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The Uncertain Future of NYC's Last Arcade

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the now-we-have-to-fight-in-the-actual-streets dept.

Games 188

HansonMB writes "At around nearly the same time every year, rumors start to crop up that Chinatown Fair, the last beloved vestige of New York City's video arcade golden age, will soon be facing its final days. It happened again last week when tweets and blog posts reignited talk of the legendary arcade's imminent foreclosure. Without even talking to anyone, you could feel a sense of looming dread as gamers of all ages partook of their usual button-pounding pastimes. But the Fair, which has stood in one form or another on Mott Street just off Canal since the 1950s, isn't going down without a fight."

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188 comments

The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (4, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291426)

Okay well, maybe that's just par for the course in Brooklyn. But it's sad to think that this hole-in-the-wall is all that's left of the videogame arcades. Is this seriously the only one left in all of NYC? Please tell me that's just hyperbole. I thought the Japanese were still turning out popular stuff like Dance Dance Revolution [wikipedia.org] for arcades. Surely someone is still buying those machines, no?

Come to think of it, the last remaining Chuck E. Cheese's in my city is starting to look pretty run-down too. And it's not exactly located in a neighborhood you would want to take your kids through, if you could avoid it. Not that I frequent it much anymore myself--who wants to be the creepy, single, older guy hanging out in a Chuck E. Cheese's paying the last worn-out videogames?

I guess this is how it must have felt to pool players when the pool halls went into the shitter. It's probably a good preview what the last Vegas casinos are going to look like someday too.

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (3, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291524)

Okay well, maybe that's just par for the course in Brooklyn.

It's not in Brooklyn (yet). It's in Manhattan.

And yes, that's what many of the old arcades used to look like (well, maybe not THAT bad).

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291606)

This particular "hole in the wall" is notable because a lot of the top American fighting game players (Street Fighter, Tekken, Marvel vs. Capcom etc.) have either lived there or been regular visitors at one point or another.

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291628)

I associate arcade machines with being bored. Apart from a couple of exceptions (in London: Namco Station on the South Bank, and in the Trocadero at Piccadilly Circus) they're generally located where people would otherwise be bored: airports, bowling alleys and English seaside towns (for when it's raining and you already saw all the shops during yesterday's rain).

But maybe I just don't notice them, since I don't really take any interest in them.

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291964)

> I associate arcade machines with being bored with money.

FTFY. :-)

Lots of good memories playing Super Hang-On (motorcycle handlebars FTW), Assault (drive tank with 2 joysticks FTR), and Magic Sword (COOP along with a NPC follower per player!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hang-On [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_(1988_video_game) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Sword [wikipedia.org]

Cheers

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292140)

Bored with money?

Back in the '80s a quarter would last a long time, if you were good at a game.

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292220)

I thought the Japanese were still turning out popular stuff like Dance Dance Revolution for arcades. Surely someone is still buying those machines, no?

Sure. Plenty of them in Seoul. Presumably Tokyo as well. NYC, not so much.

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (1)

molo (94384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292228)

This is in Manhattan's Chinatown. As for being a filthy shithole.. welcome to New York. :)

-molo

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (4, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292318)

Heh. Let's just say, don't go to Chuck E. Cheese's after the first of the month. Why? Because that's when the welfare checks come in. Think I'm joking? The Wall Street Journal did a piece on the high number of police calls at Chuck E. Cheeses [wsj.com] . Biker bars record fewer calls. Look at the Google search. [google.com]

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292506)

Wow, that's just sad. I guess everyone is keeping their kids at home today (or they're staying in voluntarily). There is so much paranoia about molesters lurking around every corner and so much out-of-control protectionism (kids on bikes today wear more pads than I used to when I played football). I guess kid's gathering places like Chuck E. Cheese's have just went to hell as a result.

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292726)

who wants to be the creepy, single, older guy hanging out in a Chuck E. Cheese's paying the last worn-out videogames?

Why would a single guy want to go to Chuck E. Cheese? There are adult versions around like Dave and Busters [daveandbusters.com] . Last time I was in Chicago, several years ago, I believe the ESPN restaurant had a pretty big arcade as well. Granted, it was sports themed, but it had some cool stuff. But I recall a Sega restaurant or bar or something in the Schaumburg area or something. Ah, here it is. GameWorks [gameworks.com] .

The only problem I'd see if you didn't have one close to you.

Re:The pics make it look like a filthy shithole (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292782)

No Dave and Busters near where I live, or any other adult arcades (AFAIK). It would be nice, though.

Last Arcade Last Great Arcade (1)

ColoradoAuthor (682295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291514)

TFA says this is the "last great arcade" and the "last vestige of New York City's video arcade golden age." It does not even imply that there are no other arcades in the Big Apple. Video arcades, albeit in newer forms, are still common across the USA.

