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Keatah

Did home consoles kill the arcade?

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Aside from savant-like performance in Missile Command - I've exceeded the hi-score. I did "ok" on games that offered continuing for another credit. I was able to complete any one that I played. Assault, RoadBlasters, Blasteroids, S.T.U.N. Runner, and others. But that's about when I started changing my mind about the arcades and decided to save money toward a PC.

 

After I got the PC and discovered emulators I was down to spending like 20 - 30 bucks a year. Not with any real enthusiasm. Sometime just before Galaxy World closed up I had some unfinished business with Super Space Invaders '91. So I pumped in another 5 or 10 bucks as a last hurrah.

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I really had to think about this; I also started thinking about other diversions and leisure activities that were fun and popular in the 80s but not now:

 

*Going to the movies

*Going out to dinner/coffee houses

*Going to the roller-rink

*Going to the bookstore, going to the second-hand bookstore

*Going to the movie-rental store (where your rented consoles/console-games too!)

*Going to King's Island (Six Flags, Disney Land/World, whatever)

*Going to the mall

 

Oh, and going to the arcades.  All these things had one aspect in common, the word going.  Folks don't seem to be going anywhere these days. . .  I mean, going somewhere for fun. . . they go to Wal-Mart/Target, grocery centers, and, I dunno, Chinese take-out?

 

I watched Blade Runner 2049 a few months ago; while I was watching it, I thought 'wow', this would've been awesome on the Big Screen in THX stereo. . . in the same sense that Star Trek:  The Motion Picture was in '79-'80/Bladerunner '82 (daaay-um). . . great photography, great music/sound.  We still have movie theatres. . . of a sorts. . . but they are pale comparisons. . . it's not magical anymore. . . just nostalgic.  I didn't even enjoy the last time I went (Star Trek, J.J. Abrams); the sound was not so good, the snacks were crap, and everyone was playing on their phone. . . they weren't ringing or anything, which made it all the more unpleasant for some reason.

 

Going out to dinner.  I can't think of any places nearby, or anywhere really, where going out to dinner is really something to look forward to; I think folks these days pretty much go to Applebee's/Red Robin to get buzzed and pass time; it amazes me how people will stand 30-45" in line for this crap.  I seem to remember, when I was younger, that going out to dinner was really a fun activity:  at Charlie Brown's, you could get the best prime-rib in town, but it had also books, wall-to-wall, and when you dined there, you could just take a book, as long as you replaced it with a book; at China Inn, you went inside, and there were all this plant decor (real plants) and water-fountains and pools (they also sold some hand-held Nintendo Game & Watch at the counter as you paid-out) and the meals were served beautifully, family-style; at LexItalia, everything was dark and red inside, ambiance/presentation was everything, comfy red leather/vinyl booths, candles everywhere, stained glass lighting. . . everything staged for the dining experience, and the food was great.  So on, so forth.  This was casual dining. . . now you have to go to the artsy-fartsy side of town in a major metropolitan area to experience these things at exorbitant prices  . . . like friggin' Portland. . . who wants to go to that dump?

 

Going roller-skating/ice-skating.  Nope.  I'm not sure what happened here, maybe it just wasn't cool anymore.

 

Going to the bookstore/movie-store. . . download/stream.  Redbox/Netflix/Amazon.

 

Going to amusement parks.  I haven't been to one in 20 years. . . and I loved going!

 

Going to the mall.  Mall's are kind of a thing of a past. . . greedy leases, plus you can put all that chintzy crap in a Super-center and sell it.  There was no reason to go to the mall really if the quality of the merchandise was the same as Wal-mart or K-mart. 

 

Going to the video arcades.   You heard and saw things found nowhere else, a feeling of immersiveness. . . like being at the movie-theater.  This was prior to what I call the Golden Axe/Altered Beast era of arcade-gaming, which didn't have the same flavor to me.  Playing Star Trek: SOS in the sit-down cabinet was probably one of my more memorable experiences, sound was really cool, especially when firing a photon-torpedo;  I took it for granted. . . things are supposed to get better with time, right?  I also took for granted the presentation of vector-graphics, even in the 64/128 bit era, this experience is hard to duplicate.

 

So, we stopped going to a lot of these places, places where there'd also be arcade-cabinets other than the gaming-arcades themselves; I actually argue that arcade-cabinet manufacturers made more money selling their products to all these other venues than the arcades themselves.

