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Rebirth of the U.S. Arcade?

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the phoenix-like dept.

134

Gamasutra has an article up looking at Sega's plan to reinvigorate the arcade market through its recently purchased GameWorks chain. From the article: "I think what GameWorks has done has recognized where our opportunities are, and through our relationship with Sega — hopefully we're starting to see innovations back on the arcade side that bring a new and different environment and experience that people can't get at home. If you're familiar with House of the Dead 4 and the graphics that are a part of that, it's now starting to be back to having an appeal, starting to see some of that impact back on the arcade-side where you can't play in front of a 52-inch screen and have all of the very vibrant color and animation that's part of it — you can't just do that at home."

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134 comments

I don't know ... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652233)

Can I smoke some weed there like I do at home before playing? =)

Re:I don't know ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652426)

In Seattle: yes. But be sure not to light a cigarette. Secondhand smoke and all, you know?

Re:I don't know ... (1)

rblancarte (213492) | about 8 years ago | (#15654053)

I am pretty sure most people won't care, as long as you share.

Besides, last time I saw a cop in an arcade was never.

"Say, man, you got a joint?"
"No, not on me, man."
"It'd be a lot cooler if you did."

Re:I don't know ... (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about 8 years ago | (#15654459)

I would have put you in my Friend's list if you weren't an AC... 8^)_~

I sure hope so... (2, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15652239)

The arcade games at the local movie theater is at least ten years old. Would be nice to have some new arcade games or even (gasp!) pinball machines. I just wish the damn five-years-old stop beating at every game I try.

Re:I sure hope so... (1)

bcat24 (914105) | about 8 years ago | (#15652277)

Yeah, but maybe the reason they still the old games around is because they're still fun. (Galaga, anybody?)

Re:I sure hope so... (1)

dubmun (891874) | about 8 years ago | (#15652289)

...and Defender!

Re:I sure hope so... (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15652317)

I wrote 10 years ago, not 20. I would be overjoyed if the old games were available since no five-year-old could beat me -- unless he/she/it bites my knee-cap off. :P

Re:I sure hope so... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 8 years ago | (#15652296)

Gameworks needs to fix the Pinballs, update the roms and trun the sound volume up at the Schaumburg, Il Location. The people working there don't seem to know that much about fixing them. Thay do have new stern games and the rom updates that stern comes out with make game play better and you can download them for free form stern web site.

Re:I sure hope so... (1)

Saige (53303) | about 8 years ago | (#15652715)

Ahh... I remember the Schaumburg GameWorks. I spent about a year going there almost every Tues and Thurs evening to spend a few hours on Dance Dance Revolution. They had it in such a great place, at the curved section, with all that seating right there. I remember countless hours with people taking turns, me grabbing one pitcher of water after another from the bar (and even tipping the bartenders for being so helpful while providing a freebie), and just having fun. (Except for the day that I was there alone and some idiot stole my stuff while I was gone for a minute, including my new glasses with frames that I couldn't replace - c'mon, stealing GLASSES? Why be THAT MUCH of an ass?)

Re:I sure hope so... (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 8 years ago | (#15652354)

The problem I see with these is that they're too darned expensive to play anymore. It's not uncommon for me to see games with a play cost a $1 per play or occasionally even higher. Half of these same games can be purchased and played infinitely for less than $20 now. $0.25 per play was expensive way back "in the day", but at that time home consoles hadn't caught on quite as much as they have now. Drop the price per play down to $0.25 again, or even $0.10, and I'd probaby blow a lot of spare change in the things just waiting on a movie to start, or just killing some time on an afternoon (well, I don't live close enough to a city to really spend it at an arcade, but maybe if I was already at the mall or something).

As it is for $1 per play I just leave them sitting there, and from the looks of it so do most other people.

Re:I sure hope so... (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | about 8 years ago | (#15652455)

Agree completely. Fortunately, one of the movie theaters in town gives three games for a buck on terminator pinball. I usually drop at least a buck in it every time.

Re:I sure hope so... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15654120)

The cost of the machines is too high to only charge 25 cents to play. A better idea would be the system they set up in a video game rental shop in my home town 15 years ago. Set up a bunch of consoles (or MAME boxes if you like), and charge people $X per hour to play them. This works out a lot better for the customer who, when they aren't very good at the game, still end up getting their money's worth, and works out better for the arcade because they don't have to buy expensive hardware. Also, it's advertising, as many of people playing the game would buy it if they thought it was good enough. It also gives people a chance to try out games without having to buy a console. The store I went to had a NEO GEO set up and you could play that. It was wildly popular, because nobody had the money to buy it, but everyone had $5 to try it out.

pinball arcade needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652972)

Hate to admit it but pinball is still better than video games.

If... (1)

dubmun (891874) | about 8 years ago | (#15652242)

They get these [virtusphere.com] , I'll be there!

Like the Slots (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15652247)

They should have Penny, Nickel, Dime, and Quarter Arcade games ... just like they have Slots.

Re:Like the Slots (2, Funny)

travdaddy (527149) | about 8 years ago | (#15652314)

Here's a nomination for a penny game:

Professor Pac-Man [klov.com]

Re:Like the Slots (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15652335)

Probably by your 10th penny, Professor Pacman would start repeating questions :-)

Re:Like the Slots (1)

milkman_matt (593465) | about 8 years ago | (#15652645)

"They should have Penny, Nickel, Dime, and Quarter Arcade games ... just like they have Slots."

Some places do, back when I lived in Huntington Beach in CA we had 2 or 3 within driving distance, "Nickel Nickel" I believe Capcom bought them out, but it was $1.95 to get in, all games took the same number of nickels that it took in quarters elsewhere (for instance, Street Fighter II (which I bought one ;), tekken, MK) the games that used to take 2 quarters to start and 1 to continue, took 2 nickels to start and one to continue.. which was great, Top Skater was 20 cents. Older games, Ivan Stewart's Super Off Road, PacMan, Galaga, the ORIGINAL Star Wars game, Frogger, Bad Dudes, Double Dragon, the D&D games.. forget their names... Tempest, all of the older games were free. They probably had 30 or 40 games that were all free (maybe even more) the others, nothing cost you more than 20 cents per play. Loved that place, went there on lunch breaks from time to time. ;)

Hardware is the Key (4, Insightful)

spykemail (983593) | about 8 years ago | (#15652264)

Hardware is the key. I honestly do not believe that an arcade is going to come up with software that is going to take all of my quarters away from my new Apple prodcut piggy bank. Arcades need to concentrate on games that simply aren't nearly as fun or can't be played on a mouse, keyboard, or regular controller. They also need to cost quarters to play, not dollars *O.o.

Re:Hardware is the Key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652991)

More exotic hardware means more quarters are needed for the operator to pay it off.

Re:Hardware is the Key (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 years ago | (#15655540)

And asking for dollars means they get less quarters from me, that's for damn sure.

Arcades did not evolve properly! (5, Interesting)

Om (5281) | about 8 years ago | (#15652280)



Ok, I grew up in arcades when I was a wee tot, so I know my way around them pretty well. I went from Space Invaders, to Pac Man, to Pengo, to Dragon's Lair, to Karate Champ, to Street Fighter craze, to Killer Instinct, to .... you get the idea.

Video games were designed to play against other people. Even in the early days. Don't believe me? Think about it. Even though in those very early games you didn't specifically play against other people, you actually were indirectly. We were all playing to get the Hi-Scores. You were playing against the person who got the previous Hi-score, right? Remember how badass it was to get the top Hi-Score? That meant that your initials (and score) displayed top center all the time!

Video Game designed evolved to match players against other players more efficiently. They got pretty good at it too. Street Fighter II was not the most popular game because of it's single-player mode, afterall. Every modern arcade had a vs. mode, or at the very least a co-op mode.

So, what's my point?

