mid-80s is that a lot of cabinets came up for sale, cheap. For $250 I bought an Asteroids, Gravitar, and Battlezone and had them delivered to my house.
But you'll note that "for cheap" is still 2.5 times the cost of an NES system during the same era.

It was all about price points.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:34 AM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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That was for all three games. Therefore, each game cost ~$85.00
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:47 AM
Airk Airk is online now
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That was for all three games. Therefore, each game cost ~$85.00
Oh, okay; Still, price competitive only in the short term, not available in stores, sold secondhand at a loss, takes up a lot of space, etc.

Simply put, it wasn't feaseable/cost effective to create a consumer product with 'arcade level' graphics until... eh, roughly the PS2/Dreamcast era.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:00 PM
LC Strawhouse LC Strawhouse is offline
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
There's no mystery here. Even "back in the day" a coin op cabinet would be incorporating hardware that was orders of magnitude more expensive than anything a manufacturer could HOPE to sell to the home market. People balked at paying $600 for a Playstation 3 in 2006. The idea of someone in 1982 spending $1000 for an arcade cabinet that would probably only play one game was completely out of the question. But it was entirely reasonable that an arcade doing decent business could get well more than the 4000 plays at 25 cents each that it would take to start turning a profit on that cabinet.

Eventually though, the forward march of technology meant that the difference between what you could build into an arcade cabinet for $2500 (or even more) was no longer appreciably more impressive to the average gamer than what you could get from a home console that cost $250. And of course there are other issues with arcades in the US as well (Though they continue to do okay in Japan for the moment.)

So it's not really a question of "at home games couldn't achieve that quality" so much as "at home games couldn't achieve that quality at a price point people were willing to pay." After all. You could have arcade perfect Neo Geo games for the low low price of $650 for the console and $300 per game in 1990. And you saw how well that went for them.
Thanks for the explanation. It seems rather odd that in 1983, arcade games could be so far ahead of technology used within government, businesses, universities, etc., and still look great today, but I guess that's showbiz...
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:09 PM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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Originally Posted by LC Strawhouse View Post
Thanks for the explanation. It seems rather odd that in 1983, arcade games could be so far ahead of technology used within government, businesses, universities, etc., and still look great today, but I guess that's showbiz...
Games are still like that, in a way. While obviously at the top tier of nuclear simulation, energy grid optimization, physics calculations etc beat games in terms of needed performance concerns, but a huge amount of the optimizations and innovations in various computing fields come out of gaming. Games often lag "behind" in programming language adoption due to performance concerns. Back when everyone was using C, game companies were sticking with assembly. When everyone(*) moved to managed languages, games are still using C and C++ codebases. It's really just now that you're starting to see a switch to things like C# in games -- and even then it's a very tentative, limited switch and the majority of the codebase is still in lower level languages.

The nature of games is that you need to do a lot of calculations on a relatively short schedule (to make it so that input and on-screen feedback is responsive). This necessarily causes games to be the things that require powerhouse computers and crazy optimizations to squeeze the most out of hardware if you want to stay ahead of the arms race.

* "Everyone" used rather loosely. I realize that a lot of places still use C and C++ to some degree.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:25 PM
Airk Airk is online now
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Originally Posted by LC Strawhouse View Post
Thanks for the explanation. It seems rather odd that in 1983, arcade games could be so far ahead of technology used within government, businesses, universities, etc., and still look great today, but I guess that's showbiz...
I could argue the "still look great today" point - you might want to go back and look at a few classic arcade titles, because a lot of them kinda look like crap nowadays, and of those that don't most of them look good in either a "Retro" (i.e. 'making allowances for age') way, or in an extremely stylized way.

Also, it's important to note that these cabinets absolutely were NOT "ahead of the technology used in government, businesses, universities, etc." in anything other than "putting colorful pixels on a screen". Many government organizations, businesses, universities, etc during this era were still using mainframes or minicomputers, which were both much more expensive than arcade cabinets and also much more powerful - but the focus wasn't on shiny output displays. Even microcomputers -could- easily rival or exceed the processing power of an arcade cabinet, but the arcade cabinet had specialized hardware for shiny graphics and interesting sound effects that would not have been present in equivalent "academic" or "business" use devices.