Re:Last Arcade Last Great Arcade (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291558)

I was going to say, I can't imagine Barcade going out of business. Maybe coin-op games don't make enough money for NYC rents by themselves, but overpriced beer does, and the games get them in the door.

Re:Last Arcade Last Great Arcade (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291856)

Yep, Barcade isn't going to go out of business until Williamsburgh gets too expensive even for the parent-subsidized hipsters who inhabit it. Which honestly should be soon.

Re:Last Arcade Last Great Arcade (2)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291578)

They used to be, perhaps. Used to be that every mall had a video game arcade, but they've all closed down. The closest thing I have available is a Dave and Buster's, more than an hour's drive away. Consequently, I only head there with a group of friends a few times a year. Even that is looking empty these days. This might be because they haven't changed any of their machines in well over three years though...

But, at the same time, if you want to game with your friends then your PC/XBox/PS/etc. is right there in your home and you don't have to feed it quarters every time you want a little bit of joy. There's more variety. I think the sad reality is that arcades are too expensive for what they offer compared to what is available without ever leaving your house.

Re:Last Arcade Last Great Arcade (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292374)

They used to be, perhaps.

There are several full arcades within 30 minutes' drive of me, and that time is only because they're spread out over a large metropolitan area (Portland, Oregon). One of them I could easily bike to. Those are free-standing arcades. If you are willing to count arcades inside other entertainment (e.g., that have climbing areas for kids, etc.) then the number doubles.

Each has a hundred-odd machines.

I know the same is true in many other cities.

I will say that most of the arcades today are the "win tickets, trade for cheap prizes" sort. Most of the ones I've visited are 60-70% ticket-generating and the rest standard video games.

Re:Last Arcade Last Great Arcade (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292222)

What I don't understand is why they don't go non-profit. If their truly the "last vestige of New York City's video arcade golden age" as the article suggests, they may even be eligible for historic building protection. That would, I imagine, cut their rent and their taxes, while at the same time bringing the possibility of donations and publicity.

Arcades are important (4, Insightful)

Mprx (82435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291538)

If you care about quality you should care about arcades. Arcades force ruthless competition between games. Only the best earn enough to be worth their floor space. Developers are forced to innovate, and good ideas spread to the rest of the industry.

This essay explains the greatness of arcades:
http://insomnia.ac/commentary/arcade_culture/ [insomnia.ac]

Re:Arcades are important (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291636)

I didn't know AC's had their own domain! How do they register?

Re:Arcades are important (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291700)

You get an invite after you've posted as AC on Slashdot for five years. Visit mine [goatse.ac] .

Re:Arcades are important (3, Informative)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291774)

You get an invite after you've posted as AC on Slashdot for five years. Visit mine [goatse.ac] .

My god IT'S A TRAP!

Re:Arcades are important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292602)

.ac is the TLD for Ascension Island

Re:Arcades are important (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292660)

Is that near Fantasy Island? If it is I could fly there and swim over since I can't afford to go directly.

Re:Arcades are important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291898)

The author of the article first states that he doesn't need to show any proof because the "real gamers" the article is written for already know that what he says is true. He proceeds to laud the accomplishments of arcade gamers as having "real skills" in "skill based games". I stopped when he started to complain that Super Ghouls and Ghosts was too easy-- a game that is largely considered one of the most difficult games on the SNES. He probably did this for the "geek cred" I suppose.

In short, the article is a giant pile of "look how hardcore I am guyz", and very little actual interesting content. Being good at Super Ghouls and ghosts isn't about skill, it's about have absolutely nothing better to do with your time and about hating yourself. If I want to see to someone brag about their useless skills I'd go to reddit.

Re:Arcades are important (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292264)

The author of the article first states that he doesn't need to show any proof because the "real gamers" the article is written for already know that what he says is true.

See my signature? Know what philosophy includes [wikipedia.org] ? These sort of things should stand out [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Arcades are important (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292662)

If you care about quality you should care about arcades. Arcades force ruthless competition between games. Only the best earn enough to be worth their floor space. Developers are forced to innovate, and good ideas spread to the rest of the industry.

Now the games compete for cupboard space at your home and top ratings on game review sites. Love it or hate it, it's not 1975 anymore and that transition is nearly complete.

Oh no! (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291562)

Now where will the drug dealers be able to market their products to kids?!?

Re:Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291598)

Now where will the drug dealers be able to market their products to kids?!?

Don't worry, they still have schools

Re:Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291694)

Don't worry, they still have schools

Yeah... for now!

Re:Oh no! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291894)

Drug dealers don't sell to kids! Ask one, he'll tell you. Kids can't afford drugs!