People think that modern graphics advanced to the point that going to the arcade was essentially wasting money. A modern PC/console had better graphics (not to mention higher ress) than the crap at the arcade, so what was the point of leaving your house? But that's really not the entire story. People neglect to mention that multiplayer games had made major strides in PC gaming. Games like Quake brought multi-player to a whole new level. MMOGs like Ultima/Everquest made games like Cadash [klov.com] seem dated and boring.

There was one thing that was missing though, and this was in multi-player fighting games. PCs, or even consoles, could never _quite_ do it properly. Also, nothing beats the arcade controls/buttons when it comes to multi-player fighting games. I'm sorry, but I just never quite got the hang of fighting games using a console controller, nevermind a bloody keyboard/flight stick.

Now, here is what I think arcades should have done to get the one-up on PCs/Consoles. Since graphics will be at least par across both PCs/consoles/arcades, then they should take the multiplayer aspect to the next level.

Think about all the acades, like Tilt for instance (which is an arcade I see everywhere in Texas) all linked up via a nice WAN/LAN. If you walk in, and see an empty Soul Edge machine, you can jack in the queue, and play some other bloke standing at a Soul Edge machine at another location! All players, across all locations are now linked together.

Now, think about a giant electronic board that shows all the Hi-Scores across the _entire_ chain of Tilt stores (it could even be available to look at via the www while sitting at home). You can see who has the most wins in a row in Street Fighter 4. The fastest lap in . The highest score in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker [sydlexia.com] ... err... you get the idea.

I mean, Doesn't Golden Tee do something like this?

Anyway, I could go on and on. Arcades rooms really should start linking up their stores, and the arcade machines themselves, and drop all Hi-Scores across the organization into one DB accessable via a badass screen.

Arcades should go back to their roots. Then I would love to go back to the arcades and do a little Hi-Score Hunting!

++Om

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (3, Insightful)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | about 8 years ago | (#15652437)

Some sort of Smash Brothers for arcade would be great.. why only 2 people? Let's make it 4! or more! all connected! or 8 for car racing. That would be fun. I'd go with all my friends to the arcade games if there were more games like that

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | about 8 years ago | (#15652517)

This is a great idea... the only problem with it is lag. Fighting games rely too much on quick reactions that I don't think it could be pulled off well. The player across the world would be noticibly slower than the one standing right next to you.

I have noticed that the arcades that succeed are the ones that offer what you cannot get at home... at least, not easily. I walk into the Dave and Buster's here, and most of the video games here are light gun games, racing games, or DDR. You could get the setup for any one of these, but it's not part of a common console or PC setup anymore. You can get the steering wheel, shifter and pedals, but they aren't set into a sturdy interface like at the arcade, where you can slam the wheel or shifter around and not worry about knocking it off your desk.

I agree, it's the ability to compete against another on a fairly even level (I remember playing Track and Field against those who were actual athletes) that helps to make video games fun, but it's also the ability to offer what you can't get at home. And I would love it if some place offered one of the ultimate combinations of the two, i.e. pinball machines, and offered plenty of them. If D&B had a side room with about 10 pinball machines, I'd be there every week.

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | about 8 years ago | (#15654273)

FPS games also rely on lightning quick reactions, yet those seem to work pretty well over the internet. If the arcades had some decent dedicated connections between their sites, they could also help avoid occasional drop-outs and other latency related issues in online gaming.

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | about 8 years ago | (#15656021)

Not well enough that I'd be willing to pay per play. The only games that really compare to fighters in terms of latency demands are the hitscan-only shooters like CounterStrike (as opposed to projectile based games like Quake). In CS anyone with more than 100ms latency is not only going to be noticably laggier, but make the game worse for everyone if the server uses unlag prediction (that means when you run past a doorway and they shoot you, you get pulled back. Very disorientating). Also different is that fighters rely more on combos and reading whats about to happen based on slight movements -- Latency would kill that. In cs if a guy is aiming anywhere near you, you could die at any second with no way to defend yourself short of out-twitching them. In a fighter, you could be right next to someone but in no harm until their skin starts to animate, at which point you see what theyre about to do and know which counter to use.

At best you'd be able to do networked fighting within the state or maybe nearby states, but anything further would be too laggy. Even across the room would require an internal framework change that would throw a monkeywrench in the genre -- Right now all clients and server are in the same process, you split that into three and you've got serious issues with syncing.

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (2, Interesting)

VGR (467274) | about 8 years ago | (#15652934)

We were all playing to get the Hi-Scores. You were playing against the person who got the previous Hi-score, right? Remember how badass it was to get the top Hi-Score? That meant that your initials (and score) displayed top center all the time!

Now, think about a giant electronic board that shows all the Hi-Scores across the _entire_ chain of Tilt stores (it could even be available to look at via the www while sitting at home).

Anyway, I could go on and on. Arcades rooms really should start linking up their stores, and the arcade machines themselves, and drop all Hi-Scores across the organization into one DB accessable via a badass screen.

I agree that the reward of seeing your name at the top of the high score table, or in the table at all, was a huge part of the attraction of arcades. But I think your suggestion would actually sabotage that. If the high score table is nationwide (or continent-wide or worldwide), the odds of my getting a significant place in it are quite low. No reward.

Perhaps a compromise would work: show two high score tables, a networked one and a local one from the machine's own VRAM, as was done before. Being the local best is something most of us feel is within our reach.

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | about 8 years ago | (#15654141)

That and who wants to pay $1 to play a video game for 2 mins?

Lower the price and give me an experience I can't get at home and maybe I'll consider going to an arcade.

Although to be honest the older I get the less I care. There is no way in hell I would go out of my way to go to an arcade.

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (1)

modeless (978411) | about 8 years ago | (#15655021)

Global high score lists are depressing, because even if you're good your best score is likely orders of magnitude smaller than the global best by some obsessed guy whose entire life is spent playing the game. What would be better is private high score lists. The machines could identify you with a card and show the high scores of your friends, or your hometown, your age group, people with your last name, whatever. So you could realistically be the king of your own little category, with a little dedication. That's far better motivation than being #1288 on the global high score list.

Re:Arcades did not evolve properly! (1)

Hast (24833) | about 8 years ago | (#15656228)

But, isn't "internet cafes" or "game cafes" what has taken the place of arcade halls? I know that in my city (Malmö, Sweden) there are a handful of places that have arcade games. (Most of them 10+ years old and no-one plays them.) But there are dozens of game cafes where you rent a computer for an hour or two and play online.

They typically cost less than $10 an hour too, and you don't have to quite just 'cause you got shot. Seems like if arcade halls want to compete that's what they have to aim for.

Also why is it that all new arcade racers look like crap? I mean, I have not seen an arcade racing game which made me go "ohhh" in the last 10 years. It seems like putting a high end PC in a box with a big screen is more value for the money than a normal crappy arcade machine.

Eg, regarding racing games. You could have made a game like Project Gotham Racing 3 for quite a while if you targetted a high end PC. Put that and a stupid big screen in an arcade and I bet you have a winner.

And as another poster said, serve food/snacks and beer as well. Don't only target the 10 year olds, target companies (for off work activities) and bored people in their 20-30'ies.

In conclusion: Arcades are dead because they deserved to die. They haven't innovated in 10 years and today you can play games on your portable console that look as good as what you play in the arcade.

Handhelds? (1)

Square Snow Man (985909) | about 8 years ago | (#15652301)

Now (almost) everyone hase a handheld that can play games of very good quality how are they thinking to compete that? They better plaice them in locations where you don't come with your handheld like some sort of events and concerts.

Sega buys GameWorks? (2, Interesting)

JTD121 (950855) | about 8 years ago | (#15652324)

When I was younger, everytime I saw a GameWorks (like, three times), I always saw a huge multitude of Sega games there. As such, I believed that Sega owned and/or created the GameWorks franchises....I didn't know they weren't already owned by Sega.