While Jragon is correct from a software side, the only hardware innovations games have historically driven are graphics units and to a lesser degree, RAM increases in personal computers. (I guess you could make a case for CPUs as well, but I would argue that would have happened anyway.)

Last edited by Airk; 01-08-2013 at 12:26 PM..
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  #11  
Old 01-08-2013, 02:41 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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I don't think it was until the NES era that the same actual units were used in both arcades and home machines. And, even then, those might have been legacy, as there was a lot of development in modifying the same system to run different games.
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  #12  
Old 01-09-2013, 05:46 AM
Mavic Chen Mavic Chen is offline
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Is it also to do with the idea that game boards in arcade machines were created with the aim of playing only one game very well, ie. dedicated hardware?

I know stuff like the NeoGeo or Naomi can play multiple titles but that's a relatively recent thing.

For example this site lists the relatively few games each board type could play.
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  #13  
Old 01-09-2013, 07:33 AM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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I thought the thread would be about how much more creative the early 80's games were. Shows what can happen when copycat and incremental game design principles aren't holding full sway.
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  #14  
Old 01-09-2013, 09:05 AM
Airk Airk is online now
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
I thought the thread would be about how much more creative the early 80's games were. Shows what can happen when copycat and incremental game design principles aren't holding full sway.
Because there was nothing to copy? As soon as there was anything established, clone games were popping up all over the place.

Also, BigT - the only time I am aware of that arcade parts and "home" console parts were ever the same was the Neo Geo, which was quite firmly the SNES Era.
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  #15  
Old 01-09-2013, 09:56 AM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by LC Strawhouse View Post
Stand-up (coin operated) video arcade games looked, played and sounded great since the early 80s. At-home games couldn't achieve that quality for a good 20 years. Why was the quality of coin-operated games so difficult to replicate on other platforms for so long?
Huh?

NES ports of Donkey Kong (1980/1983), Pac-Man (1980/1984), and others were only a few years behind the curve. Or look at the Street Fighter II/Mortal Kombat era fighters of the early 90s. The SNES ports were 90-95% of the way there and "arcade perfect" ports were both just a few years down the line.
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  #16  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:12 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is online now
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Another factor was, the arcade games had to be that good, right off the bat. They were competing with a well-established technology (pinball), and if the games weren't at least as entertaining at the same price point, people would continue to play the pinball machines instead.

Home electronic games, by comparison, were competing with board games and card games. Hell, single-player electronic games, which was most of the market, were competing with books and solitaire.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:42 AM
TATG TATG is offline
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Originally Posted by Mavic Chen View Post
Is it also to do with the idea that game boards in arcade machines were created with the aim of playing only one game very well, ie. dedicated hardware?

I know stuff like the NeoGeo or Naomi can play multiple titles but that's a relatively recent thing.

For example this site lists the relatively few games each board type could play.
This is a bit confusing as really old boards listed there have multiple titles to their name, so I'm not sure why you are saying this is a recent thing. But the dedicated hardware thing seems plausible, even in the case of multiple titles.
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Huh?

NES ports of Donkey Kong (1980/1983), Pac-Man (1980/1984), and others were only a few years behind the curve. Or look at the Street Fighter II/Mortal Kombat era fighters of the early 90s. The SNES ports were 90-95% of the way there and "arcade perfect" ports were both just a few years down the line.
Ports seem to have their own problems, just in virtue of being ports.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:20 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Ports seem to have their own problems, just in virtue of being ports.
Right. But it didn't take 20 years to match the awesome graphical prowess of Pac-Man on a home console (remember when we called them home consoles?). It took less than five years to get a "close enough" version.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:03 PM
TATG TATG is offline
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Right. But it didn't take 20 years to match the awesome graphical prowess of Pac-Man on a home console (remember when we called them home consoles?). It took less than five years to get a "close enough" version.
My point was intended to support your point. If we take the SF2 case, we have the first port within 2 years, well within the lifespan of the arcade machine being popular, and being done so with the disadvantages you get from being a port. The 20 year claim is just bizarre in any case.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:21 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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My point was intended to support your point. If we take the SF2 case, we have the first port within 2 years, well within the lifespan of the arcade machine being popular, and being done so with the disadvantages you get from being a port. The 20 year claim is just bizarre in any case.
Ah, my mistake.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:23 PM
LC Strawhouse LC Strawhouse is offline
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Originally Posted by TATG View Post
My point was intended to support your point. If we take the SF2 case, we have the first port within 2 years, well within the lifespan of the arcade machine being popular, and being done so with the disadvantages you get from being a port. The 20 year claim is just bizarre in any case.
I really do think it took a good 20 years to be able to expect coin-operated quality games on the PC or most other systems (and I lost interest in video games by the time that happened)