 

Folks stopped going anywhere, other than one-stop shopping retail-stores; and I think a lot of it has to do with time.  People are running out of time.  And, people keep running out of time, because they keep running out of money. . . inflation in goods and services, deflation/stagnation in wages.  We spend, or typically spent, a lot of time at work, I think people are driving farther to work, we spend a lot of time in traffic.  Income isn't really increasing vs. inflation with a massive labor surplus; we are working a steady job, and then a a gig-job, either side-jobs or part-time service-jobs.  Even if we have the time, we're too tired to go anywhere.  We completely misunderstood labor-saving devices as a benign convenience:  labor-saving devices reduce labor-costs, as one person can now do the job of 2-3 people these days. . . or they completely eliminate labor altogether.  We just keep our tired asses at home, and have things brought to us, and dread going to some strip-mall Super-center, bee-hiving ourselves silly against throngs of people.

 

So, I don't think at-home game-consoles killed arcades; I think there was a complete shift in incomes and life-styles, in which diversions became cheaper and cheaper. . . and so did the experiences in an increasingly isolated world where we selfie & sound-byte one another and consider these expressions meaningful interaction.  Social-distancing started long before Covid; we'd sooner avoid the world in which we're living and escape and stay as long as we can in Tamriel.  We are also quite content to watch something in 4k with mediocre LCD TV speaker-sound.

 

The contemporary quarter-muncher these days is the micro-transaction model that comes with just about every other major AAA title. . . how much revenue can we leach from a single sale.  Freemium titles are, ironically, the most expensive purchases for many people; it's amazing how many hundreds, even thousands, of dollars people pay to play free-to-play. . . and most of these games are utter garbage.  It's interesting how we started with pay-to-play. . .  to at-home gaming. . . to at-home gaming pay-to-play.

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The instantaneousness and rapid-fire thought processes that smartphones ingrain in their user's heads has sped society up to the point where people can't enjoy things anymore. Humans are not evolved enough (yet) to communicate at speeds modern tech provides. That speed and flightiness has made previously enjoyable activities seem like slow chores - activities where you go through the motions and still expect a fulfilling evening. Things just don't work that way, never have, never will.

 

Cellphones have certainly eliminated the "ritual" and anticipation of going out. To the tune of billions or even trillions of dollars, the tech industry incessantly shoves content in your face. So much that it has become overwhelmingly meaningless. And people project that to other areas of life unfortunately.

 

Places like movie theaters and restaurants used to place a decent quantity of emphasis on the experience. Enough to send your imagination soaring. Now it's like the airlines, pack'em in to the tune of how much profit can be made. No time is spent on decorating the theater with the theme of the movie.

 

I remember when Plitt Theaters at Woodfield Mall had Star Wars memorabilia and replicas and props throughout the lobby. And on the bottom of the popcorn tub or soda cup there was a peel-off tab saying you won free tickets or concessions. They don't even do simple things like that anymore - citing reasons like cost, or forgery, or simply not having the necessary manpower to manage the promotion.

 

Micropayments and transaction-based gaming is something I continue to avoid at all costs, I don't care how convenient it is, if it's 4k or 8k or whatever new standard is coming out - matters not. I'm from the school of paying a one-time cost for a game and then having it years to come, and I don't intend on graduating!

Edited by Keatah
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7 hours ago, patroclus99 said:

now you have to go to the artsy-fartsy side of town in a major metropolitan area to experience these things at exorbitant prices  . . . like friggin' Portland. . . who wants to go to that dump?

This is basically the crux of your whole dilemma, man. You hate ??something or someone?? about Portland, but it's got everything in your bulleted list that you're missing out on in whatever Applebees-assed rural soul-crusher you're holed up in.

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8 hours ago, Keatah said:

Places like movie theaters and restaurants used to place a decent quantity of emphasis on the experience. Enough to send your imagination soaring. Now it's like the airlines, pack'em in to the tune of how much profit can be made. No time is spent on decorating the theater with the theme of the movie.

I've always wanted to replicate this in my arcade - with one location I wasn't able to as the mall management at the time forced me to design things in the most boring way possible, but after they changed hands, I started doing things like putting arcade circuit boards I wasn't using on the walls. 

 

I'm still in the process of decorating my new arcade location, but I'm almost done (looking at opening up on Friday). It varies for arcades, but I never found places like Dave & Busters (with nothing more than black drapes every where) to be inspiring. I have seen some other indie arcades do stuff like murals and what not:

 

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SI_Ogden2.thumb.jpg.517fc17e05b04670412763d4df8ab0b7.jpg

 

 

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6 hours ago, Zoyous said:

This is basically the crux of your whole dilemma, man. You hate ??something or someone?? about Portland, but it's got everything in your bulleted list that you're missing out on in whatever Applebees-assed rural soul-crusher you're holed up in.

Riiight. . .

 

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