However, if they do 'rebirth' the arcade market in the US, I hope to hell that they bring it to the East Coast, as I've only ever seen GameWorks on the West Coast....

Re:Sega buys GameWorks? (1)

Nephilium (684559) | about 8 years ago | (#15652655)

I know that there's one in Columbus, Ohio... not exactly East coast... but definitely not West coast...

Personally, I'm just a fan of beer and cigarettes at an arcade... I didn't outgrow the Chuck E. Cheese mindset... I've just changed my tastes from cardboard pizza to pints of Guinness...

Nephilium

Re:Sega buys GameWorks? (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | about 8 years ago | (#15655848)

Go find a Dave & Busters.
Not only do they have a monster arcade, there are light switches on the machines that indicate to the wait staff 'hey, I need another drink'. Fully stocked bar and a zillion kinds of beer, brought to you so you don't miss a beat (or a shot, or a race, or whatever.)

It is an adult environment (hence the ethanol) so expect to pay adult prices (like a dollar per game, but they are the high end games.)

Re:Sega buys GameWorks? (1)

WMD_88 (843388) | about 8 years ago | (#15654069)

If by GameWorks you mean the giant arcades with swiping cards instead of coins...they have one in Sunrise, FL. About 20 minutes from where I live...but I hardly ever go there.

Re:Sega buys GameWorks? (1)

notanatheist (581086) | about 8 years ago | (#15654118)

And there's another in Philly. Well, there was when I was there 7 years ago. Here's their map [gameworks.com]

Sega's involved? (2, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 8 years ago | (#15652325)

Well this can't possibly fail ...

Re:Sega's involved? (2, Informative)

ClamIAm (926466) | about 8 years ago | (#15654357)

Um, Sega has always been an arcade company. It's how they got their name (SErvice GAmes). Their home console failures have little to do with their arcade business.

Poor maintenence killed the arcade (4, Interesting)

t0qer (230538) | about 8 years ago | (#15652329)

Sure lots of folks like to say that consoles killed the arcade, but I just don't believe it. Arcades have always offered "You can't get this experience at home."

What I think really killed the arcade industry was operators that had Mr Crabs or Scrooge Mc Duck as operators.

I can't remember how many times I went into an arcade, plopped a token/quarter in the slot only to find that a button was broken, or a joystick and or steering wheel was loose. When i'd go to the operator asking for a refund, it was always met with some fat guy smelling like he hadn't showered in a week pointing at a sign that said, "Play at your own risk, no refunds!"

$0.25 is all it would have taken to keep me happy and coming back to my local arcade. Instead of cultivating customers for the long term though, most arcade operators just don't care. Attendance started dropping off, and as a result people started turning to PC's and console systems for their fix.

Re:Poor maintenence killed the arcade (3, Insightful)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | about 8 years ago | (#15652424)

Not to mention that prices for games have skyrocketed!

Olden days: $0.25=1 game
Now: up to $2.00 for ONE FREAKING GAME, depending on how huge or "immersive" the game case is.

Until they (the retailers, not the game companies, because the arcades themselves set the price), realize that I'll gladly pay over $2 in a game that I could play for even $0.50 a pop, than one that I would not play more than once at $2, or not at all, then they won't get customers. People don't have that kind of disposable income, at least not the kids that they want/need to revitalize the arcade.
Best of luck, because it's an awesome ideal. I loved the arcade. But I think people are greedy in terms of not fixing coin slots, but moreso in the pricing scheme of the games. Who wouldn't play the next rocking racing game for $.25 a pop, multiple times over and over... I would. More than you'd get out of me, by playing for $.75 or $1 at a time, that's for sure.

Re:Poor maintenence killed the arcade (1)

no_pets (881013) | about 8 years ago | (#15652676)

I'd bet that the $2.00 fee is designed for peak times (Friday/Saturday nights) when all the games are being used. How about the ability to easily reprice based on times? Would you be willing to pay $.25 on a Tuesday morning and $2.00 on Friday nights? Something to think about.

Re:Poor maintenence killed the arcade (1)

Cais (682659) | about 8 years ago | (#15652877)

As bad as that is, it's nothing compared to what I saw when I was in Japan. Nearly every arcade game there was ¥100 minimum, with some games costingup to ¥300 for a single play.

Re:Poor maintenence killed the arcade (1)

milkman_matt (593465) | about 8 years ago | (#15653322)

Absolutely -- you want to revitalize an arcade, drop the prices. Hell I used to play SFII at a local deli by my house as a kid, seriously, these people made a killing off of us. We'd get up to go wait for the bus a couple hours early and play $1 to start, $.50 to continue (genius, insures that quarters keep going into that thing, because nobody wants to pay a dollar, and it's constant PvP so someone is losing and having to put in another $.50) ...I swear I put so much money in that machine it was ridiculous, ended up buying one about 10 years later, and I probably spent more on it as a kid than I did when I purchased the damned thing. You drop prices back down to the 50/25 or 1/50 that they USED to be, and you can be sure people will come back, hell, half the 'new' customers would be people of our generation going back to play old favorites on the cheap. Because seriously, as has been said before, you just can't play some games on the console. I have that cabinet, and I had SFII Annv. for PS2, playing it on PS2 is a joke, there's too much missing.

Now that I think about it... when I had that Nickel Nickel arcade near me, at 25 or so I was going to play games on my lunch break when I felt like gettin' away from the office for a while, it cost me 1.95 to get in, and I'd play another 75c to a dollar while I was in there, and I'd gone there several times. However, I won't even give an arcade game in an arcade or theater or whatever a second look...

One last problem, originality.. Seriously, is Time Crisis THAT much different from House of the Dead, or isn't there a Ghost Recon in the arcade that's just like it too? They're all the same, just another shooter, just another racecar game... but now the racecar games use real cars... why bother? Datona USA didn't use real cars, SF Rush (The Rock kicked ass) didn't use real cars... Hard Drivin' didn't use real cars, those games all kicked ass, original and fun. Just make new and original games, and charge $1 or less for them and you're set... Hell, I walked through an arcade at the casino (went to the theater there) last weekend, the only game I saw there I wanted to play was a sit-down Mario Kart.. They had a ROLLER COASTER game for godsakes... you put in few dollars, and it moves, and you're in a roller coaster for 2 minutes... hell, that casino has a REAL roller coaster for 12 bucks (which granted, it's a lot, but the fake video game roller coaster was like 3 or 4 bucks I think.)

Arcade managers have head up the ass disease lately. And we all pay for that. :(

Re:Poor maintenence killed the arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15653546)

i used to work at a nickel nickel. the owners just dont care.

Cost killed the arcade. It's dead, Jim. (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15652369)

The only plan to revitalize the arcade would be to reduce what it costs to play a game. The only way to do that is to make arcade games substantially more durable, because they are expensive to maintain. It would also help to make them cheaper. Unfortunately, making them more reliable would make them more expensive. So, obviously I don't have THE ANSWER(tm).

Regardless, it costs maybe $200 to get a decent used console with a couple peripherals, and $20 per used game, so let's say $300 to play give games as much as you want. Since new release games cost one dollar and up per play that's maybe 300 games, which will take between 30 seconds and what, five minutes? Ten if you're a super-pimp? By the time you've learned the combos on a new fighting game, you could have bought the last version and taken it home.

Speaking for myself, it would require that all games were fifty cents or less per play before I would go back to spending a lot of time in arcades.

There are a handful of arcades that run on nickels, if it's normally a dollar game it's a twenty cent game. They tend to have prize systems and snack bars, though, as well as other merchandise. They also tend to be COMPLETELY PACKED.

Re:Cost killed the arcade. It's dead, Jim. (1)

milkman_matt (593465) | about 8 years ago | (#15653455)

The only way to do that is to make arcade games substantially more durable, because they are expensive to maintain.