Let's take a random game:

Here's the arcade version - looks snappy, I'd give this a play now if it was in front of me

NES version - lousy
Amiga version - junk
PC version - piece of crap.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:27 PM
TATG TATG is offline
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Originally Posted by LC Strawhouse View Post
I really do think it took a good 20 years to be able to expect coin-operated quality games on the PC or most other systems (and I lost interest in video games by the time that happened)
Is the claim that consoles couldn't keep up with the state of the art in arcades for 20 years, or is the claim that there is a 20 year lag from arcade to console (e.g. 1980 in arcades is 2000 in consoles). To me your OP read like you were claiming the latter.

Last edited by TATG; 01-09-2013 at 05:27 PM..
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:46 PM
LC Strawhouse LC Strawhouse is offline
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Is the claim that consoles couldn't keep up with the state of the art in arcades for 20 years, or is the claim that there is a 20 year lag from arcade to console (e.g. 1980 in arcades is 2000 in consoles). To me your OP read like you were claiming the latter.
That is hard for me to answer specifically. I just meant there was a certain basic standard of quality to coin-operated games starting from the mid-80s (look, sound, smoothness, the whole package) which I just didn't see on home systems until around the early 2000s.

This could partly come from what Jragon said about the use of assembly language programming in coin-operated machines to optimize performance - that explanation made a lot of sense to me.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:02 PM
Great Antibob Great Antibob is online now
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This could partly come from what Jragon said about the use of assembly language programming in coin-operated machines to optimize performance - that explanation made a lot of sense to me.
Too complicated an answer to be the right one.

It definitely wasn't 20 years to catch up. It's that it wasn't worth catching up to 20 year old games.

By the time 1995 rolled around, it's not worth anybody's money to code Ms Pac-Man (1982) for the PlayStation or even the SNES or Genesis. The hardware could certainly handle it easily 10 years later, but there's no purpose to spending any resources on the effort. Certainly there were new games to port, but the hardware gap was even smaller by the 90s and even smaller now.

Ditto Double-Dragon. It's not worth releasing a version on a new home console 10 years later on a game that's no longer popular enough to recoup costs.

Last edited by Great Antibob; 01-09-2013 at 06:03 PM..
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  #25  
Old 01-09-2013, 06:44 PM
TATG TATG is offline
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Originally Posted by LC Strawhouse View Post
That is hard for me to answer specifically. I just meant there was a certain basic standard of quality to coin-operated games starting from the mid-80s (look, sound, smoothness, the whole package) which I just didn't see on home systems until around the early 2000s.
Then I'd look to compare the good to the good. If you compare random ports, it isn't a surprise the arcade would win out (these will be closer in year, and in general whatever a thing came out on originally has the advantage in an original vs port comparison). But what about comparing, say, Streets of Rage to Double Dragon. Or Super Mario World to Wonder Boy. Or the first Street Fighter to a good port of a later Street Fighter.
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  #26  
Old 01-09-2013, 07:45 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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I talked to an arcade owner as well as an arcade tech. The reason arcade games were so superior to home consoles for so long were the contacts used for the joystick. An 8 point contact cost around $100 and allowed for nearly superhuman feats such as the Zangief Super Piledriver.

However, it's greatest strength also became it's downfall. If one contact went bad, the game was unplayable. Then a tech had to be called it to replace it (repair was not an option.) The tech worked for like 90/hour, the contact cost like 20, after a while it just wasn't worth repairing anymore.

