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Did home consoles kill the arcade?

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Did home consoles kill the arcade? Or was it something else.

 

Some people think yes, other say no. I clearly recall BITD having access to several contemporary consoles like the VCS, Intellivision, ColecoVision, and others - including computers like the Apple II, 400/800, and C64. And so we'll start here.

 

I remember all of us were big on comparing the arcade's graphics to what we had at home. And inevitably the arcade always won the contest. We used to think arcade cabs used exotic hardware from future and stuff like that. Stuff we would never ever see at home because of extraordinary cost ($$thousands$$). I always wondered why my Apple II with its hundreds of chips couldn't come close to an actual arcade cab. Soon enough I understood cabs used regular off-the-shelf hardware just wired up differently. 6809, 6502, Z80, 4116, 74LSxxx, 555, 2716.. and so on.. They could be wired for a set specific purpose.

 

The arcades had something we didn't have. The graphics, the sound. And that made the trek worth while. Make plans, figure out how to get a ride, set a time, save the money for tokens, and eventually get there! To a kid that's good anticipation, good excitement, especially in the 70's and early 80's on a hot summer day. What else you gonna do after spending the morning trying to start your .049 COX?

 

It was the presentation, the sounds, the graphics, the new games that enticed us to go through all that trouble. But sometime in the mid-late 80's 16-bit computers (and more advanced consoles) were coming out and we were seeing arcade-like graphics and sound at home for the first time. Despite that I didn't question if arcades offered the superior experience. But I did ask *why*. I mean we had the technology.

 

It was sometime in the early-mid 1990's that I got tired of the arcade ritual. Going to the arcade on a weekly basis was getting boring and turning into a task to be checked off. More and more I was actively searching for a reason to go.

 

Sometime IIRC it was in 1996 I thoroughly lost interest completely. It was a combination of the PC having more exciting games that were matching the arcades, the PC having more in-depth games, and consoles offering unsurpassed convenience and variety. And then there was the time and convenience factor that drew me away.

 

I submit that time and convenience was the biggest factor for many. And it remains true today.

 

Having said all that I had a stenciled sign saying "Arcade At Home" on my door. I think I still have that sign someplace!

 

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I think so because at some point in the 90s, home consoles stopped lagging noticeably behind arcade tech.   Didn't the Atari Games division actually license Atari Jaguar technology to use in arcade cabinets?  Also the style of game changed.   People wanted longer experiences, not the 3 lives and you're done experience of the arcade machines.

 

Also there were two "deaths" of the aracade as I recall.   One happened around the time of the videogame crash,   many recently-opened arcades disappeared then.   The other was when home-tech out-paced it.

 

There's been a rise in recent years of arcades in the style of "Dave and Busters",  but the machines are now glorified versions of mobile games or old arcade games reimagined.  

 

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From the consumer standpoint, as a kid who grew up into an adult... yeah, I always wanted my home console to be able to exactly replicate the powerful tech of the arcade machines. Eventually it finally did, plus like you mentioned, there were also a lot of options for deeper games that took longer to play through than just a typical 3-life arcade game. Ironically now that I'm even older, I've gained a renewed appreciation for those short bursts of arcade fun because, although my dream of deeply involving, world-sized games came true, I don't have enough time for them. And I can see the elegance and brilliance of a single-screen game design in a more appreciative and admiring way now.

 

From the operator's perspective (arcades and the myriad other places that once had a cabinet or a handful of cabinets... grocery stores, hotels, even the occasional doctor's office), the cabinets were huge and heavy and once most of the interest in a single title had subsided, they were a hassle to replace frequently. That's why there was always a push for cabinets that you could easily swap out the game, starting (I think) with Deco's system but maybe most successfully (in the West) realized with the Neo-Geo. But since there was an ongoing arms race in making more and more impressive technical showcases, those multi-systems were inevitably outpaced. Eventually the business model changed and the arcade segment now seems to believe that its only advantage is in control interfaces that would be impractical for the home... giant controls and other gimmicky control schemes that are fun for a brief play. There are certainly arcade game developers who would still like to explore the classic genres further but the arcade market doesn't have the income to support that style of game.

