Sunday, May 21, 2006

Why do arcade machines still exist?

Full arcades are hard to find, but in movie theatres and family-oriented restaurants, you still often see old arcade machines. Didn't these become obsolete years ago? Virtually any old arcade game can be downloaded for free; why would anyone pay to play a dated game in an inconvenient format once?

7 Comments:

Blogger Matthew said...

Is this tongue-in-cheek? I can't quite tell.

One would play an arcade game because it's fun. Yeah, we have portable playstations and all, but it's the difference between playing a song you want to hear and hearing the same song on the radio randomly. Maybe this seems an irrational distinction, but I think most people recognize it.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Ruth Anne Adams said...

You are perhaps too young to appreciate nostalgia.

Wait 20 years and ask the question again.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Son, you cannot appreciate the simple joys that 25 cents can buy you, on your feet, firing away on a Centipede. Body English not to be replicated on a home machine. Free lives, enter your initials in public. That's the only game I loved, and it is a true joy to find one in the back of a pizza parlor still calling that tune. No, really.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Christopher Althouse said...

Matthew: I'm not being tongue-in-cheek at all.

Immediately after I did this post (there was an arcade game nearby) a man put in a quarter and played the game next to me. Twenty seconds later, he had "died" and the machine asked him for another quarter. He walked away. That did not seem worth it to me.

The thing is that the arcade screen is no larger than a TV or computer screen, so the experience of playing the game is not substantially improved. I realize that nostalgia can be the only possible explaination, of course. Seems like a waste of precious quarters.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Wickedpinto said...

nostalgia, in most cases.

My old man will ALWAYS dump a few bucks into any Galaga machine he passes.

Though you are right, in most cases they are bad games. although I'm about 9 kinds of eager to play a pinball game. I loves me my pinball, cuz it isn't just a dumb game, it is sensual in it's sound, in its feel (you can feel the ball rolling on the plane, and the ball strike the flippers) and in sight.

Pinball good, don't get the nostalgia arcade style games, at least most of them. I will also dump some quarters into a double dragon or gauntlet machine.

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the specific game the guy played?

If you are good, you can keep playing for under a dollar until your food arrives. Really good, you'll still be on that original quarter.

"I realize that nostalgia can be the only possible explaination, of course." No, another explanation might be "the feel of the game is different" than at home, which ties into the nostalgia feeling, but is not the same (or the only).

9:09 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Christopher-
Even putting aside the nostalgia value that I think attracts a lot of people, even your example demonstrates why people play these games. A quarter can buy some minutes of thrills, when waiting in a restaurant or wherever. That's pretty inexpensive nowadays, and it doesn't require the commitment of an iPod, PSP, or the like.

2:57 PM  

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