Today, I still can't get the same level of control through the USB joysticks, and the old serial joystick ports are hard to find. I still don't understand how someone who uses their thumbs believes they're actually doing well. I watched the SF2 world championships on xbox or something on youtube, and they all bring in regular joysticks, they never use thumbs.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:12 PM
TATG TATG is offline
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I talked to an arcade owner as well as an arcade tech. The reason arcade games were so superior to home consoles for so long were the contacts used for the joystick. An 8 point contact cost around $100 and allowed for nearly superhuman feats such as the Zangief Super Piledriver.
This would only apply to some games (to the extent that it does apply). Also note that a d-pad can distinguish 8 different inputs, so it is an issue about peripherals (when you ported the game you wouldn't need to change the controls.)
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Today, I still can't get the same level of control through the USB joysticks, and the old serial joystick ports are hard to find. I still don't understand how someone who uses their thumbs believes they're actually doing well. I watched the SF2 world championships on xbox or something on youtube, and they all bring in regular joysticks, they never use thumbs.
Snake Eyes won HD Remix at Evo with a gamepad using Zangief. Gamepads may be worse, but if they are it seems to me you've overstated the discrepancy.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:12 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Too complicated an answer to be the right one.

It definitely wasn't 20 years to catch up. It's that it wasn't worth catching up to 20 year old games.

By the time 1995 rolled around, it's not worth anybody's money to code Ms Pac-Man (1982) for the PlayStation or even the SNES or Genesis. The hardware could certainly handle it easily 10 years later, but there's no purpose to spending any resources on the effort. Certainly there were new games to port, but the hardware gap was even smaller by the 90s and even smaller now.

Ditto Double-Dragon. It's not worth releasing a version on a new home console 10 years later on a game that's no longer popular enough to recoup costs.
Heh. I've got several compilations of old arcade games for my PS2. Apparently several companies were able to make money from these compilations, because they came out with more than one anthology.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:42 AM
Airk Airk is online now
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
I talked to an arcade owner as well as an arcade tech. The reason arcade games were so superior to home consoles for so long were the contacts used for the joystick. An 8 point contact cost around $100 and allowed for nearly superhuman feats such as the Zangief Super Piledriver.
This is just bizarre on several levels. First off, I doubt the average arcade game player was seriously aware of the precision involved in the hardware - this was mass market entertainment back in the day and most people sucked at it.

Nextly, you can buy arcade cabinet joysticks (sans balltop and mounting screws and such - basically, the electronics and the moving parts) for like $25 nowadays. I dunno if they've taken a massive nosedive in cost or what, but $100 seems outrageous.

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Today, I still can't get the same level of control through the USB joysticks, and the old serial joystick ports are hard to find. I still don't understand how someone who uses their thumbs believes they're actually doing well. I watched the SF2 world championships on xbox or something on youtube, and they all bring in regular joysticks, they never use thumbs.
Yeah, and those "regular joysticks" they use? They're USB. There's nothing magic about the old serial ones. Several of the premier Street Fighter players in the world are sponsored by Madcatz and use their hardware, which is pretty much "arcade standard" - Sanwa parts and all that. But a number of very talented players use pads too - though usually not the Xbox 360 controller, which is nigh legendary for the terribleness of its D-pad.

As for the compilations Lynn Bodoni mentioned, those exist now because we've basically advanced so far that it costs a very small amount of money to port these games, which is why you can buy big compilations for $20. Fifteen years ago, it still wasn't worth the effort on the part of these developers.
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  #30  
Old 01-10-2013, 12:38 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by LC Strawhouse View Post
I really do think it took a good 20 years to be able to expect coin-operated quality games on the PC or most other systems (and I lost interest in video games by the time that happened)

Let's take a random game:

Here's the arcade version - looks snappy, I'd give this a play now if it was in front of me

NES version - lousy
Amiga version - junk
PC version - piece of crap.
Sir! I demand satisfaction!

While I never played the Amiga or PC versions of Double Dragon, the NES version was never meant to be a straight port of the arcade game. It was twice as long and included a level-up system not found in the arcades. As a translation, it was awesome.

That said, Double Dragon exists in that weird 8/16-bit valley that the SNES and Genesis were easily capable of surpassing.