 

Those are just my layman's impressions of what happened.

 

Is there a way forward for arcades that isn't just a mobile game blown up huge with a giant joystick or some such? Maybe, but the industry has been infiltrated by gambling psychologists and shit, preying on psychological weaknesses because they lack joyful creative inspiration. I think one clue to how to proceed is in noticing that young kids are still engaged by old arcade games. They don't care that the graphics are outdated and in many cases they don't have the historical perspective to even understand that yet. It's just another style to them. They'll play something if it's fun.

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The NES dealt a crippling blow to arcades, whom were already on a nasty decline from the crash of 1983. By 1987 or so, there was a marked downturn for arcades. Where I lived, I had no less than seven or eight arcades and game rooms within a 30 minutes drive of me. I was hanging out at them all, I told the stories and experiences on my podcast. at the time of the crash, arcades were still doing good business, but it was slowly go on a downward trend that just kept getting steeper almost by the month. By 1989, all but three of the arcades and game rooms I grew up with were gone. By this time, the console wars had heated up tremendously, and people's attention were drawn to them, away from arcades. Add to that that most manufacturers were making games that were more designed to get quarters from you than providing great gameplay, and yeah, the writing was on the wall.

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48 minutes ago, Rendclaw said:

Add to that that most manufacturers were making games that were more designed to get quarters from you than providing great gameplay, and yeah, the writing was on the wall.

I think that was also happening in the late 70's and early 80's - but to a much lesser extent. I believe that that attitude was more prevalent among makers of clones AND those 3rd party companies which ported games from one home computer to another.

 

You can often recognize that state of affairs by seeing a game written by its original developer, and then someplace else (in description on the box or baggie insert or game's splash screen) see Atari or Apple version by so'n'so.

 

4 hours ago, Zoyous said:

Eventually the business model changed and the arcade segment now seems to believe that its only advantage is in control interfaces that would be impractical for the home... giant controls and other gimmicky control schemes that are fun for a brief play. There are certainly arcade game developers who would still like to explore the classic genres further but the arcade market doesn't have the income to support that style of game.

I never was attracted to those huge controls or ones that were totally unorthodox.

 

 

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Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:

From my point of view (someone who wasn't alive when arcades we're a thing), consoles, for the most part, we're made to replicate the arcade experience, with some little exclusive games here and there (we can see this mindset in early Pong Consoles). But for a while, only the gameplay could be successfully ported. So the arcades ruled until 1983 when they took a blow that permanently scarred them:

 

The Famicom.

 

The Famicom's original purpose was to have a system that could faithfully make 1:1 arcade ports (hell, originally Nintendo was going to use arcade PCB's so it would literally be a 1:1 replica). Older games looked nearly identical, and some even played better than the arcade version, and on top of that, you got original games that surpassed arcade games.

 

The arcades had a small comeback with 16-bit games but were quickly defeated since 16-bit systems were being released in from the mid-80s-the-early-90s. 

 

Arcades didn't get a "revival" until the fully 3D games were being made in the early 90s since a 16-bit system couldn't do 3D (without it looking bad), you'd have to go to the arcades to see the latest graphics (or get a NEO-GEO, but nobody had that kind of cash in the 90s!). But then the 32X, Saturn, and PS1 were released and for the most part, arcade games were perfectly ported to systems (either through emulation, or a recreating the game from the ground up). And the Dreamcast and PS2 just added cement to the grave of arcades, since now you could even faithfully port those HD games.

 

Now, arcade games are just PC games in a nice cabinet, and can be perfectly ported to any system.

 

(I probably just regurgitated what everyone else said, but I'm not gonna erase this).

 

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Home consoles - and micro/computers - have undeniably played a big part in arcades' demise, but it's never as singular a narrative as such questions imply. NES and micros were all the rage in 1985 and onwards but I was still going to the arcades to see cutting edge gfx even in the very late 90s.