Re:Oh no! (1)

igaborf (69869) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292692)

Now where will the drug dealers be able to market their products to kids?!?

Not to worry... NYC still has schoolyards

Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291580)

Unfortunately this is inevitable. With the exception of few places like Dave and Busters, amusement park midways and kids places like Chuck E Cheese which are more event and party locations than standalone arcades there just isn't much need for them anymore. In the 80's and 90's arcade machines easily surpassed home video gaming graphically, immersiveness and socially. First graphics were matched if not surpassed, then the social aspects of multiplayer gaming were surpassed with online play and finally the immersiveness was matched with addon peripherals like guitars, guns, dance pad and motion sensing. At this point the only thing traditional arcades can really offer are lines at more popular games, sticky floors, crime and empty pockets. I constantly hear fellow gamers lament the demise of the arcade but truthfully most of them would only frequent one when feeling nostalgic. Its the inevitable evolution of the medium, the same thing is happening with record stores, video stores and I fully expect other staples of society like book stores and casinos to follow eventually. Its sad but if the only time people patronize those types of establishments are when they feel like going "old school" its simply not a sustainable business.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291624)

So, you think playing online with random strangers with no face is the same as meeting new, actual people at the arcade?

I have good memories of myself as a kid at the arcade. None of which have sticky floors or crime (maybe arcades were different in my country?).

Sorry, online gaming just doesn't do it for me.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (2)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291728)

And when was the last time you visited one? I have great memories of arcades when I was kid as well I used to go weekly often several times a week, but I can admit I haven't been in one in about 2 years...the last one I went to was a Dave & Busters and it was for a party. As for the sticky floors comment, the few remaining arcades in my area are run down, over priced and poorly maintained, maybe its different somewhere else but from people I have talked to its more then norm than the exception.

No online gaming doesn't recreate the experience but with chat and video becoming more and more common its a common substitute that is far more accessible and convenient for many.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291974)

Over 10 years ago. There are no arcades in my town anymore, save for a kids place with an XBOX inside a few arcade cabinets and some fight games. They were replaced by cyber-cafes (most kids have computers, but they go and pay for the hour just to enjoy LAN gaming, on a computer crappier than their own).

The best part of the arcades was the HUGE screen games with NeoGeo, the motorcycle race thing where you ride a motorcycle, the race game with force feedback controls, and the best of all, and not a video game, the air hockey.

I also remember a HUGE arcade cabinet with a HUGE SNES controlller - it was the SNES promo arcade where you could play super mario world (damn, if they had them today I would beat it with just 1 coin)

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292386)

So, the screens and cabinet and such...were they HUGE? I couldn't tell from your post.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292026)

My home town used to have a fairly major teenage hangout - the Bridgewater Sports Arena.

Ice skating, laser tag, and a great arcade.

However, the place has been going downhill over the past decade. Almost no public skating sessions, and the arcade floor is half empty. The games that are there are old and the whole place is run down.

It's a negative feedback loop - if it's run down and uncool, people don't go there. If people don't go there, it becomes more run down and uncool.

It would probably be out of business if not for the laser tag (can't replicate that with consoles) and the ice rinks (hockey = $$$).

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291634)

that's bullshit.

Arcades are still doing well enough in Japan.

What killed arcades were lousy games. Japan wasn't exporting the best games, and American companies gave up around the late 80's. There was also the impression that video games and thus arcades, were for kids. This drove serious gaming out of the arcade as well. Faced with shrinking profit margins, arcade operators turned to ticket redemption to drive their coin intake.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291808)

The last time I was in Japan (3 years ago) most of the arcades I went to were full of more gachapon, pachinko and simulators than actual video games, all of which are found in those ticket redemption places like Dave & Busters, Chuck E Cheese, etc which seem at least in my area to be doing fine. I just think that most given the choice of playing say Beatmania at $1-$2 a pop vs Rock Band for free as much as they want will choose Rock Band, the same goes for DDR, most gun games, etc.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292350)

Beatmania hasn't seen a console release since what, Empress?

DDR at home isn't anywhere close to the same experience as in the arcade. More songs, *much* better pad.

Arcades aren't doing well in Japan not because of consoles, but because of the overall economic down turn(eg: no one's doing well right now). Border Break still hasn't seen a home release. Super SF4 saw an arcade release. If times ever get better for Japan, trust me, arcades are going to get a huge boost. The gaming culture there is different.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292698)

remove pachinco from that and yes there is a huge decrease in 'Video Game Arcades'

"There was also the impression that video games and thus arcades, were for kids"
No, there wasn't. They no full well who went to arcades, and who supplied the quarters.