Last edited by Justin_Bailey; 01-10-2013 at 12:38 PM..
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  #31  
Old 01-10-2013, 01:46 PM
Apocalypso Apocalypso is offline
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It was a race, pure and simple. Early video game consoles (and the first home computers) from the late 70's had limited memory and graphics due to the costs of manufacturing the units. Arcade machines were much more expensive dedicated machines that were able to feature superior graphics. The next wave of consoles (Atari 5200, Colecovision, etc) caught up with the arcades and had arcade-perfect - or nearly so - ports of popular games like Pac-Man, Galaxian, etc. The arcade machine manufacturers and arcade owners were worried people would stay at home and play their perfect ports on the console, so they came out with more powerful machines, and from there out it was a bit of a game of one-upmanship.

Don't forget, consoles had relatively long lifespans and were stuck with fixed hardware during their spans (which was designed at least a year or two before the console was released), while arcade manufacturers were able to constantly revise their machines with nearly every game to stay ahead. Part of the reason the Atari 2600 was so successful was they had a huge user base to sell games to (it had a very long lifespan), and a large part of the video game crash was because they had to transition to new hardware to keep up with the arcades. New hardware meant there weren't as many existing console owners to sell games to, and there were a lot of companies getting into the home video game market. Glut of games, many of them poorly made, plus the amount of consoles (I think there were around 10 different upcoming or newly released consoles coming out at one point in the early to mid-80's) led to fragmentation of the market and the crash.

After the crash (which hurt the console owners a lot more than the arcades), the race continued as before but with a smaller gap between the consoles and arcades. Consoles eventually narrowed the gap to the point where arcades used increasingly gimmicky hardware to stay ahead. The arcades eventually petered out partially because they couldn't keep up, and partially because in many communities arcades were seen as a bad influence (hangout for delinquents, concerns of drug/alcohol use at arcades) and pressured many arcade owners into shutting down.

Now, many arcade manufacturers (most notably Atari and Nintendo) were also console or console game manufacturers, so it wasn't entirely an "Us vs. Them situation, but arcades definitely wanted and pushed for games that you couldn't fully duplicate at home.

Last edited by Apocalypso; 01-10-2013 at 01:47 PM..
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  #32  
Old 01-10-2013, 09:21 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
This is just bizarre on several levels.
So I guess the arcade owner and repair tech I talked to were just pulling numbers out of their ass?

About ten years ago, there were a couple of manufacturers of 6 button arcade quality joysticks that started at 125$ and up. Probably that seems fictional from your perspective as well?

Last edited by Superhal; 01-10-2013 at 09:23 PM..
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  #33  
Old 01-11-2013, 09:08 AM
Airk Airk is online now
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
So I guess the arcade owner and repair tech I talked to were just pulling numbers out of their ass?

About ten years ago, there were a couple of manufacturers of 6 button arcade quality joysticks that started at 125$ and up. Probably that seems fictional from your perspective as well?
No, that's what a fully assembled stick costs (Usually close to $150). But that's a stick, balltop, case, 8 or 10 buttons, PCB, wiring, assembly, the whole nine yards, and that's at retail.

Buying just a replacement joystick to replace a bad contact for $100 ($100 1982 dollars, no less, which my handy inflation calculator tells had about the same buying power as $240 today.) does still sound absurd, yes.

Maybe they were just getting gouged by their supplier? Just because you work in a field doesn't necessarily mean you've got any business savvy. In fact, most people who ran arcades didn't seem to have much. Or maybe it's been 30 years since then and they don't remember perfectly. Who knows.

Anyone here do any work on cabinets back in the day? My experience with this stuff is relatively recent.

Last edited by Airk; 01-11-2013 at 09:09 AM..
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  #34  
Old 01-11-2013, 10:39 AM
harmonicamoon harmonicamoon is offline
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When I opened this thread, I thought it would be about the old pin ball games Ya know the ones with flippers, ball returns, and those bongie things. Those machines ate a bunch of my quarters and I enjoyed them immensely! I know they weren't real cerebral, but we had fun playing them. Anyone remember them? Don't mean to hi-jack the thread, but they were coin operated arcade games and they were so good!
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:55 AM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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When I opened this thread, I thought it would be about the old pin ball games Ya know the ones with flippers, ball returns, and those bongie things. Those machines ate a bunch of my quarters and I enjoyed them immensely! I know they weren't real cerebral, but we had fun playing them. Anyone remember them? Don't mean to hi-jack the thread, but they were coin operated arcade games and they were so good!
I love pinball. One of my lottery fantasies is to buy a really nice pinball machine for my house...