 

I agree with zzip that gaming, and life-style changes were a huge factor. Nobody's going to play World Of Warcraft in the arcades, also gamers got older and lazier, and would rather lounge on sofas with beer than try to see if their favourite cabinet is free in some far away, often dingy locale.

 

They are not totally dead either. Still big in Japan and Asia, and there is plenty of hipster-ish reincarnations in the West, or big chain operations -  the fact we don't dig those "mobile" games doesn't mean others feel the same.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, youxia said:

Home consoles - and micro/computers - have undeniably played a big part in arcades' demise, but it's never as singular a narrative as such questions imply. NES and micros were all the rage in 1985 and onwards but I was still going to the arcades to see cutting edge gfx even in the very late 90s.

 

I agree with zzip that gaming, and life-style changes were a huge factor. Nobody's going to play World Of Warcraft in the arcades, also gamers got older and lazier, and would rather lounge on sofas with beer than try to see if their favourite cabinet is free in some far away, often dingy locale.

 

They are not totally dead either. Still big in Japan and Asia, and there is plenty of hipster-ish reincarnations in the West, or big chain operations -  the fact we don't dig those "mobile" games doesn't mean others feel the same.

 

 

This. 

 

Even when i bought my Mega Drive and magazines were trying to make out titles like Strider and Golden Axe were Arcade Petfect, i still visited the Arcades. 

 

The 16-bit consoles came closer to replicating the Arcade versions than the ST or Amiga, but the cutting edge hardware was always found in the Arcades. 

 

Sega and Namco with pioneering polygon 3D hardware a prime example. 

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Did home consoles kill the arcade?: No.

 

...Time did.

However if home gaming didn't exist... The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Cat GIF by MOODMANI need more quarters!!!! 💯🤑

 

Edited by JacobZu7zu7

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In the pre-Crash days, there was no way the 2600 could ever match the graphical abilities of arcade games.  Gameplay was about the same so it was more of a "practice session" untill you did get to the arcade to play the real thing.  ColecoVision & Atari 5200 ports got much closer to the graphical styles but they were expensive and didn't last long on the market.

 

As far as the NES goes, it's not fair to say it replaced arcade games because the experience with both was as different as night & day.  Arcade games in the mid-to-late 80's had far better graphics but the gameplay was so repetitive.  The NES OTOH was never meant to be a graphical powerhouse but had more involved gameplay that lasted for hours.  That's why instead of 'ports' the NES had gaiden style games that were sort of like sequels (ie. Rygar).

 

The 16-bit generation went back to arcade ports but the consoles and home comptuers were still short of the mark.

 

With the Playstation and later Dreamcast the consoles were able to match the 3D capabilities of arcades in the later half of the 90's to the point of arcade games now having console hardware inside!  Add the capability of online gaming to the mix in the 2000's and there pretty was not much reason to hang out at arcades unless you wanted to play DDR.  And even all the classic coin-op games became playable on any PC...

 

(I can't comment about existing game rooms with the giant mobile phones, last time I've played any arcade stuff was at a movie theater a few years ago with the Raw Thrills titles)

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/16/2020 at 4:53 AM, Magmavision2000 said:

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:

From my point of view (someone who wasn't alive when arcades we're a thing), consoles, for the most part, we're made to replicate the arcade experience, with some little exclusive games here and there (we can see this mindset in early Pong Consoles). But for a while, only the gameplay could be successfully ported. So the arcades ruled until 1983 when they took a blow that permanently scarred them:

 

The Famicom

I don't think it was the Famicom/NES, at least not in North America, because by the time it arrived here, the arcades were full of 16-bit games.  Arcades did have a resurgence in the late 80s after the crash

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I tell people who weren't there at the time, if you want to understand how many arcades there used to be... look around and anywhere you see a vape shop these days, there would have been an arcade there. 😄 And it was a similar type of business with a low barrier to entry that could have been very elaborate and had nice interior design, or it could have been run by someone somewhat incompetent and been the most bare-bones strip mall space. It's a tough business model if you're depending on quarters and your broadest appeal is with children. Maybe if they had shifted to the model that many places use these days, where you pay an admission fee and the machines are on free play, that would have kept them going longer.