Lets face it, Arcade became hell holes because they became competitive. Not being able to play a game until you beat the previous player is what killed them. Basically pool halls.

Re:Consoles Killed the Arcade (1)

Maxtastic (1058222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292810)

My family was in the arcade business from the mid 70's till 2003. Our best times were the early 80's and the mid to late 90's your assumption that there were no good games after the late 80's is wrong.

Probably should move (1)

jacks smirking reven (909048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291590)

Real estate in Manhattan is only getting more expensive, even in Chinatown and the youth culture (hipsters they may be) are in Brooklyn and they would love nothing better then to prop open their shiny MBP's next to a vintage Galaga machine, even if they were born 10 years after it was new...

Also I'm curious do they host any of the retro tournaments (ala King of Kong) at this location, a move to a larger facility might make that feasible and get some more attention to the place.

Overall the arcade of old is a hard business model to sustain in this day and age for obvious reasons, especially with some games costing $1 or more per credit. You need something unique to get people in and staying in.

Re:Probably should move (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291650)

Brooklyn arcade for hipsters?

So the under 21 version of Barcade?

Re:Probably should move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291828)

Hipsters tend to be in their late 20's, early 30's.

Barcade IS hipstercade.

Re:Probably should move (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292756)

There was a great arcade in SLC, UT (Sandy, actually), that was a nickle arcade. Everything was 1 or 2 nickles. There was a cover charge, but even that wasn't exorbitant. Granted, this was also 15 years ago, hehe.

I've often wanted to put up a multi-entertainment place near where I live. Quality bowling alley, Indoor/Outdoor putt-putt, arcade room, gaming room (for PCs and consoles). During the day, there would be a few quiet rooms for businesses to rent for video conferencing, etc. I think it would do fine in the area I chose because high trafficked with lots of shopping and hospitals in the area. It still has space since the area is also fairly new in development.

So? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291596)

I don't see anyone crying because Radios replaced bandstands, Digital cameras replaced film, or Cars replaced manure-spewing horses.

The arcade was a product of an age when advanced graphics (basically: 16 bit) required an expensive machine, because home consoles (Atari, Intellivision) looked like crap. You went to the arcade to be awed by the sights and sounds.

That's no longer the case, because now you can bring the advanced graphics home. Hence no reason to visit the arcade and blow 100 dollars worth of quarters. Technology advanced - obsolete crap died out.

Re:So? (0)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291644)

That's no longer the case, because now you can bring the advanced graphics home. Hence no reason to visit the arcade and blow 100 dollars worth of quarters. Technology advanced - obsolete crap died out.

wow - antisocial much?

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291782)

I think you've hit on something. I suspect that it's not so much that arcades are being killed by game machines, it's that kids aren't hanging around anywhere outside of the home. It's providing a venue for "kids hanging around" that once sustained arcades - not necessarily their advanced technology.

Re:So? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292290)

Someone called me anti-social. Well the fact of the matter is that when I went to the arcade, I never saw anybody I knew. Hard to socialize with a bunch of strangers. ----- So I went in strictly to play the advanced games that didn't exist on consoles.

>>>kids aren't hanging around anywhere outside of the home

That's usually a good thing. Nobody dealing drugs or cigarettes or beer to the kids. Or just generally being a bad influence.

Anonymous Coward writes:
>>>Console games aren't fun, though.

Maybe you're playing the wrong games? Fighting games are fun; Space Channel 5 is fun; Puyo Pop and other tetris-style games are fun. Ratchet & Clank is fun. Zelda and Final Fantasy are fun (if enjoy solving puzzles, exploring). Racing games are fun.

Re:So? (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292824)

Hard to socialize with a bunch of strangers.

Zelda and Final Fantasy are fun (if enjoy solving puzzles, exploring).

I see what you did there.

Seriously though, the nice thing about arcades was that there was always a bunch of kids your age you could play with. You just approach them and say "Hi can I play too?" and that was it. I know I did.

20+ and it's not the same anymore.

Then again, I own a comic book store and I see kids making new friends all the time at my store. "Wooow you like Naruto? I do too! Whats ur MSN address?"

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291890)

Console games aren't fun, though. There's no community to really make the games worth playing, and playing online against a bunch of people hacking the game just takes away from the competitive nature.

Arcades have their place, and it's more of a social competitive & friendship area than anything else. Comradery. It's the real reason people went to arcades. The theory that it was for advanced technology is bunk - Although consoles did kill arcades, it has less to do with the advancement of home technology, and moreso to do with the recluse nature of newer generations being brought up on fast food television WoW culture.

Gaming died with arcades. I still go to Chinatown Fair weekly, I'll likely cry if it closes.