Iiiiii'd have to disagree with ya' there... my cabinet is -extremely- durable, I think you'd need an axe to hurt that thing... i'm sure it's pushin' more than 300lbs of some very solid wood added with a very heavy 29" monitor, and it's still not top-heavy. These things are incredibly durable..

a good place to introduce new games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652396)

Arcades would be great to introduce new games to gamers. Let them sample and socialize a little in person.
I rarely play any games so don't listen to me.

I'll go back to the arcade (2, Insightful)

casualsax3 (875131) | about 8 years ago | (#15652398)

The day I can play a game for 25 cents. Seriously - I'd end up spending a dollar anyway - it's absurd that companies expect you to shell out $1.00 for 2 minutes of gameplay.

Re:I'll go back to the arcade (2, Funny)

Orangedog_on_crack (544931) | about 8 years ago | (#15654594)

Holy Shit....I just realized that I'm old enough to do a Grumpy Old Man rant on this issue(!):

Rebirth of the arcade....FLIBITTY FLOO! We didn't have any of these fancy, multi-story arcades with their realistic graphics and surround sound when I was kid. In my day, arcades were in run down strip malls where the roaches were big enough carry off the small tikes. You had to ask a human to give you some quarters in exchange for the five pounds of un-wrapped nicles and dimes we brought with us. Then we had to wait our turn to play a black and white game with a little dot and two lines on a screen and pretend they were a ball and ping pong paddles.

Then when we wanted to get all fancy we'd play a vector graphic game like Tempest. Then right when we were about to get the high score, the vector monitor would burst into flames and we'd all go "Ooooh, look at me...I'm running around on fire because because the X-Y monitor in the Tempest machine couldn't handle the strain!" and that's the way it was AND WE LIKED IT!

The Arcades Market aren't being properly explored. (2, Interesting)

cronot (530669) | about 8 years ago | (#15652402)

Nowadays, mostly every computer and videogame on the market can have a game at the an arcade level. Flashy graphics, cool sound, cockpits and other stuff don't cut it anymore, all consoles from the last 3~4 years have that (except for the cockpits, but that's already dull anyway). They have to innovate on the Interface. I say, let go of the joysticks, buttons, wheels, etc. They need to make the player immerse more on the action using interfaces similar to Nintendo's Wii controler, but more refined for the especific game. Actually, I think a big killer and the next big thing for Arcades would be VR games. I understand the technology isn't quite there yet, but then again, the industry had plenty of time to mature the technology, by means of investments - the Arcardes market was really sleeping at the wheel. I actually saw a VR game years ago, but it didn't took off. The glasses weighted a bit too much, and the interface felt awkward mostly because of that, it didn't feel natural.

In summary, what the Arcade market needs to delivery is something that people can't get on their living room.

Re:The Arcades Market aren't being properly explor (1)

kyouteki (835576) | about 8 years ago | (#15653234)

Like DDR. Dance Dance Revolution almost saved the arcades in my hometown. It was about the only game anyone played (well, that, and Soul Calibur II) and there were ALWAYS people on the machines. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough in the end.

I think they're already trying that... (1)

CreateWindowEx (630955) | about 8 years ago | (#15653808)

The last time I went into an arcade, it was full of all kinds of custom input games--games where you sat on a jet-ski that moved, or stood on skies, rode on a horse, etc, not to mention of course DDR and all the lightgun-based games. (Obviously the last two have console equivalents, but not as many people are likely to have dance pads or lightguns). I know in Japan they have a game where you stick a finger-shaped thing into a fake butt. These types of things probably add a lot to the price of the machine, because they have to withstand all kinds of abuse and still work, plus because they require more custom hardware. VR that doesn't suck would be cool, but I suspect that there won't be much of a window between the point where it is feasible to have good arcade VR setups that don't cost $20 per minute to when they are mass produced for home use. Pinball, something that doesn't really feel right on a console, is dying, and is down to only one manufacturer (Stern).

I don't know if the traditional arcade is really ever going to succeed again--I would bet that game machines will linger on in places like bars and nightclubs where you have a captive audience who are unlikely to be carrying handhelds, but that market is probably satisfied with Golden Tee and various low-tech casual games.

Dropping the Price of the Machines is a Good Start (1)

Manatra (948767) | about 8 years ago | (#15652425)

Perhaps making an arcade cabinet not cost $10 000 would be a start. The main reason the arcade is dead is because the things cost so much to buy, which would be passed on to the consumer, and paying $2 to play a machine for five minutes is not my idea of a good time.

Re:Dropping the Price of the Machines is a Good St (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15654161)

And the entire experience is stupid anyway. They would be better off building MAME cabinets, so that everyone could play every game. It sucks going to the arcade, and all the good games are taken up by the kids with too much money, while the rest of us are stuck playing Q-Bert. Oh, and they could charge by time played, not per game. This is the thing that bothers me the most. If you suck, you pay your $1, and then you get to play for 5 minutes. WTF is that? Even games that you are good at get extremely hard at some point to make sure you keep popping in quarters. Just charge for the time played, and stop trying to annoy the new customers.

Rebirth? (1)

Eightyford (893696) | about 8 years ago | (#15652432)

I guess that's probably better than arcade afterbirth.

umm...we can't get the same experiance at home? (1)

Traiklin (901982) | about 8 years ago | (#15652466)

maybe I missed something but...
starting to see some of that impact back on the arcade-side where you can't play in front of a 52-inch screen and have all of the very vibrant color and animation that's part of it -- you can't just do that at home.
you can't get the same feeling of playing a gun game that is released on home consoles (PS2 especially but there was a HOTD on xbox with a gun and it's supposedly coming out on the 360 aswell) because you don't have a 52-inch screen with vibrant colors?

All I keep hearing about with next gen is bigger TV's, "you need a 52inch HDTV to experiance it to the full extent!" "you need this big ass tv to exerpiance it properly!"

Sure before each system said they would support High Def this might of been timely and made sence but right now, it seems like the "Hardcore" videophile/gamer will have a 52 inch TV (or even bigger) with vibrant color and will be playing HOTD4 on their 360 right in their living room.

So the only thing they can do is make arcades with outragius controllers (Steel Battalion would of made a great arcade game) and more immersive controlls (like if it's a motorcycle game you need to be on one, if it's a car racing game you need to be on a car). There really isn't a whole lot they can do to impress people and make them want to go to the arcade anymore, When you look at the price to play a game (upto $2 a pop last I saw and this was like 6 or 7 years ago) you really have to offer something people can't get at home, naturally this isn't going to happen since they want to make as much money possible off the game so they release it for the home consoles and thus negating the arcade experiance (since you don't have to worry about the little shit that wipped his ass on the controlls or if a button will work or not).

Online, more impressive controllers & fun gameplay are the only things that can bring the arcade industry back but when someone looks at an arcade game then a home console game and sees the HCG is better on graphics, length and is cheaper in the long run it's rather hard to convince people to go to an arcade, deal with someone who just doesn't give a shit about you, the arcades or even their own hygene just so you can get a couple minutes of fun from a broken down machine.

Re:umm...we can't get the same experiance at home? (1)

Salamande (461392) | about 8 years ago | (#15653562)

Good points, except for one:
(Steel Battalion would of made a great arcade game)
No way in hell. I own the game, and I love it to death, but they'd be crazy to make it an arcade game. The goddamn controller has 40 buttons (granted, most of them are of limited use, but still...) Unless people were willing to spend 10-15 bucks just learning the controls and getting their asses shot off -- and I really don't think most people would be willing to do that -- it would be a rarely played curiosity, at best. Even if they set it up like the old Battletech centers, it still wouldn't do well. They'd have to simplify it quite a bit...but then, it wouldn't be Steel Battalion, would it?.