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I'll dispute this by saying that the premise is all wrong ;) That premise being that "arcades are dead."

 

Yes, it is true that they have not achieved the same bubble status that they did in 1982, but I've never been sure why that was considered the lowest denominator for what constitutes "alive." Granted, I have a horse in this race - I'm writing this from my arcade that I started 12 years ago and we've been surviving, even during the pandemic. Things haven't been great, but I've found a way to scrape by.

 

Eugene Jarvis said last year that arcades had been at their strongest he'd seen them since the '90s (this was in a personal conversation I had with him at IAAPA 2019). I agreed with that assessment as 2018 & 2019 were record years for me. But I also pay close attention to developments within the industry - going into this year, we were seeing an explosion of new locations - bar/arcades, retrocades, but mostly "FECs" (Family Entertainment Centers)...places like Dave & Busters. Growth was so strong in the FEC market that even Allegiant Airlines decided that they would jump into the business. These locations are nothing to snub or wave away - a Chuck E. Cheeses costs around $2-3 million to setup; Dave & Busters and similar clones are $10-$15m. Investments like that don't happen in a "dead" industry. 

 

We also have seen new games being released every year since 1971. It is true that we do not see quite as many new games released to the market annually as we did during the Golden Age, but we still do get 20-30 new games a year (more if you count JP releases). The big problem is that mainstream gaming media (IGN, Kotaku, etc.) rarely mention new arcade games. They will if it has a giant name attached to it like Mario Kart or Tomb Raider. They ignore the rest, so most people don't hear about these games unless they stumble across one at a D&B (and they don't grab every brand new game either).

 

 

Still, companies are spending millions of dollars on developing new games. Raw Thrills has previously published (in the now defunct Game Developer Magazine) that they spend on average of $4 million per new game. Sega has told me that they spend roughly that much, sometimes less. That's another thing that just wouldn't happen in a dead space ;)

 

Have consoles had a negative effect on what happens with arcades? Yes. I once purchased a $10k kit (computer+artwork, I had to supply the cabinet) for Capcom's Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. It took four months to arrive, where Capcom changed their minds from keeping that arcade exclusive to wanting to release it on consoles. When it finally arrived, I got a month and half with it as an exclusive. In that time, it recouped a little over $2k...which was pretty crazy for me then. I had giant groups of players in my store in the middle of the week for opening. They setup their own tournaments and played the game almost non-stop from open to close. Then the game becamse available on the Xbox 360. Overnight that crowd evaporated for the most part. I had to drop the charge from 75¢ to 25¢ a play. Then the board had issues, it was out for a bit, but when I got it back, my Super Street Fighter II did better than IV did. I never recouped the full investment, and I can blame that entirely the console port. (Photo is from the day I got the kit, hadn't changed the marquee yet)

No photo description available.

 

As to the slumps that the industry has been through, there have been three major crashes for the arcade industry. This has affected how many games are made, as well as locations that are still open, along with public perceptions about the biz. Factors behind each crash are more nuanced than just "consoles did it" though.

 

1) 1983, the one we all know and "love." I think that the lack of quality games on the home side did impact arcades, but there was some schlock that arcades put out too. I really see this as being a bubble, and the market corrected itself. But it's not telling the whole story to just claim it was E.T. You had a ton of console and PC options on the market then, not just three. You had a lot of people jumping into the arcade business that had no clue as to what they were doing, buying up crappy clone games and pushing them out there, then ending up losing money because people didn't want to play bad hacks of Space Invaders. By 1984 though, things had bounced back as Japanese devs picked up a lot of slack with martial art games, but Atari also had stuff like Gauntlet in '85 that did well. You also had the problem of some towns/cities putting on heavy fees & regulations on arcades so they could get a piece of the action. Some places still have these fees in place (where the op has to pay so much per quarter or year to the local gov. just for having a certain machine). Fewer places even banned the games, but that didn't help. Also, a lot of people forget that near the end of 1982, there was an economic recession in the US. When unemployment hit over 10%, that meant less ability or desire to go out and spend money on fun.  

