Summary: Though they have fallen out of the popular video game spotlight, arcade games have a feel and nostalgia that console games cannot match. Surviving by joining with other recreational activities, arcade games can create a social atmosphere and the perfect night out where a dusty home console cannot.
Often considered to be relics of the past, large machine, arcade game systems are surviving throughout the country. From the boom of arcades in the 80s, people had theorized a future where video games remained in the public, huge tournaments being held on hyper realistic simulators using the most cutting edge technology. Sadly this day never came to be because of the birth of the home video game console market. While I don’t plan on throwing my Xbox 360 out any time soon, I believe that there are a few things that arcades have that home console systems can never match.
The first strength is a matter of glory and the difference between a lake and the ocean. Arcade games are among a small community while home console games are from the couch, generally online. With an arcade game, the record symbolizes the hierarchy of gamers in that local area; however, online records tend to be bloated and unreachable due to the huge sample of players they get scores from. And usually online games can’t tell you how your scores match up to everyone else in your given region, whereas with an arcade game you can see how your record is faring among your microcosmic community of gamers. This is a much better condition for bitter rivalries between your friends. I’ve seen grown men sink $20 into a retro Pac-Man machine because a friend said that their record was “unbeatable.” This kind of competition can’t happen online, as the pool of players is too vast.
The next strength of arcades is in equipment. Modern arcades include equipment and innovations that home console systems simply cannot incorporate yet due to inconvenience or price. For years arcade games have been able to provide simulation and racing games with realistic cockpits and driver seats. Specialized speaker systems, authentic steering wheels, and gear shift systems only sweeten the deal. Motorcycles that can be ridden, large dancing pads for rhythm games, realistic gun controllers for shooting games, all of these would be inconvenient to install at home, and would most certainly not be as sturdy or on par to an arcade set up. Some ambitious arcade game rigs are even taking advantage of 3D technology, where console games have only begun to employ 3D on the small scale and are still fairly ineffective.
Finally, the locations of arcades are a huge positive. Though dedicated arcades have declined in the past few year, that is only because the nature of the business required them to evolve. Arcades have survived by combining with fun centers geared for adults. Fun centers feature other attractions; like batting cages, go karts, and mini golf, to all supplement each other with group activities for a perfect night out. Sure, you can play a console game from the comfort of your home, but that can’t give the organic experience of going to an arcade for a night out with close friends.
I love, and always have loved, video games. I’ve seen Atari to PS3 and I’ve played the best games among the worst. But, nothing I have played can stack up to the nostalgia I feel when I’m standing in front of my favorite arcade rig with a pocket full of quarters. Spend a night at your local arcade and keep the small community gamer alive.
If you live in the Tucson, AZ area & you are looking for a place to play arcade games, go to Funtasticks Family Fun Park. You can visit their website at http://funtasticks.com/