I know this is a pretty lame lottery fantasy (pinball machines aren't super expensive), but I can dream can't I?
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  #36  
Old 01-11-2013, 12:57 PM
Airk Airk is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Bailey View Post
I love pinball. One of my lottery fantasies is to buy a really nice pinball machine for my house...

I know this is a pretty lame lottery fantasy (pinball machines aren't super expensive), but I can dream can't I?
Maybe you should upgrade that to "buy a house big enough to have a pinball game room"
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  #37  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:04 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by airk View Post
no, that's what a fully assembled stick costs...
edit: Wow this is bullshit

Last edited by Superhal; 01-13-2013 at 06:05 PM..
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  #38  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:06 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
edit: Wow this is bullshit

Again, like i said, without the auto-caps and whatnot: I talked to:

1. An arcade owner, and
2. An arcade game tech

back in the 90's. If that's not an original source, I don't know what is.

Last edited by Superhal; 01-13-2013 at 06:08 PM..
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  #39  
Old 01-14-2013, 11:23 AM
Airk Airk is online now
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Again, like i said, without the auto-caps and whatnot: I talked to:

1. An arcade owner, and
2. An arcade game tech

back in the 90's. If that's not an original source, I don't know what is.
Firstly, the "no, that's what a fully assembled stick costs..." line you quoted was a direct reply to your "About ten years ago, there were a couple of manufacturers of 6 button arcade quality joysticks that started at 125$ and up. Probably that seems fictional from your perspective as well?" citing that, in fact, I agree with you there, so clearly, you're not following me well here.

Secondly, as I stated "original sources" that are people's memory and opinion are not 100% infallible. At any rate, the "Oh, arcade games were super superior because of their joysticks" comment seems completely off base for the reasons already stated.

Not sure why you're so offended by a dissenting opinion.
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  #40  
Old 01-14-2013, 03:44 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
Firstly, the "no, that's what a fully assembled stick costs..." line you quoted was a direct reply to your "About ten years ago, there were a couple of manufacturers of 6 button arcade quality joysticks that started at 125$ and up. Probably that seems fictional from your perspective as well?" citing that, in fact, I agree with you there, so clearly, you're not following me well here.

Secondly, as I stated "original sources" that are people's memory and opinion are not 100% infallible. At any rate, the "Oh, arcade games were super superior because of their joysticks" comment seems completely off base for the reasons already stated.

Not sure why you're so offended by a dissenting opinion.
Therefore, you are questioning my memory, not the facts?

Go ahead and cite ANY SOURCE, BETTER THAN MINE which contradicts my facts.

Last edited by Superhal; 01-14-2013 at 03:46 PM..
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  #41  
Old 01-14-2013, 04:23 PM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale/...ick-parts.html
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  #42  
Old 01-14-2013, 04:24 PM
Airk Airk is online now
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Therefore, you are questioning my memory, not the facts?
Actually, at this point I'm questioning your reading comprehension, since this is not the first thread in which you've completely misunderstood pretty straightforward assertions, but no, not your memory, theirs.

Quote:
Go ahead and cite ANY SOURCE, BETTER THAN MINE which contradicts my facts.
I've already provided some facts for pricing and the like on these things in the modern era. It is the reconciliation of those facts with your facts that is proving to be challenging, and your attitude is not helping.

But here. Here is what some honest arcade grade parts cost now:

http://www.focusattack.com/joystick/seimitsu/

Note that those are entire 'stick' assemblies, including balltop, gate, PCB, and so forth, and if you really just have a defective 'contact' (or, in this case, microswitch), all you need is is something like this.

Now, I'm fully prepared to suppose that joystick design was less modular back then, so maybe you needed to replace the whole thing, but it still seems difficult to reconcile a 6x cost reduction since 1995. These are stock parts we're talking about, not weird proprietary stuff like twinsticks or something. Also, truthfully, even back then, this stuff wasn't rocket science - I watched the work being done on more than one occasion and it's nothing someone with a basic understanding of electrical work (I'm not even going to call it "electronics", it's not like you're repairing circuit boards here) couldn't do, rather than pay an extra $90 to a tech.