2) 2001-2004. The 90s did received some big boosts from releases like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Daytona USA and DDR; that's also when pinball hit it's height with stuff like The Addams Family. But consoles were catching up in power, and some companies found it easier to turn a profit by releasing ports of hit games to the PSX, so they shifted their dev dollars there. As mentioned, arcade ports really do hurt locations that have the ported game, especially if the home version is the same or has more content, or the arcade version doesn't have some unique control scheme about it. The Dreamcast is the last system I can recall receiving a lot of contemporary ports, but once again, that didn't help arcades bring people in.

One thing that also triggered this was that certain arcade devs just didn't create the best hits to help keep themselves afloat. Atari Games' last big hit was Area 51, but that was 1995. Midway had done well with things like Hydro Thunder, but they had lost the magic that had given them mega-hits like NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat (not to mention that those also received ports). All companies had discovered that circa '97 or so, a lot of players had become a little bored of 1v1 fighting games, but it was a real challenge to figure out that next genre shattering hit. As such, most Japanese companies just focused on Asian markets, American devs closed or went chasing after consoles. But that didn't work out so well for Midway, which declared bankruptcy by 2009. 

3) 2020. Pretty obvious what has caused the slump this time, that being The Virus of the Century. Earnings have been down a good 50-70% depending on the month; many places have had to close due to government orders and some are still closed because of this. I don't know exactly what the biz will look like when the dust finally settles, but will there still be an industry around? Yes. To that fact, I'll properly quote Eugene Jarvis from the latest issue of Replay Magazine: "It's time for us to roll up our sleeves, and double and triple our efforts to bring the arcades back! Creating player excitement is going to be the key, and new attractions and new games will bring the players back!" Jarvis also mentioned the company is increasing funding for R&D since novelty and excitement are the lifeblood of the industry.

 

Here are a couple more pics from my arcade when it's been busy. When I see stuff like this, I just can't agree that things are dead :)

 

From 2017:

 

No photo description available.

 

From this year:

0523201506_Film2.thumb.jpg.e53bb3ec2c7d863ae8af57ba04cf41cd.jpg

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On 8/18/2020 at 7:38 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

Yes, it is true that they have not achieved the same bubble status that they did in 1982, but I've never been sure why that was considered the lowest denominator for what constitutes "alive." Granted, I have a horse in this race - I'm writing this from my arcade that I started 12 years ago and we've been surviving, even during the pandemic. Things haven't been great, but I've found a way to scrape by.

I did mention the "modern arcade" in my response.   But in my teens,  there were two strip malls with arcades and a pizza shop with game room within walking distance, plus several supermarkets, laundromats convenience stores, etc that had one or more games.   Nowadays it's a 20-30 minute drive to Dave and Busters or the Beach to find something resembling the arcades of old.   Even though it's obvious that there has been growth in recent years, they are still 'dead' compared to what they used to be.

 

On 8/18/2020 at 7:38 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

the one we all know and "love." I think that the lack of quality games on the home side did impact arcades, but there was some schlock that arcades put out too. I really see this as being a bubble, and the market corrected itself. But it's not telling the whole story to just claim it was E.T. You had a ton of console and PC options on the market then, not just three

Yeah the ET story is ridiculous,  why would Colecovision/Intellivision owners stop buying games just because Atari put out a bad game?  

 

But also lack of quality of home games should have caused more people to go to the arcades to find better games not less.  I think the real cause of the crash was that Pacman created a bubble, and the crash was the popping of the bubble.  After Pacman, virtually all the kids in school were crazy about videogames, it dominated our conversations.  But then around 83,  MTV became the cool thing..  the other kids talked about Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, etc,  and virtually no talk about videogames, they had become 'uncool'.   Of course some kids still remained gamers, and there were actually a lot of quality, innovative games in 83, 84 & 85.   But there were a lot fewer of us buying games and going to the arcades than there were in 81 + 82

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I was an arcade rat of the 70s and early 80s. For me it's when the ColecoVision came out that I said I would rather stay at home and play rather than go to the arcade.