Re:umm...we can't get the same experiance at home? (1)

Traiklin (901982) | about 8 years ago | (#15654199)

well I was thinking like the controller, only cut out about 30-35 buttons on it.

you have the ejector button but that would end the game (naturally), The peddels and just two joysticks with the buttons you need.

sure it would be more simplified but is there truely a need for 40 buttons on a controller? there isn't a ton of games that use all the buttons on a standard controller as it is (or atleast in some cases not very well) and that's only 10 buttons.

Mainly I was thinking of the peddels and joysticks for any mech game released in the arcade, cause that's the kind of interactivity needed for arcades, when you go to the arcade it used to be about games looking better and playing differently then what you got at home, when you get the same or even better experiance at home then you do at the arcade you don't really keep people.

Take Afterburner for example, if you played the real arcade version (there's two version I know of, the sit in model and then a standing model) then you get jerked around everytime you move the stick and it does it's best to immerse you into the game as a fighter pilot, where as at home you just had the controller and nothing more to immerse you into the game (Granted Yu really knew you had to immerse people or provide a really great game (or both of course) to get them coming back), wow...trying to think of a lot of games that immerse you I keep coming up with his, The only other one I can think of is Time Crisis series. At the arcade I LOVE this game, if I see this anywheres I just HAVE to play it, when I saw they had it for the PS1 & then PS2 it just wasn't the same, not having that peddel to step on to open fire on people just didn't immerse me into the game as much and it was the exact same game that was in the arcades (even the lightgun that came with it had the kickback to it).

The major drawback to the arcades though, is they cost so much. I went searching for Time Crisis 3 arcade game, the only one I could find was the dual screen one (that had a price anyways) and it was $13,000. now this was for two TV's that would cost you AT MOST $500 (and that's for 2 and stretching it, they were only 20 inch screens) and the cabnit. This is why you don't see to many new arcade games anywheres, the only one that seems to even make it's money back is DDR but they are just as expensive.

So you have to wonder, if Time Crisis 3 with two 20 inch screens costs $13,000, how much is HOTD 4 going to cost with it's 52inch Plasma or LCD TV going to cost somewheres to put into place? more importantly would they even bother with it? (looking at best buy the cheaest 52inch TV they have is $1499.99 so right off the top you have double that cause the monitor has to be custom made for the system) sure in the past it was easy to just write off a broken arcade unit since they were only $5000 at most, by the time they broke they made their money back and enough to buy another replacement unit but once you hit that $10k mark they need to be rather durable and not break for quite a long time, If a $13,000 arcade game let you play for $0.50 a pop (that's how much it cost me to play TC3) you would need 26,000 plays to break even on the unit...now I don't know about the average arcade game but 26,000 plays is going to take a rather heafty toll on the game no matter how strong the unit is, so god help you if it's not a popular game and god help you if it is, cause either way you are going to lose money on it.

wow I rambled on there, anyways, Steel batallion would make a good arcade game but they would have to trim it way down on the buttons and make the cabnit easy to get into (maybe model it after the actual pilots seat in the game?) so the immersion of the game is even greater cause that's the only way they are going to get people back, give us an experiance we can't get at home...unfortunatly that means either releasing game ONLY in the arcade and never at home (naturally won't happen) or make the cabnits so memorable that people would rather go to the arcade and play it then staying home to play it.

Dave and Busters (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 8 years ago | (#15652491)

Other than the games I've seen in the local bowling alley, about the only arcades one sees is Dave and Busters. The problem with D&Bs is IMHO, that it's 'credit based'. So you pay X to to charge up a card and a game costs Y credits. The thing is the more you play the more credits your dollar buys. Kinda like a volume discount. If you don't go very often, then you're always getting the fewest # of credits per dollar.

The kicker tho is, it's very hard to tell a) how many credits you have on your card and b) how many credits a game takes. What kills me is that half the games they have cost $5 and are "timed", meaning that as you play you are running out of time. The classic example of this is Gauntlet, where even if you aren't hit, you are running outta health.

Re:Dave and Busters (1)

milkman_matt (593465) | about 8 years ago | (#15653512)

Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me -- I wish I could go back and edit my posts because I wanted to bring up this point myself and I forgot.

This card based arcade game system blows, sure it's good for the arcade, guaranteed 20 bucks worth of gaming (wow, 10 games) and it's 'convenient' for the kids, because you only have to carry one card! but you can't keep track of how much you have as easily when it's in that stupid card, D&B and Gameworks are the WORST with this too, because 20 bucks gets you something like 17 credits or some strange number last time I worked, where it wasn't 20 credits, or 20 dollars, it was hard to even get the math to work with how much you got on those cards, and then they charge some weird shit like 7.5 credits for a game, so it's hard to work out how much of your card that'll take up or how much that is in real money. Stop trying to confuse kids (and adults) and just use friggin' quarters, was it really that hard to manage all of those quarters? Not everything needs to be paperless, I'm sure those credit cards are the arcade accountant or manager's dream, no more trips to the money sorter or bringing in bags of quarters to the bank or whatever.. but seriously, make it fun for the kids, and easy to figure out how much something costs, confusing price schemes at a kid's arcade is just dirty. That being said, I won't play at an arcade that requires a card, I'll grab a few quarters out of my pocket though while walking past a machine that accepts them.. So I guess that's one win for the quarter machines (that assumes that said machine is under a dollar, too.) Those guys win my money whenever.

Re:Dave and Busters (4, Interesting)

DLWormwood (154934) | about 8 years ago | (#15654666)

This card based arcade game system blows, sure it's good for the arcade,

Believe it or not, the card system isn't just to get the $20 up front. In many municipalities (like Schuamburg, IL, which has a GW location), there are laws on the books to strongly curtail coin-operated machinery. Originally written to restrict underage access to coin-op cigarette machines, they were heavily re-inforced in the early 80's as a moral panic about video games and juvinile deliquency (first of many )-:) spread through the popular consciousness. I first heard about this because Schuamburg used to also have a card reader arcade in Woodfield as part of the defunct Mars 2112 restaurant.

Re:Dave and Busters (1)

MoneyT (548795) | about 8 years ago | (#15656613)

Actualy, I think the card based system could work wonders if applied differently. Not by credits, but by time. Have the machines in the arcade set up to accept quarters or the card. The card costs $X / hr or half hour of play and is accepted at all the machines, meanwhile the games also accept quarters (even if you keep the current prices this works). That way the people just here on their lunch break can pop in for a quick 25 or so game and the kids looking for something to do for the afternoon can pay their $5 or 10 and not have to worry about running out of quarters at the last boss. Conveniently this also gives car users an incentive to have quarters arround too because when they get game over and find their time has expired, the only way they could continue is to use quarters and have someone go refill their card.

The problem with arcades: bad food service (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 8 years ago | (#15652578)

Surprisingly, the profitability problem with arcades isn't the games. It's the food service. See this consultant's report: "Food Service and Location-Based Leisure Projects" [whitehutchinson.com] . "The only location-based entertainment (LBE) venues that will be profitable in the future are those that draw guests because of, not in spite of, the chow." Consider Chuck E Cheese [chuckecheese.com] , Nolan Bushnell's original pizza/arcade operation from 1977, which has 500 locations. They've stayed in business through three decades and all the generations of consoles. And they're profitable.

As the consultants put it, A well-designed and managed food & beverage operation can generate a 40+% profit after deducting cost-of-goods-sold and labor. Ban the words "snack bar" and "concession" from your vocabulary. Think café and restaurant instead.

They're probably right. That's something an arcade can deliver that you can't get at home.

Domino's Pizza (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 years ago | (#15652870)

[The Chuck E. Cheese experience of pizza and video games is] something an arcade can deliver that you can't get at home.

Huh huh, you said deliver [dominos.com] . What else can CEC offer that a video game store plus a pizza parlor can't?

Re:Domino's Pizza (2, Funny)

basscomm (122302) | about 8 years ago | (#15653333)

What else can <Chuck E. Cheese> offer that a video game store plus a pizza parlor can't?
A puppet show.