That said, I'll have to do a little research to get the counterpoint you're probably looking for. I'll get back to you.
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  #43  
Old 01-14-2013, 07:17 PM
Apocalypso Apocalypso is offline
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According to Wiki,
"the best-selling arcade games of the golden age, Space Invaders and Pac-Man, had each sold over 360,000 and 400,000 cabinets, respectively, with each machine costing between $2000 and $3000 (specifically $2400 in Pac-Man's case).

So arcade machines in 1982 cost between $2000 and $3000, which doesn't say anything to how much a joystick cost, but doesn't make a $100 price seem that unreasonable, especially given the amount of revenue they generated. Again from Wiki: "The total revenue for the U.S. arcade video game industry in 1981 was estimated at more than $7 billion (which would be $17.53 billion in 2012), though some analysts estimated the real amount may have been much higher."
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  #44  
Old 01-15-2013, 02:35 AM
rogerbox rogerbox is offline
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Originally Posted by LC Strawhouse View Post
Stand-up (coin operated) video arcade games looked, played and sounded great since the early 80s. At-home games couldn't achieve that quality for a good 20 years. Why was the quality of coin-operated games so difficult to replicate on other platforms for so long?
Something no one has mentioned yet, arcade games used RGB video signals from nearly the beginning whereas home consoles (even some early PCs like Commodore 64 etc) used composite video signals. The difference between composite and RGB is pretty night and day if you see them side by side, no one would prefer playing the same game on composite.

This goes mainly for the USA, in Europe they had SCART tvs which had RGB in the 80's and 90's, but even home consoles in SCART RGB didn't always look as good as arcade boards did video quality wise, even not considering the processing power hit.

Now with widescreen HDTVs being used in arcades and homes alike, there's virtually no difference in graphics and picture quality between arcade and consoles.

Last edited by rogerbox; 01-15-2013 at 02:36 AM..
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  #45  
Old 01-15-2013, 02:42 AM
rogerbox rogerbox is offline
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
Because there was nothing to copy? As soon as there was anything established, clone games were popping up all over the place.

Also, BigT - the only time I am aware of that arcade parts and "home" console parts were ever the same was the Neo Geo, which was quite firmly the SNES Era.
There's a ton of arcade boards which are identical or nearly identical to home console hardware.

Dreamcast home console is identical to Naomi and roughly the same as Atomiswave.

Sega Genesis was basically Megaplay

Nintendo NES was Nintendo Vs system

Xbox 1 was a Chihiro board

Every Single Playstation system has had an identical system for the arcade made by Namco, and sometimes with more RAM.
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  #46  
Old 01-15-2013, 02:48 AM
rogerbox rogerbox is offline
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
I talked to an arcade owner as well as an arcade tech. The reason arcade games were so superior to home consoles for so long were the contacts used for the joystick. An 8 point contact cost around $100 and allowed for nearly superhuman feats such as the Zangief Super Piledriver.
Arcade controls can have specialty controllers you can't have at home, but a standard happ joystick for fighting games like the Happ Competition (the standard in the US) only has 4 actual switches and costs less than $20. Arcade ops always use that they can't afford to fix a broken button/stick as their excuse for why their machines don't work, which is funnily enough a huge part of the reason there is no such thing as an arcade anymore in the U.S. Japanese arcade ops actually care about their business and professionalism, which is why is one of the reasons an arcade is still a viable business in Japan and not here (along with population density helping quite a bit).