I'd rather spend 60 dollars a week at the arcade rather than 60 dollars a week at Best Buy buying the latest PS3 title - Which I'll play alone, get bored of due to the lack of drive to improve, and will eventually allow to become covered in a thick layer of dust before I flip it on ebay. There is no reason to play a game if you're going to play it alone, and there's really no drive to improve when you can't see your opponent, who may (and often is) cheating.

Re:So? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292218)

Arcades have their place, and it's more of a social competitive & friendship area than anything else. Comradery. It's the real reason people went to arcades. The theory that it was for advanced technology is bunk - Although consoles did kill arcades, it has less to do with the advancement of home technology, and moreso to do with the recluse nature of newer generations being brought up on fast food television WoW culture.

That's one theory.

As someone who frequented arcades in the 80s and 90s, I say that it was the technology that made the arcade obsolete. I had always preferred the camaraderie of playing video games with my actual friends, and playing at home where we were most comfortable -- and we could play for hours without having to bring tons of money -- was always preferable. But arcades were where the games were at. Once game consoles advanced to the point where the only games unique to arcades were ones with specialized input devices (like sit down racing games, Operation Wolf-style shooters), which we weren't that keen on to begin with, there was little reason to go to the arcade.

My apartment was a much better place for my friends and I to get together to play games than the arcade. The seating was more comfortable, nobody was ever hogging the game we wanted to play, there were ample snacks, nobody ever had to bow out because they ran out of quarters, no rules against shouted profanity when your friend won with a cheap shot, and oh yeah once we turned 21, beer in the fridge.

So I can see how some people went to the arcade for "camaraderie". That's a subset of the people who went to arcades, and the rest of them were not solely recluses. Frankly I don't think people who can't find anyone to play games with outside of meeting strangers at an arcade should be casting anti-social stones, and a lot of people I met doing that were jerks, but still I can understand what you're saying about having a community.

Just, I think it's pretty obvious that the subset of people who wanted that was not big enough to keep the arcades in business. The real reason most people went to the arcades is because that's where the games were.

Re:So? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292144)

I don't see anyone crying because Radios replaced bandstands, Digital cameras replaced film, or Cars replaced manure-spewing horses.

Perhaps you should open your eyes? I know of at least one person who laments each of the above. They may not be in the majority, but they certainly do exist.

The arcade was a product of an age when advanced graphics (basically: 16 bit) required an expensive machine, because home consoles (Atari, Intellivision) looked like crap. You went to the arcade to be awed by the sights and sounds.

...with your friends (the kind you meet up with in real life, not online).

That's no longer the case, because now you can bring the advanced graphics home. Hence no reason to visit the arcade and blow 100 dollars worth of quarters. Technology advanced - obsolete crap died out.

Funny, I do not remember arcades being required to feature obsolete games or game systems. There is no technical reason why an arcade could not host FPS tournaments, with modern and brand new games. The draw of arcades has always been spending time with friends, outside of your home.

Now, this is not to say that arcades should not compete with console games in the home. I view arcades as being in a similar position to movie theaters, in that both are forced to compete with home entertainment systems. Perhaps arcades should push for early access to new games, the way movie theaters show movies before DVD releases. There is no reason for arcades to disappear entirely, certainly not in a city as large and densely populated as New York.

we need good places to play pinball! pc based game (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291602)

we need good places to play pinball! pc based games are not the same as a real game.

Re:we need good places to play pinball! pc based g (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291704)

we need good places to play pinball! pc based games are not the same as a real game.

You check out any of the sports bars around your city? Several of the ones around me have a couple arcade and pinball games. Actually, that's pretty much the only place I see them nowadays.

Re:we need good places to play pinball! pc based g (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292022)

I find most of them only have Golden Tee and that game on the bar that has Tetris and Bejewelled rip offs. :( I use to go to the arcade at the mall all the time in my youth. Thankfully we have "Playdium" (URL:http://www.playdium.com/) not too far from me and they had decent games last time I was there.

Where will the bemani go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291614)

Having been a community member in the dancing-game genre for quite some time, it's really a shame to see Chinatown Fair go.

I have read that they will be re-opening in Brooklyn likely.

And likely to remain overpriced, but hey what can ya do. :)

No more hitching rails on my street, either (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291670)

The fact is, PC and console games are worlds better than what you see in arcades. I was in one last summer (first time in a long time) and I was thoroughly unimpressed with arcade technology. Even being able to race side-by-side w/ my girlfriend was kind of lame because of the weakness of the software. Maybe that's necessary when users have to learn on the fly, but it wasn't a very satisfying experience for me.

Yes, there are other non-arcade games there, and we actually played those *more*, but I'd rather sit at home and play on a good system.

