Arcades were once the ideal place for gamers to hang out and play video games with each other. There was friendly, yet intense, competition over getting the top score on leaderboards, and spectators would gather around to see the action. Arcades offered every genre: from your classic Space Invaders, to Pinball; there was a game for everyone. The appeal of arcades drastically dropped when home video game consoles came into the gaming scene. After Dance Dance Revolution, nothing new and deserving of playing came out, so people stopped going to arcades.
But times have changed since the introduction of home consoles. Videos games have never been more popular than they are now. Because of easier games like Angry Birds, video games are enjoyed by more people; from the casual to the hardcore gamer. Online gaming made video games more competitive because it now involved gamers from around the world, not just from your local area. Because video games are more popular than they’ve ever been, I can see a possible comeback to arcade gaming. With a wider market, and less niche titles, it has an even better chance of success.
Despite the numerous changes in the gaming market, there are still plenty of people who still love playing side-scrollers and beat ‘em up games. Xbox Live has an Arcade games market and an indie games market. Games like Super Meat Boy and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX have proven to be a huge success and keeping arcade style games relevant to today’s gamer. Not everyone is into Modern Warfare or Halo; there are people who still love classic games and new games with the same classic gameplay. But should arcades stay in the past?
Arcades had their pros and cons. On one hand, you had to wait for a free space to play – which sucked if the person in front of you was good. On the plus side, however, you had people around you who had a similar interest in the game and friendly competition, which you normally wouldn’t find at home. Unlike home consoles, gamers would pay much less for an experience that could cost them $10-$60 for a home version of the same game. Sure, today, there are still online leaderboards keeping track of high scores on a global scale, but there’s nothing like trying to maintain your high score at your local arcade.
In addition, the way arcade games were played was something unique. Being in an online community is not the same as going to play video games in person. I find it more refreshing and exciting to see two people play Street Fighter on an arcade station than any of the major consoles. Everyone had a different way of playing and it was interesting to watch. Some people used the double-flap trick where they’d hit the button with two fingers, while others would use a pencil between buttons to hit or run faster. In my case, I would sometimes play with my arms crossed; my left hands would press the buttons while the right hand took control of the joy stick.
Arcades should not stay in the past because more and more gamers need to experience the feeling of hanging out with people of similar interests. Arcades offered a comfort zone where you can escape from all your problems, and just play video games, and maybe even making new friends in real life. Arcades have the potential to come back as a success.
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