death of the video arcade

the video game arcade is finally dying after 25 years of existence the reasons for this are varying and has many things to point out from the arcade owners themselves

I mean there will still be a few here and there but for the most part there slowly dying off

the reasons on the arcade owners side is 1 it now costs to much to run one electricity wise the games are too expensive and 2 devious practices like one trick is they would get a new game put it on the hardest difficulty level and make it 50 cents a pop they would let the games get ran down and such

on the arcade game makers side they’ve found there’s more money making console games in fact some have gone out of the arcade business altogether like midway/Atari recently announced that some time this year they would cease making arcade games after 25 or more years

and the other problem is the consoles have surpassed the arcade games in graphics and playability it used to be you bought the home version of an arcade and it was a different game or totally inferior i.e. case in point Atari’s pac man

the other thing is there’s only 7 to 9 different genres of arcade games a
1 the fighting game i.e. mortal kombat any capcom game ect

2 the space ship.air plane shooting game u.n squadron… raiden

3 the beat em up or hack and slash game i.e. final fight aliens Vs predator
4 the gun games lethal enforcers operation wolf

5 the street rules sport games i.e. NFL blitz NBA jam ect

6 the puzzle game i.e. Tetris bust a move the endless anime maj jongg games

7 arcade sports mainly boxing and wrestling

8 racing games hang on SF rush and tons of others

9 the physical games like the ones where you ski dance stand on a skate board

oh yes and i forgot pinball games but the recent ones they’ve made are more like video games like the star wars and the star trek pinball game

in 10 years there’s been no new style of games
and the prices of the games themselves have made them obsolete according to the arcade owner here the time crisis 2 set up would costs 10 grand to buy and he was charging 75 cents to start to break even

and whit the onslaught of multiplayer games like everquest and the consoles getting started on the second generation of games it seems arcade games are fading into memory unless there’s a huge change in the games or a new killer game comes out r.i.p the old arcade

feel free to share your thoughts views

Sorry nightshadea, but you might want to proof-read your posts. A couple of errors are no problem, but you make spelling and or grammar errors in almost every single sentence. It’s a nightmare reading them.

ok, on to your post:
Arcade and console games have a very limited lifecycle. About 9 months I would say. This means the game must earn back development cost within this period for the game company to break even. Part of the attraction of arcade games over console games is that they offer superior realism in terms of graphics, sound effects, multi-player capabilities or hardware (bigger screen, force feedback, gimmicks such as an actual motorcycle in a motor sports game, or a cockpit that moves in a flight simulator). These benefits cost a lot of money (you mentioned 10g… sounds about right).
Consoles have equalled or overcome arcade games in some of these benefits in the last ten years (mainly graphics and sound) because hardware has become incredibly cheap.
The question is “do the benefits of arcade games outweigh the extra cost”. This depends mainly on the concept of the game. Some games were designed for arcades such as the ski and snowboard games, or the big-screen shoot-em ups. These, IMO will remain. Games that offer little added value such as the street fighter clones and platform games are disappearing. Just call it survival of the fittest.
Honestly it’s a good thing. Overall, the quality of games is improving.

As you mentioned, the styles of the arcade games have not really changed over the last 10 years. I think a lot of new games will be a crossover-style concept.

Here’s a column from one of my columnists on the topic, if anyone’s interested.

I was in an arcade recently, which is something I haven’t done in a long time, and I enjoyed a few games. I really liked a sniper game. The thing that was the most fun was holding a ‘rifle’ and looking through the ‘scope’. I don’t own a PS2 or any other home system. I don’t like the controlls. Oh well at least Skee Ball endures.

If you can, find the July issue of Games magazine - great article on Skee-Ball, both the old-style and the new machines.

First off, I’d like to say…
punctuate and capitalize, please.

Secondly, I’ve spent less than $10 in arcades this year. Normally, I’d drop a lot more than that. Since I bought a PlayStation a few years ago, I’ve become quite satisfied with that. And, with the growth of the “CD/Game exchange” types of stores, I don’t pay top dollar for games either. I just wait until they’ve been in the market for several months, then buy them used at a much lower cost.

wipes away a tear

I spent countless hours and way too much of my student loan moolah on pinball at a local arcade during my first year of grad school. sniffle

Those were the days. And it was less than 10 years ago, I might add.

Is it really neccesary to pick on his spelling and grammar? Are we grading now?

Anywho while it is true that i see a lot of “mom and pop” arcades dying off I also see a lot of gameworks and dave and busters i I think thats what it’s called) popping up

are they doing well? is it possible that their presence is the equivelant of blockbuster vs. independent video stores?

either way i would miss the fun of walking into an arcade with a friend and playing a few games of pinball. damn shame.

[sub]grammar and spelling errors made intentionally…so there:p[/sub]

If video arcades are dying, then why exactly are places like Jillian’s, and Dave and Buster’s, popping up all over?

They sure seem like hopped-up video arcades to me. Main differences: at this new wave of arcades, you can play pool and order alcoholic beverages. But the basic idea is the same.

The last time I was in an arcade, I pumped a few quarters into the re-release of Galaga. Ah, sweet, sweet Galaga.

As for the latest and greatest. Eh. I have a dreamcast and a pc so they have little appeal. Battlemech pods are fun, though, if the arcade you’re going to has 'em.

I was very much into the arcade scene in my youth, so much so that I built a MAME arcade cabinet so that I could play all of the classics again as they were meant to be played.

It is a dying scene now though, since most people are content to play on their console systems and PCs. In fact, the only real advantage that arcade games have now are the ability to have VERY cutomized controls. Puk had brought up the games that have snowboards, skis, etc. Look at Dance Dance Revolution when it first came out: it was HUGE, because it offered a game-playing experience that could not be duplicated at home. It’s the same with the racing games that feature an actual cockpit that you can sit down in.