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Oversaturation.  I just think that similar to home consoles, there were far too many arcades by 1984-85.  That being said, I can recall most of my local joints (bowling alley, pizza parlor, pool hall, etc) all continued to stock games, usually newer ones, for years, well into the 1990's and beyond.  The arcades themselves went under, but most of them not until the 21st century.  Not necessarily due to poor business, but that the landlords preferred traditional retail stores and basically kicked them out.  A further death knell that occurred within the last 10 years or so is that most new games are extremely expensive, and unless you're Dave and Buster's, it's difficult to justify the purchases.

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On 8/15/2020 at 4:36 PM, zzip said:

 Also the style of game changed.   People wanted longer experiences, not the 3 lives and you're done experience of the arcade machines.

^^^This^^^ is what changed.

IMHO this is the main reason arcades basically died. I know the old tired ideas of consoles and PCs killed the arcade market, but that's not what I see when I look back on the whole thing today (and yes, I use to think consoles and PCs were reason for decades). Hindsight is 20/20 and the things is, arcades BITD were new for just about everyone. The experience was new and it was a new social thing.

 

After a while people get tired of their old toys. That's what happened with arcades. It wasn't the graphics and it wasn't the fact that you had to put a quarter in it. People just wanted different experiences that you are not going to get in 30-60 seconds. The quarter munching model didn't work once people decided they wanted longer experiences and didn't necessary want to socialize with the gaming experience. Look, BITD video games and bowling allays/pool halls (at least where I live) went hand in hand. How many people really go bowling or playing pool anymore? Bowling is looked at as some old person game and if you like pool, you most likely have your own table because it cost a lot less today to own that table then it did 30 plus years ago.

 

It was just an evolution of the video game idea. You start out crawling then walking then running. Video gaming is no different. Think about, if it was truly all about graphics the arcade should have never died. You can fit a heck of a lot more computing power in an arcade cabinet than in a console (or even a standard PC case). Admittedly, I'm struggling to put this idea in text, but I hope people understand what it is I'm trying to say. :)

 

 

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Inflation killed the arcades in the mid 1980s.  Operators rent went up and people didn't want to pay 50 cents a game.  Eventually, the industry responded with multiplayer arcade machines and arcades haven't been the same since.

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Drugs. Arcades were a strange place in the 90s. When I was about 16 is [1996] when they started to die.  There were TONS of drug deals going on in arcades around that time. I recall the police busting a bunch of people back then. They closed the local place down a couple times for that. The cool/bad kids would play pool, smoke and kind of act tough at the back. Their incredibly hot gf's (usually Asians) would sit on the Bust A Move [Bubble Bobble] Machine and wait for them to finish. I always wanted to talk to those pretty little girls playing the arcade games but at 16, I could hardly imagine even speaking to a girl. I always thought to myself, man what a bunch of lucky dudes, those Asian guys are, their gf's like cosplay/anime AND video-games.  When I met my wife in China, I first noticed that she would stare into her phone and play a Bust A Move clone. I realized at that point that I had found my dream girl.  

Edited by CaptainCanadian
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I kind-of met the old lady at an arcade back in the 1990's. It was one of those Aladdin's Castles in a mall. The arcade itself had undergone several day-long shutdowns due to nefarious activities. Probably evidence gathering or setting up surveillance or something. After the arcade closed for good I would run into her later elsewhere.

 

On 8/21/2020 at 9:17 PM, mr_me said:

Inflation killed the arcades in the mid 1980s.  Operators rent went up and people didn't want to pay 50 cents a game.  Eventually, the industry responded with multiplayer arcade machines and arcades haven't been the same since.

 Never did get excited about multi-player arcade games. But multi-player at home. That's a thing. Even old Star Raiders can be done multi-player. Pilot and co-pilot navigator.

 

Which kind of reminds me I want to play Star Raiders on a big 10 meter screen with 30,000 watts of bass. Like those room-pressurizing 0-20Hz rotary woofers.