Quote:
However, it's greatest strength also became it's downfall. If one contact went bad, the game was unplayable. Then a tech had to be called it to replace it (repair was not an option.) The tech worked for like 90/hour, the contact cost like 20, after a while it just wasn't worth repairing anymore.
This is just bad information. If one switch on a happ competition stick went bad (the standard for all fighting games in the U.S. except for Marvel games which used Ultimate P360s), the switch itself costs around $2 and can be swapped out in ten minutes. If the arcade owner is too dumb to do basic maintenance like that, it's their fault they went out of business. Every single part of a competition stick is serviceable. ANYONE can do it and owning a business with hardware you KNOW has wear and tear that you don't know how to fix cheaply means you're a moron, case closed. Also I've never in my entire life heard of a tech making 90 dollars an hour, and I've known a lot of techs (HIRE ME for $40 I'm a STEAL! )

Last edited by rogerbox; 01-15-2013 at 02:50 AM..
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  #47  
Old 01-15-2013, 02:55 AM
rogerbox rogerbox is offline
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Originally Posted by TATG View Post
Snake Eyes won HD Remix at Evo with a gamepad using Zangief. Gamepads may be worse, but if they are it seems to me you've overstated the discrepancy.
HD Remix has intentionally easier inputs specifically so players using pads can have a hope of pulling off the moves.
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  #48  
Old 01-15-2013, 03:21 AM
rogerbox rogerbox is offline
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Therefore, you are questioning my memory, not the facts?

Go ahead and cite ANY SOURCE, BETTER THAN MINE which contradicts my facts.
Your memory might be right, your 'facts' are not facts. Standard arcade joysticks (not specialty sticks with motors etc) have never, EVER costed $100 each. From 1994:

Quote:
Go mail order. Happ Controls is based in Illinois, but has a San Jose
sales office. Good quality controls for decent prices. Joysticks run
about $11, buttons about $1.50 each. I've replaced the joysticks and
buttons on my two arcade machines with Happ equipment and built an arcade
style control panel for my Amiga as well. Couldn't be happier.

Call 'em for a catalog. Minimum order is something like $25, pretty
danged reasonable.

Happ Controls, Inc. Happ Controls, Inc.
West Coast Sales Office
106 Garlish Dr. 50 Airport Parkway
Elk Grove, IL 60007 San Jose, CA 95110
phone: 708-593-6130 phone: 408-437-7736
fax: 708-593-6137 fax: 408-437-4936

--
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  #49  
Old 01-15-2013, 03:56 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Quote:
Arcade ops always use that they can't afford to fix a broken button/stick as their excuse for why their machines don't work, which is funnily enough a huge part of the reason there is no such thing as an arcade anymore in the U.S. Japanese arcade ops actually care about their business and professionalism, which is why is one of the reasons an arcade is still a viable business in Japan and not here (along with population density helping quite a bit).
I think that the reason that arcades are dead or dying in the US is because I can buy an arcade game for a console for somewhere between $5 and $20. When I was going to arcades, I used to spend that much money on a single outing, and I didn't own a physical copy of the game! I have several anthologies of arcade games, and they cost me between $20 and $50. Some only have four or five games on them, some have a couple of dozen games.

Bottom line is, I quit going to arcades for more than one reason. First, for a while there, it seemed like all the arcades only had boxing or other sports games. I MIGHT drop a token or two in a golf or bowling game, if it looked interesting, but most sports sims leave me cold. I have no moral objection to fighting, it's just that I don't care for sports. Second, I don't particularly like having to deal with a bunch of kids crowded around me while I play. In some arcades, this was a real issue. Third, money issue, once I've purchased a console I can use it to play arcade games AND games where I can save my progress. Some of my favorite games require me to spend multiple hours playing them, which I couldn't do on an arcade game unless I had some sort of memory card or something that I'd take with me. Home consoles allow me far more options...and I can play at 3 AM, if I want to. The days of 24 hour arcades are over. I can pause my game and get a drink or go to the bathroom at home. Can't do that in an arcade. I can save my game and fix a meal, or even grab a nap. Again, can't do that in an arcade.

I enjoyed arcades. If I knew of a good one, I might even go once in a while, mostly to try out new games to buy. But the reason that arcades have died out is because people have other options now. Back then, the options were go to an arcade, or play a very primitive home console game.
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  #50  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:22 AM
rogerbox rogerbox is offline
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For sure, this is why I have the best of both worlds and own an arcade machine with a modded bios so I can pause, use cheats etc so I can get up and go get a drink without losing my game.

edit: Definitely not a MAME cab as I'm a purist, btw

Last edited by rogerbox; 01-15-2013 at 04:23 AM..
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