You also have to look at it this way: Arcade game manufacturers don’t market their games toward gamers. Gamers are NOT their customers - arcade owners are. Therefore, the primary selling feature of any arcade game isn’t going to be gameplay, it’s how much money it can generate for the person buying it.

It used to be said that the very first time that you play a new game, you should be completely done within 30-45 seconds, and the average game time should be under 3 minutes or so. 10-20 years ago, this was simply the norm. You’d walk up, put a quarter in, play, die, and hopefully repeat the cycle. But most people now (the younger crowd, anyway) have been raised on console systems and PCs - more specifically, on RPG-type games where a single game can last for hours, days, or weeks. The concept of having “GAME OVER” appear in only a couple of minutes just doesn’t click, when they’ve been playing the same “Zelda” or “Final Fantasy” game for the past week straight.

A cousin of my wife’s just opened up a new arcade in the small town in which he lives. Its some new fan-dangled design that runs off of PCs to keep costs down… but damn, the games look sweet.

The neat thing is, he’s 18 or something and so far its a huge hit.

See youngin’s (and oldies :wink: ), it pays to take a chance sometimes.

pez, while I agree with you that there is no need to be Nazis about it, the OP’s lack of punctuation and capitalization made the post very difficult for me to read. That’s all that is being pointed out here. Not being as familiar with arcade games as some, I had to really work to figure out what was being said. I nearly didn’t finish reading it because of the difficulty.

However, I did finish and I agree with most of what he/she (?) said. (Sorry, nightshade, I don’t know if you’re male or female.) It makes me sad. I never hung out in arcades much, but I love pinball. Electronic versions are fun, and I have several “tables” on my PC at home, but there is no substitute for the real thing…sigh…

I loved arcades in the 1980’s. Now games are all the shoot 'em up variety or two player games where one guy tries to kick the other guy’s butt. I mean House of the Dead or whatever is fascinating to watch but all the player is doing is shooting at things incessantly. I remember when games where unusual and had some imagination like Joust, Donkey Kong, Gravitar, Dragon’s Lair, Frogger, BurgerTime, and so forth. Games where it’s not just shoot at a screen or try to kick someone’s butt. To me, the 1980’s were the Golden Age of arcade games.

By the way here is a pretty comprehensive list of arcade games:

The upside to the arcade-death-spiral is that all those old games have to go somewhere. In my town, they all go to Funtasticks, where pretty much every game you were paying a buck a pop for two years ago is a quarter now. Bring ten bucks, play great games for hours.

Sasquatch!, I just finished reading your Arcade Paradise 2 overview. That’s some project; I’m really impressed, both with your craftsmanship, and with the depth of your obsession.

Mind if I ask what the total cash outlay for that thing was? Now you’ve got me thinking about doing one…

Another thing that kinda sucks about arcade games these days is that the newer popular games from Japan - such as Dance Dance Revolution and my current favorite, the motion sensing Police 911 - are expensive as hell. A DDR machine supposedly costs $12,000!

Anyone been to the arcade at the boardwalk in Santa Cruz Ca., recently? Last time I was there (two years ago), the place was a treasure trove of old, classic arcade machines…

Centipede - Joust - Pacman - MRS. Pacman - Marble Madness - Star Wars (the old vector graphics game) - Tempest - Galaga - Asteroids - and, the holy grail of classic games - an actual, working, original cabinet, Space Invadors!

It was like taking a walk through my (mispent) youth!

Yes, we are. And you just earned a demerit for backtalking, young man!

As for the OP, I say “eh.” The arcade had been dying, off and on, for most of the last century. First it was the old Penny Arcades from the 19th century, then it was the pinball dens, now it’s the video arcade. Already, the next arcade craze is shaping up. PC Network arcades. Hook up a bunch of PCs together, get a bunch of copies of Diablo II, Baldur’s Gate, Unreal Tournament, etc. and rent out keyboards by the hour. In ten years, this will be as prevalent as the old video arcades of our collectivly misspent youths.

BTW, I remember when the best arcade in the Bay Area was on Fisherman’s Wharf. Haven’t been there in ten years or more. Anyone know if it is still open? Is it choked with Mortal Kombat Klones, or do they still have the classics?


I’m currently in the process of building my own MAME cabinet so maybe I can offer some info. The current cost run down for me so far is:

Lumber and pressboard

Cost: $100

Arcade buttons and joysticks from Happ Controls. It cost quite a bit since I’m making my upright a 4 player cabinet (a 2 player cabinet, obviously would cost a fair bit less)

Cost: $115

2 IPAC boards (for interfacing the buttons and joysticks to my PC)

Cost: $100

25" Television (I’m going to use a card with TVOut capabilities)

Cost: $250

New graphics card

Cost: $80

Miscellaneous materials (rollers for the bottom, hinges for a door on the back, magnets for hinges, 18" halogen lightbulb for the lighted marquee I’m going to install, new powerstrip and power cords, etc.)

Cost: $65

Black formica (I’ve decided to cover it in formica instead of painting it)

Cost: $85


Cost: Free (sorta… I have a fully built system with a celeron 400 that I hardly ever use)

Total Cost: $795

That is an awesome project, Grim_Beaker! I might have to try that myself.

My solution to the problem involved less carpentry, but more money: I recently bought a Tapper game! Couldn’t resist, as it was my favorite when I was a kid. I can’t believe I have this thing in my living room…

It is sad that arcades on the way out, but they’ve had it coming for a while. Most of the games of the past ten years have been drek. The games from the '80s are great because they are still very playable. They’ve lasted, and I consider them classic.