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IMO,

 

3 things.   (Killed arcades as we used to know them)...

 

1)  Lack of Classic games.  I liked to try newer games, sure, but it occurred to me, around here anyway that once a game left the arcade, they Never brought it back.  I would have killed to see just 1 arcade try and leave a small row with stuff like an Asteroids Deluxe, Omega Race, (any)Donkey Kong , Star Castle, and either Astro Blaster, Space Firebird, Phoenix, or Space Invaders.  Personally, I got tired of really liking a game only to find it gone 3 weeks later replaced by a newer game I never liked as well.

 

2)  More powerful home consoles. (So yes, it's part of it).

 

3) Changing interests.  With cars, heavy metal, home systems, movies, instruments, stereos, girls, and just going out with your friends etc., all competing for your entertainment dollar...Even though, speaking for Myself, I probably gave arcades More money in the later days (Let's say '84-'89) after I had a car and could drive myself and my friends there etc., but I enjoyed the earlier arcades more because a lot of the classic games were favorites for me.

Edited by GoldLeader
I kept rephrasing stuff here...
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3 hours ago, GoldLeader said:

1)  Lack of Classic games.  I liked to try newer games, sure, but it occurred to me, around here anyway that once a game left the arcade, they Never brought it back.  I would have killed to see just 1 arcade try and leave a small row with stuff like an Asteroids Deluxe, Omega Race, (any)Donkey Kong , Star Castle, and either Astro Blaster, Space Firebird, Phoenix, or Space Invaders.  Personally, I got tired of really liking a game only to find it gone 3 weeks later replaced by a newer game I never liked as well.

That they never bought back or refurbished and maintained the older games was a huge factor for me. It's not like they didn't have the room or anything. Seemingly for no reason the games simply vanished. And us kids didn't understand how business worked. So it was quite perplexing.

 

It's also the reason why emulators are so important. It's an uncommon occurrence that something can be made that brings a hobby and experience-of-good-times back with such great fidelity and convenience.

 

3 hours ago, GoldLeader said:

2)  More powerful home consoles. (So yes, it's part of it).

It was the computer gaming scene for me rather than consoles. The turning point wasn't instant however. It started with the 486 and Doom. And some years later around the Pentium III and Quake III was when I firmly and solidly believed PC was *T*H*E* premier gaming platform. And would be for years to come. After all, emulators were just beginning their refinement phase. And I could play the likes of Tempest and Xevious and Zaxxon, and Time Pilot and so much MORE at home. I could stop worrying about what the arcades were doing. Stop worrying about if I'd ever be able to play the old favorites again.

 

Could finally stop the occasional day trips (which always ended in vain) searching for 1980's games in the late 1990's!

 

3 hours ago, GoldLeader said:

3) Changing tastes.  With cars, heavy metal, home systems, movies, instruments, stereos, girls, and just going out with your friends etc., all competing for your entertainment dollar...Even though, speaking for Myself, I probably gave arcades More money in the later days (Let's say '84-'89) after I had a car and could drive myself and my friends there etc., but I enjoyed the earlier arcades more because a lot of the classic games were favorites for me.

Cars, girls, pot, jobs, apartments, university.. All were minor distractions and had little effect on actual arcade-going. It was simply the style of games. Didn't like them.

 

I think Assault and Blasteroids and Super Space Invaders were the most modern games I played before exiting the scene entirely.

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On 8/21/2020 at 9:17 PM, mr_me said:

Inflation killed the arcades in the mid 1980s.  Operators rent went up and people didn't want to pay 50 cents a game.  Eventually, the industry responded with multiplayer arcade machines and arcades haven't been the same since.

I only played a few 50-cent games more than once or twice. Hard Drivin', S.T.U.N. Runner, and a few other sit-downs like Road Blasters or Dotron Environmental. And those huge-ass Hercules and Aliens Pinballs. Anything else just wasn't worth it.

 

I did fall into the trap of "add a credit to continue" for a while however.. Then I was done.

 

Today got so much stuff at home I'll only go to the arcade if someone pays my way.

 

 

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