America: Fsck Yeah! (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 years ago | (#15653551)

I can get a puppet show at home: Netflix + Team America: World Police.

Re:The problem with arcades: bad food service (1)

identity0 (77976) | about 8 years ago | (#15653000)

Which reminds me, the only really cool arcade I've seen is Ground Kontrol in Portland, which has a bar serving beer :) As well as an old Nintendo with nearly every game for it, which is suprisingly lacking in most places.

As we have a slowly aging gamer demographic, hopefully we will see more acrade bars in the future. "Gimme a bloody mary and a cart of Castlevania, please"

Re:The problem with arcades: bad food service (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 8 years ago | (#15653410)

As the consultants put it, "A well-designed and managed food & beverage operation can generate a 40+% profit after deducting cost-of-goods-sold and labor. Ban the words 'snack bar' and 'concession' from your vocabulary. Think café and restaurant instead."

They're probably right. That's something an arcade can deliver that you can't get at home.


When Virtual World was still around, I used to go down to the Costa Mesa location even when I didn't have the $8 to play a mission. I'd go up to the bar and get an iced tea for $2 (or something like that) and maybe some bread sticks, and talk and joke with the other players and the techs for an hour. Occasionally, one of the players would spring for a mission or two for me, which was cool.

I'd gladly go back if something like that were re-opened.

Re:The problem with arcades: bad food service (2, Informative)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | about 8 years ago | (#15653550)

If you're anywhere near one, Dave & Buster's is pretty much what you're looking for if Chuck E. Cheese isn't quite your idea of great food.

Back in the day, what made arcade games work (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 8 years ago | (#15652611)

Arcade games were a step ahead of what you could get at home. Once home games equalled arcade games, arcades died. Its simple economics. Arcades could come back, but it'd require a game experience you can't get in home. Some mentioned VR, but even racing games are what are in arcades now, but they suck. It would require something revolutionary to bring back arcades, and the rise of the home gaming systems is so revolutionary, I can't see arcades beating it any time soon.

Didn't Sega already try this? (2, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | about 8 years ago | (#15652680)

I don't know how widespread these places were, but in Toronto Sega opened several huge arcade centres called "Playdium". They had all the latest arcade cabinets in their hugest and coolest forms, plus tried n' true titles and retro areas. Plus they featured batting cages, rock climbing, go karts, motion simulators, Skee-ball and other ticket games, and I don't even know what else because I could never make it all the way around those places.

For some reason most of these places flopped. I believe they had 3 locations including an all-hours store in the entertainment district downtown. Strangely, that was the location to close first. Now the only one left is the first store in Mississauga which is a good 40KM from downtown.

They sound great in theory but in the end they're annoying. You have to stand in huge lines to play anything good and there's no "code of honour" to keep people from continuing their games indefinitely. Games are all priced differently and you pay via arbitrary "credits" on paycards that invariably leave you with 4.7 unusable and non-refundable doodads. Many card sliders are broken and either prevent you from playing, steal your credits, or require multiple swipes which take longer than a continue countdown timer.

These places are great for tourists but, aside from the odd $20 allnighter, are too expensive and too much of a drive for residents to call a regular hangout.

I, for one, would much sooner play PC on my 19" monitor or PS2 on my 31" TV than get jostled around by tittering tweens 45 minutes from my house.

Re:Didn't Sega already try this? (1)

Nexzus (673421) | about 8 years ago | (#15652851)

I worked at the Playdium in Burnaby, BC in 1998-1999 when I was in grade 12. It was busy as heck when it first opened but when I left 8 months later, I noticed crowds had noticeably shrunk. It closed down in early 2005, and frankly, I was surprised it lasted as long as it did. The rent must have been astronomical (40,000 square feet in the largest mall in BC), and I doubt they could even amortize their larger attractions. They just didn't have the turnover.

Good memories though. Free games, hot chicks - the ultimate high school job.

Game Works (2, Interesting)

stinkbot (975328) | about 8 years ago | (#15652709)

It seems that many of the comments about arcades have already been addressed by GameWroks. Many of you may not be farmiliar with the chain or looked at the prices and walked right back out. The GameWorks in Grapevine Mills Mall is just outside of Dallas and I have been there several times. At ten P.M. they kick out everyone under the age of 18. You pay around $20 for two hours of access to every game. They serve food and alcohol. I have a beer, a game and no screeming brats. It works. the place is packed at night. The place is a horrible rip off unless you pay for time. Paying to play individual games would burn up $20 in fifteen minutes. Also about broken machines. They have on site staff to fix the games.

Daytona USA 2 (2, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 years ago | (#15652729)

was mentioned in the article, and it's 7 bloody years old. I mean, really, what's needed are cabinets with interchangable hardware so it's not so expensive to add new games. Jamma was a good idea, but as soon as 3D hit big, it was thrown by the wayside in favor of custom hardware. And Clint's assertion that people don't have 52" screens with vibrant color and animation is just silly. The last couple House of the Dead games ran on x86/Nvidia hardware, and I know plenty of people with 52" tvs. Bolting a sports bar on isn't going to help much either. OTOH, tournaments are good. Might give people a reason to go to the arcade again.

Re:Daytona USA 2 (1)

milkman_matt (593465) | about 8 years ago | (#15653567)

Daytona USA 2 was mentioned in the article, and it's 7 bloody years old.

And it was a great game then, and still is now. At Dave n' Busters they have I think 8 of those networked where you can race against 7 other people and every time I walked in there it was packed.. The cool thing about those isn't that you have a unique track to race, it's that you have a unique racing experience based on the other people seated around you, makes it fun.

Re:Daytona USA 2 (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 8 years ago | (#15656521)

And Clint's assertion that people don't have 52" screens with vibrant color and animation is just silly. The last couple House of the Dead games ran on x86/Nvidia hardware, and I know plenty of people with 52".

Jebus, what world do you live in? "Plenty of people"? Then again, being Slashdot, I suspect the readership is skewed toward the more affluent.

Honestly, while it's certainly true that *some* people can duplicate the arcade experience at home, I really doubt that's the case for your average American. They're too busy putting the kids through school, paying the mortgage (for the house they can barely afford), and keeping the car full of gas. Heck, speaking for myself, I know of one single solitary person with a >= 52" TV, and he's not what I would call a person of average means.

the chorus (1)

bryan_is_a_kfo (976654) | about 8 years ago | (#15652759)

i'd like to join in the chorus of voices saying basically this:

if you want my interest back in the arcade gaming arena, you need to become more competitive price-wise with other gaming markets, like the consoles and PCs I already own and play for free

As someone who builds arcade machines... (2, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 8 years ago | (#15652860)

This is old news.

People like me, who build arcade machines (though I own a MAME-based machine, most of the machines I build use a game I've written called Jewel Crash which is very similar to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo), can't set the prices. That's left up to the people who end up operating the machines. I work at an arcade where most of the video games are $0.50 and the ticket games are $0.25; there's a ton of pass-through, but it's also located at a resort so there's a lot of built-in clientele among the kids.

The machines aren't new. The most played game is Area 51, with Skee-Ball being a close second. But they get a metric fuckton of use. Part of it's the cheap play; part of it's just that the games are addictive.

Someone up above suggested having varying price structures ($0.25 on a Tuesday morning and $2.00 on a Friday afternoon). This is a great idea. I've been tried to work on the same thing on a newer-type cabinet--I have the advantage of being the one who wrote the game, so I can build the machine and edit the code as well. The problem is that it vastly increases the price of building the cabinet. It also means that every old-style game is suddenly incompatible with new machines.

The standard coin doors that you see in arcades can't support that. Coin mechanisms are based on an electronic switch. When you drop in a coin that validates (there's a different mech for quarters, brass tokens, nickels, or whatever), it completes a circuit. It's no different to the program running it than a button press (indeed, MAME cabinets usually have a button that simulates a coin drop). Every arcade coin mech I've ever seen operates like this and doesn't accept more than one type of coin/token.