Let them die. (0)

kuzb (724081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291682)

Arcades are outmoded by home consoles and online play. They simply no longer fill any void in the lives of people. It's time to let them go.

Re:Let them die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292008)

Where will people go to compete in games, and make friends that also play games? You know, in the real physical world?

Online play does not provide this service.

The fact that our society has become so recluse is downright shocking to me, and people talk as if it is a logical approach to living.

Re:Let them die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292454)

LAN parties, for one. I used to do this occasionally when I lived in Kentucky - the local college in Lexington had an active student-run LAN party group. There were 5-6 places in town that had large rooms and plenty of power. You'd pay $20-25 to the organizers, and that would cover hall rent, pizza, soft drinks, and the people who brought in spare servers, network switches, cables, extension cords and helped clean up afterward took home a few bucks for their trouble. Bring your own computer, join any game you want, host any game you want, and either stay in one place or move around to where the game you are playing is located, your choice.

Usually about 20-30 people showed up, there was enough money for more pizzas than anyone could possibly eat and a bunch of drinks. The LAN parties usually went from about 9AM until 4-5PM. Obviously you still had to buy the games, but the organizers published a list of games they'd be hosting (and you were free to host anything else you wanted on your own). Plenty of people even brought in extra machines so you could try out games you had never seen before. The gaming companies even occasionally sent a few trinkets and whatnot if the organizers asked really nicely, and there was often a raffle for a new game held sometime during the day by the local game retailers when they heard about such events.

Yes, you needed a computer, but almost every LAN party had at least 2-3 games going on that were "old school" (bargain-bin stuff that was more than a couple of years old) so you didn't need the latest and greatest to have a good time. The local gaming companies frequently bought used and older games to the event that you could buy right there and play.

There was also a HUGE one put on over in Louisville every year, by professional organizers. We're talking hundreds of participants. I don't know if it's still around, and I never managed to make it, but the people who did attend said it was a blast. They usually lasted several continuous days, with scoreboards and organized tournaments with prizes.

And, of course, there were regular LAN parties at people's houses or apartments, usually about 5-10 people and a 6-pack or two of something tastier to go with your pizza. I used to attend or host a couple of these a year.

`What a filthy looking place in Street View!' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291742)

What a filthy looking place! Just the horrendously unkempt front sign should be a warning to stay away from such a sleaze pit. What about pickpockets in such place?

Re:`What a filthy looking place in Street View!' (2)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291826)

. What about pickpockets in such place?

Yea I work that place sometimes and let me tell you, quarters don't go very far when you're trying to buy meth...

Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dying (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291764)

Face it - they're both dying. Between home theatres and consoles, their days are numbered.

We complain about bad movies, but movies are intended still to put asses in seats, not sell DVDs. Yet lots of people complain about the theatre experience - cellphones, rude people, expensive tickets, etc.

Arcades have the same issue - the good game machine is always busy, why keep pumping in quarters, etc.

And the biggest issue of all - if you have responsibilities, it's a lot easier ot sit one's butt on the couch for a movie or a game versus arranging a sitter, going out, playing a bit, returning home, etc. (And when the trip can be a half hour each way, it's a complete loss of an hour in one's day - an hour that oculd be spent watching the movie or gaming - important when most people are rushed and tired).

Sure, arcades and theatres provide a more social experience and have their advantages (big screens, pinball). But the reality is, they're not big draws anymore given the inconvenience. Theatres have big screens and latest movies, arcades have pinball (whose experience can't be replicated virtually - you miss out of the feel from real balls hitting real objects), but the draw isn't there.

I'd love to play pinball, but going out of my way to play it isn't appealing. And a movie has to be really good for me to see it, but even so I've only gone at most once a year.

Re:Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dyi (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292004)

arcades have been dead, not dying, for over a decade

and theatres just experienced the most profitable movie ever made last year: avatar. so i don't really understand why you think of them as the same when they are very different

would you pay much attention to someone saying "television and player pianos are dead". what? what with the false contrived linking of two totally media phenomena?

Re:Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dyi (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292212)

Avatar was priced 30% higher than the movie next door that wasn't 3-D.

Re:Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dyi (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292298)

if avatar didn't have any 3D profit hike, the grosses would still put it at the most profitable movie ever, just in movie theatre box office receipts. i personally think 3D is a dumb gimmick, my point has nothing to do with 3D at all: movie theatres are obviously not dying. in fact, even if 3D is a dumb gimmick, it shows there is new technological life in the theatre, nevermind solid economic performance

Re:Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dyi (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292648)

A) even adjusted it made more money
B) It doesn't matter because it was successful.

Re:Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dyi (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292156)

AC above had a good comment about hangouts. For me it WAS about the tech for certain years - specifically the large controls vs cramped controller buttons. I was a solid B- player; no threat to anyone but enough to hold the machine open between the champs. I retired pretty early - MK3 with a touch of Killer Instinct.

Now you can't go anywhere to hang out - the two big bookstores are right ahead of the theaters on the way out. For the way a guy shops that leaves nowhere to go.

Re:Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dyi (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292632)

Theaters days have been number for decades.
Color TV - Cinema days are numbered
VCRs - Cinema days are numbered
Wide Screen Format VCRs - Cinema days are numbered
Laser Disk - Cinema days are numbered
DVD - Cinema days are numbered
Wide Screen TVs - Cinema days are numbered
Digital TV - Cinema days are numbered

There are aspect of going somewhere to see a movie that people want. Will it change? yes. Will they go away? No.

Re:Arcades are dying the same way theatres are dyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292636)

Here is the question: Why are they seen as inconvenient?

People are not more busy nowadays. They - are - not - more - busy. Period. They are actually less busy due to things like cellphones and other mobile technologies.

Actually, I found that most people nowadays are under a false illusion of being "busy" and that it's a lifestyle they actively choose even though it has nothing to even do with, say, their job.

Here's what it is: People are lazy, not busy.

People were certainly way more busy in the 80's when the arcade business was booming. People are less busy now and refuse to do anything that isn't handed to them on their sofa.

Looking back with rose-tinted glasses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35291900)

I used to play at the Yonge + Dundas arcades in Toronto to be able to be one of the first to play the latest iteration of Street Fighter (starting with Champion Edition). Sleazy people, sleazy owners/change-givers, lots of fighting, strong-arming for money, not-so-subtle drug deals, and rear areas of the arcade where you feel uncomfortable being in if you're by yourself. About the only positives I could remember were well-maintained joysticks/buttons on the fighting games and the electric atmosphere in the crowd whenever a new game was out (the Street Fighters and the multi-player X-men game specifically).

About the only arcade I'd be sad to see go is Funspot in New Hampshire, as it has more of a museum feel than an arcade one.

As a side note, does anyone know the name of a "game" from the 70s or 80s that involved nothing but a series of slides that involved a woman stripping? You had ~60 seconds to play and had to shoot at various targets around her. If you hit the target, it'd go to the next slide where she would have less clothing.

I used to play Marvel V Capcom in Times Square (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291962)

I thought I was decent at the game. A couple of years ago, I ate at Mott Street and played some high school kids. I should have scouted the competition before dumping in the quarters. Blackheart + Sentinel + Juggernaut doesn't cut it. After 4 perfect scores with infinite combos against me (damn Magneto and Cable!), I realized my arcade days are long over. But it was kind of weird to lose to HIGH SCHOOL students: shouldn't it have been some 40+ geezer beating me?

gotta reinvent (4, Informative)

JohnnySlash (913420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35291998)

It's mostly for adults, due to the bar, but still Ground Kontrol in Portland (OR) is a fantastic example of how arcades can survive: http://groundkontrol.com/arcade/index.php [groundkontrol.com]

Re:gotta reinvent (1)

greenskyx (609089) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292042)

Ground Kontrol is GREAT and they just finished their re-model. (http://remodel.groundkontrol.com/)

Re:gotta reinvent (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292086)

"Gotta reinvent"

Pretty much my sentiment as well.

While it's tragic - businesses need to evolve with the times to stay relevant. And really - the price for the gaming experience you receive on the old arcade machines is just way too high for me these days now that I actually have bills to pay. I've seen countless times where outdated games are still costing a dollar per play. It was fun and affordable when it was a quarter - and you could actually spend all day there on 20 bucks with some friends.

I think younger kids probably aren't going to give a crap about arcades as long as they can still play online with their friends and strangers via their PCs and consoles. With that said - I think the bar idea is a good idea for catering to the grown up crowd. I've never been (as there isn't one near me) but I hear Dave and Busters [daveandbusters.com] has a similar business model and seems to be doing fine.

Re:gotta reinvent (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292302)

If some BigCo really wanted to, they'd use one of the older arcade formulas to reinvent - custom rigs. It was true, for a while, that the arcade had tech about 2 years ahead of the consoles, because a big expensive machine allocated by time could afford it. Then all the game companies got shy and didn't want to take the risk.

Who wants to play Jeopardy with IBM's new Watson? I'd pay my dollar for that. How about the VR that's been out of the limelight for a while. Portions of the tech are out there, but they're scattered in prototype labs. Some company with a shadow investor just needs to throw $250 Mil to jumpstart the tech.

But now we're stuck in this downturn, so no one wants to risk going for the brass ring for a while.