There are mechanisms that accept multiple types of coins. They're pricey as hell and I've never seen one that interfaces with an arcade system (like the I-PAC, which most people use in combination with PC hardware to simulate behavior with MAME or PC-written "arcade" games).

Basically--the current method of arcade systems is not conducive to modern entertainment centers. And unless they can find USB-based or even serial-connecting coin devices that are as cheap as the current coin mechs--I don't see anything like this working out.

Re:As someone who builds arcade machines... (1)

drwiii (434) | about 8 years ago | (#15653064)

It also means that every old-style game is suddenly incompatible with new machines.

The first thing that comes to mind is to proxy the coin. Wire something to sit between the coin drop and the board, and set the board to 1 coin 1 play. When someone drops x number of coins at a certain time, send 1 coin down to the board and they get their credit.

Re:As someone who builds arcade machines... (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 8 years ago | (#15653119)

I've tried it (microswitches and a PIC). Still have the problem of ridiculously expensive coin mechs (if you can even find them--I can't). Nice idea, though.

Re:As someone who builds arcade machines... (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 8 years ago | (#15653316)

Heh. You just reinvented the Credit Multiplier.

Seeburg did that in the 1960's with discrete transistor flip-flops. Jukeboxes and vending machines that use multi-coin rejectors (as GP pointed out, expensive) use the circuit to make a quarter register 5 "nickel pulses". I used to work for Stern on the old Seeburg line in the '80s and we were still making some of that 20 year old stuff.

The pricing was set by wire jumpers, the difficulty is remoting them somehow for rapid price changes.

Gimme! (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 8 years ago | (#15653810)

I have an irrational desire for this product right now. I'd be PERFECTLY happy if all it did was send "nickel pulses" and let the code handle it...

Where can I get 'em these days? (Obviously I've Googled, but maybe you know somewhere cheap?

Re:Gimme! (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 8 years ago | (#15653887)

Hmm the old modules were called "Red Boxes" which were the credit totalizers, the "Blue Box" and "Grey Box" were the selection logic and core memory ("Tormat"!) driver/sensors.

Later in the 70's they used custom MOS IC's, for this, then again with CMOS 4000 IC gate logic. Finally, in the '80's they went to a custom masked MK3840 MCU.

Re:As someone who builds arcade machines... (2, Interesting)

kyouteki (835576) | about 8 years ago | (#15653302)

Easy. Make the amount of coins you need for one credit different at different times during the day. So, at 10 in the morning, it might be 1 Coin = 1 Credit. At 7pm on Friday, it could be 3 Coins = 1 Credit. Sounds easy enough to me.

Re:As someone who builds arcade machines... (2, Insightful)

assassinator42 (844848) | about 8 years ago | (#15653529)

That's a horrible idea. Playing an arcade game is already too expensive. Maybe if it was 10 cents on tuesday morning and 25 cents on friday afternoon. I suppose pricing based on time works for the movies. Although, I refuse to pay the full evening rate.

Re:As someone who builds arcade machines... (1)

Pearson (953531) | about 8 years ago | (#15653883)

I realize that you don't have control over this, but at Dave and Busters they only use card swipes to activate the games, not coins. This helps with the pricing because the user fills up a card with points and then the operator can charge any number of points per play on a machine by machine basis (they don't change the cost on a day or time basis that I know of, but they could, I guess). By using points instead of pennies, they break the connection the user would have to spending units of money, plus they can offer discounts for buying points in bulk so the point-to-money conversion is even less intuitive.

Swipe-cards are BOGUS. (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 8 years ago | (#15656118)

Granted, I'm less interested in a video-only arcade than most people, in favor of a ticket-giving, redemption-counter sort of deal, but swipe-card machines suck for a number of reasons.

- A lot of ticket-spewing games use the coin/token to hit a target. You've just ruled out those games.
- Tokens and coins appeal to kids. Same deal with tickets. Kids like collecting tickets and (apparently) bouncing around with the coins in hand. The invention of those Ticket Eater machines that count tickets, shred them, and print out a receipt are GENIUS for people who have to work ticket counters.
- I don't have to worry about card readers and all of that crap with mechanical coin mechs. If a card reader breaks, I can't fix it. If a mechanical coin mech breaks, I can fix it, and generally pretty easily.

Dave and Buster's generally sucks, in my experience. I would never go there. The staff at the ones I've been to has been uniformly uninformed and clueless. A game hung, and they taped the thing over--instead of power cycling it...

Underwhelming. (1)

VGR (467274) | about 8 years ago | (#15652867)

After reading the article, I don't feel like I know any more than I did before reading it. Take the closing paragraph from the Gameworks guy being interviewed:
"Sega Entertainment is looking at expanding the U.S. market, that's what our focus and vision is. We will work with Sega of Japan, we're going to work with them on taking GameWorks abroad as the opportunities present themselves. Right now we're working on the U.S. and making GameWorks as big as we can."

So ... you're going to do ... something. Am I supposed to get even a little excited by this? (Insert "???/Profit" joke here.)

When I hear someone talk about trying make an arcade "appeal to the whole family" I know it's already doomed. The notion that arcades were sinister places was always completely incorrect. No one actually bought or sold drugs in arcades. So a lot of resources will be going into making the establishment "family friendly," which will appear to have no effect because there was never anything to fix, instead of concentrating on making good games that cost less than a dollar per play.

They need to lower the price of games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652906)

in order for the arcade to come back. Arcade games are not known for immersion they are mostly twitch games....which are fine but for a $1 a game (and if your like me back in the day it was nothing to drop $40 at an arcade) you can get a better quality gaming experience by taking that same amount of money to buy a game for a home console. I say bring back pinball...cause that was the most fun and drop games back down to at least 50 cents if not a quarter.....but at a dollar? Why pump money into house of the dead 4 when you can go buy it for around the same amount. Another problem with arcade games is they no longer give you the time reward.....meaning the better you are the longer you can stretch a quarter.....games now a days often have time limits or a situation will occur in game play that garuntees you lose life. This often happens in shooting games where multiple creatures will pop up in front of you and hit you at the same time....garunteeing a loss of life. If arcades really wanted to succeed they'd go after the competition asspect where the loser walks and the winner gets to keep playing. This is one aspect that made fighting games so much fun.

Net Cafe's are the new arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15652913)

Hmmm, I havent really seen much happening in the arcade since DDR. But I have noticed a lot of activity at so called 'internet cafes' which specialize in online gaming. Often with a 100 or more PCs, packed with students getting a little death match.

I think there are two key elements in the rise of the game cafe
a) quite compeling online game experiences
b) flat rate costs

Having a flat rate means that a nood doesnt feel like they are getting ripped a new one compared to spending 50c for 30 seconds of gameplay.
Additionally, countries where broadband, or even computers, are too expensive for individuals have seen huge success of cafes.

Just like movies, the arcade has to go beyond hardcore gaming, and offer more. Food seems obvious ( real food ), as does flat rate pricing.

Population density (2, Informative)

Froobly (206960) | about 8 years ago | (#15653503)

As the article says, and as everyone has commented, games are expensive these days. The days when arcade cabinets were relatively inexpensive and a half a generation ahead of the home systems are long gone, so that economic model can't work. You simply cannot have an arcade on every corner and have them all stay in business.

The key factor is a large, immediately accessible population. It's why the world's megalopolises like Tokyo and Hong Kong have booming arcade businesses while the rest of the world just doesn't. Even in Japan, it's only places like Tokyo and Osaka that actually have good, successful arcades that aren't attached to a bowling alley or other big draw. I live in Sakai, which was until recently a suburb of Osaka. It has roughly the population density of Seattle, and it has about a half dozen arcades that I can think of. Most of those arcades are filled primarily with slot machines and mahjongg games, with a few music games off in the corner.