Joystix (1)

DaFallus (805248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292480)

There is a place in Houston called Joystix [joystixamusements.com] . It is mostly just a shop that sells classic cabinets and has the largest collection in the country. However, the first and last Friday of every month, from 9 pm to 2 am, you can pay $15 to get in and play all the games without coins or tokens. They also have a full bar.

Re:gotta reinvent (1)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292666)

There's a similar sounding arcade I've been to called Dave and Buster's [daveandbusters.com] which is basically a club/bar with tons of arcade machines, they're scattered in various places all over the US. Lots of fun, but I wish one was actually close to me :(

I went to this place in 1977 or so! (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292054)

A high school class went on a class trip to Chinatown in '77. (I remember the year because on the same trip I picked up a copy of Analog with the original short story version of "Ender's Game.")

The highlight of the visit was this arcade. It was in a lot better shape, but still not exactly a palace. There was a little "Chinatown museum" in the back, but it was closed on the day we went.

I honestly don't remember many of the games, but we made the chicken dance and the other chicken play tic-tac-toe. As I recall, you got a "consolation prize" of a fortune cookie.

Also, a thuggish kid, maybe 16, offered to sell us switchblades.

It's already closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292124)

Yesterday was it's last day.

Arcade cabinets no longer tied to arcades (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292174)

Just like going out to see a movie is no longer the only option with home theaters and huge screens, getting the real "arcade" feeling is no longer tied to a location if you can get the cabinet inside your home.

A lot of people have been building their own arcade cabinets for the last decade or two with the help of community websites such as Arcade Controls [arcadecontrols.com] . There's also plenty of companies who sell real arcade parts such Happ/Sanwa/Seimitsu buttons and joysticks, others sell "empty" cabinets in which you add your own game hardware (console or computer).

If NYC could let CBGB's go (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292186)

then arcades aren't safe. CBGB's was a legendary club where many punk and new wave acts literally got their start. Now? The last I remember reading it was a Gap.... Arcades and CBGB's. Two members of a bygone era in NYC life.

Re:If NYC could let CBGB's go (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292594)

yeah, there aren't any underground club in NYC any more... sheeesh. In fact, have an underground club that becomes mainstream is th antithesis of punk.

Arcade? well there kinda useless right now. Maybe when someone develops an AR machine that's too expensive to put in the home they will have a resurgence.

'Arcade' come and go. Usually when there is a form of entertainment you can't get in the home. People either get bored, or the technology is cheap enough to get in the home.

Not in Portlandia! (2)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292224)

There's always Ground Kontrol [groundkontrol.com] ! It's Portland so it's really a bar with a lot of great arcade games. I haven't been there in a little while but they just finished remodeling. This thread reminded me to head down there again. My personal fave is Track & Field [wikipedia.org] .

Some might balk at the idea of it being 21 and over only, but realistically anyone less than 21 isn't going to know what a true arcade is. They are used to the mall 'arcades' that are mostly games of moderate skill that spit out tickets that they exchange for some crappy toys when they are done.

Ffrom the link you didn't read: (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292538)

They are only 21 and older after 5PM.

Open 7 Days a Week
Noon - 2:30AM
All Ages Admitted Until 5PM
21+ & I.D. Required After 5PM

and stop calling Portland, 'Portlandia', it's fucking annoying as hell and it isn't 'hip'.

Waxing nostalgic (4, Interesting)

Itesh (1901146) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292616)

I was a kid in the 80s and I have such good memories of my dad taking me down to our local arcade after my getting my report cards. I wish that I could recapture the awe and have my son (only 5) be able to have a similar experience as I did. The games were phenomenal: Pac-Man, Joust, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Mill/Centipede, Double Dragon, Gauntlet, Ghost Busters, Robocop, Saturday Night Slam Masters and Operation Wolf were some of the games I fondly remember. I have to give a special shout out to Pinbot as one of the best pin ball machines ever. There was nothing better than spending $20 and staying up past my bed time to play video games at an arcade.

"bottom-pounding"? (2)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292620)

partook of their usual button-pounding pastimes

Perhaps arcades are no longer what I thought they were.

Change the change (1)

XiY47 (1815860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35292704)

The Galloping Ghost Arcade in Chicago charges $15 at the door and all the machines are set on free to play. I and a group of 6-10 friends go to this arcade once a month and it's usually fairly full. It's not dirty or in a bad part of town either. I think the $15 charge at the door in place of requiring rolls of quarters helps that a lot, and in an age where movie tickets are at least $8, $15 for an all day time warp into 80s glory seems like an OK deal to me.

Barcade is arcade + beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35292776)

Went here my last visit to New York. It's microbrews, arcade games, and even a score wall with some impressive local Donkey Kong scores: http://barcadebrooklyn.com/

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