Downtown Osaka, a mere thirty minutes away by train, is a wonderland of good arcades. In the entertainment districts, there's practically one on every corner. The difference is throughput. When you can expect a million people to pass in front of a location every weekend, it makes sense to put an arcade there and stock it full of a million dollars worth of arcade equipment. You can afford to hire people to make sure they work right, and you can afford to share that business with five other arcades within a one-mile radius. If you don't have that kind of population, then you can't have an arcade in this day and age. In Seattle, I can't think of a place that's nearly that crowded on a regular basis, where teenagers are likely to hang out.

And one more thing, to everyone complaining about run-down arcades full of broken machines. It's because the money is gone. There isn't enough money to keep the games upgraded, there isn't enough money to hire a tech to fix the broken buttons, or if you want to do the tech yourself, there isn't enough money to hire a cashier to man the store while you're electrocuting yourself. In the Seattle area, there's an arcade called Illusionz, which used to be a mecha for fans of music games in the Northwest. The guy who ran it was really friendly, and kept the place sparkling clean. The machines were always kept in perfect condition, and I would take pleasure at riding a bus for an hour and a half each way to get there. But the money ran out, and last I checked, the games haven't been upgraded in years, there's tons of stuff broken, and the place looks dingy. This isn't because the owner's greedy. It's because he's broke.

Unlike 20 years ago (1)

Colourspace (563895) | about 8 years ago | (#15653571)

Me and a friend pumped £20 (quid damn u ascii) into house of the dead 4 recently and had a great time - Girlfriends ending their shopping trip early being the only thing stopping us doubling that amount - no jokes please :). It was a great arcade experience - but 20 years ago home video gaming had a lot to catch up to technologically - now it doesn't. I'm looking forwards to my first 42 inch HD screen in the next 6 months and I know at least for now (no fanboy here) that my Xbox 360 would be able to deliver those capabilies through HDMI NOW. So Sega has a long way to go to go to get far ahead of what is pretty much avaiable now. (To clarify old school Sega fanboy - out).

Re:Unlike 20 years ago (1)

cornface (900179) | about 8 years ago | (#15653867)

I'm looking forwards to my first 42 inch HD screen in the next 6 months and I know at least for now (no fanboy here) that my Xbox 360 would be able to deliver those capabilies through HDMI NOW.

The 360 doesn't have an HDMI port.

It would be nice, but... (1)

FullHealth (986603) | about 8 years ago | (#15653762)

Yes, I think the revival of the arcade experience gaming would be great, but in reality I think if it does come in it won't be around for long. Mainly because the gaming experience we see now from consoles is the modern evolution of the original arcade gaming experience itself, it's been replaced. Now, I know that the size of the screen etc and graphics in a home environment are maybe not up to par to what they can produce in a modern gaming arcade, BUT if they're not there at the moment they will be soon, what with the speed of progression of technology these days. So if they do stage a comeback I don't think they will stand the test of time in the light of the console era.

America is not Japan Sega! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654817)

The reason arcades are successful in japan and not the USA have alot to do with population density and culture. In Tokyo or other large Japanese urban area's a large percentage of people use public transportation. What this means is they all take a short walks to and from the local train station. what this creates is spare time and an easy opportunity to enjoy a quick game and move on. Everyone from business men,otaku, and young women just stop in to check out the newest fad. Arcades realize this and place their business along these routes.

In America the arcade requires a special trip. Whether its the mall or the local nickel arcade you have to plan a trip and take time specifically for games. Most people here just won't do it anymore due to transportation issues and the advancement of console games.

Resolution isn't everything in a game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654919)

There have been arcade games like R-360, star wars, etc, where the game you play is not just a console but something you sit down *in* and it becomes a much bigger experience than you can ever achieve at home - even if you have the 3-screen, surround sound gig going (but how much is that costing you vs what you can get for the same $ in an arcade?)

If I ever see R-360 (afterburner) in an arcade, I'll stop and play it. By modern standards, the graphics are bad, but how many other fighter plane games are there where you sit down into a gyroscope and get turned upside down, etc? It might be pre-programmed and the outcome not very exciting, but I'd pay a few dollars to be able to play that once a month or so.

It is a similar experience with all the arcade racing games, where there is feedback to the driver (player) at various levels. These games haven't advanced or changed much over the years, but they're still popular enough to survive. Why? Multi-person, you sit down (like you do in a real car) and it "feels more real" than any PSP or Nintendo or PC game ever does.

We want arcade games with good gameplay. (1)

master_p (608214) | about 8 years ago | (#15655142)

Some old arcade games had very good gameplay and one could enjoy playing them for hours and spending much money of them; examples: Ms PacMan, Arkanoid, Pitfall, Solomon's Key, Donkey Kong Jr, Bubble Bobble etc.

Not only these games had good gameplay, but their audio and visuals matched perfectly. Tunes were memorable and the graphics, while primitive most of the time, they had a warmth that can not be found in later games. The overall experience was joyfull and kept you coming back.

The newer games were all about flashy graphics with minimal gameplay. The graphics were cool, but not warm, the same with the music, but you could easily forget it after you walked out of the arcade, and the price was above the sky. The overall experience was mediocre.

Nowadays one can find the flashiest graphics at home with consoles and PCs that have ridiculously powerful graphics and sound that no existing arcade machine could ever replicate...so what would be the motive to go down the arcade and play?

Well, the motivation is called 'gameplay'. Bring back the old joy of games. Make nice game characters. Make memorable tunes that are not the dance tracks that the music industry produces every week. Make games colorful and joyful. Reward the player. Make many different levels. Make many different events. Give a character to games.

What I would personally like to see as an arcade game?

I would like to see a sports game that does not suck...for example, a basketball game that provides a realistic way to handle the on screen player: I want to be able to dunk, pass, dribble, shoot and make all the moves, without computer assistance. I do not want my athletic game to be Dragons Lair (i.e. press the button at the right moment). I want freedom in gameplay.

I would like to see a platform game that has many different actions: I should be able to jump, climb, swing, dive, move objects, hide, and many more actions.

I would like to see a 3d space opera game ala Star Wars where I drive the spaceship to different planets (i.e. not computer-driven travel), engage in battles, choose upgrades for my ship, choose tactics and strategies.

I would like to see a sideways shoot-em-up which is really slow: the bullets move slowly, the enemies move slowly, the levels scroll slowly in a dizzy manner...but at the same time, I want new enemy wave patterns, new booby traps, new bosses, new and imaginative ways to combine different upgrades in order to fight in different ways...

The reason we don't have all the above is that ideas cost a lot more than content in terms of effort. It is easy to make a standard arcade game: just slap a few enemies, a classic upgrade pattern, a few standard bosses, and there you go. But in the end, all games are the same and there is nothing to differentiate them...and that's one of the reasons arcades died.

Been there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15656736)

I've been to Gameworks in Minneapolis more than once, and I think it's pretty cool. Yes, they have video games, but they also serve beer! Decent beer! And decent food! And they have bowling, billiards, and two bars (one upstairs and one downstairs). It can be a place to take kids, but it becomes an adult-only bar after (I think) 10pm. I would like to see more sexy waitresses, but you can't have everything.
I've seen a lot of bitching about price here, and no one has mentioned the "time limited play" option that they have. At certain (slow) times, you can pay something like $10/hr to play as much as you want. Can't do it during peak times, but it is an option.
I see it as a more grown-up version of Chuck E. Cheese. Without the salad bar.
There is (was?) also this thing out at the Mall of AmeriKa called Gillians. Simiar to gameworks, but always seemed to be very empty when I went in. Not sure why.
There used to be this fantastic arcade in Lansing, Michigan. Biggest one I've ever seen. I hope it's still around...
I'd like to see arcades come back, and it would be great if they were affordable. Someone should put together an arcade with all the classic games (Pac Man, Galaga, Dragons Lair, etc) at cheap prices. Then, perhaps at some point add a new game or two and grow from there.
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