The games that children play have certainly changed over the years. If you do a quick run through gaming history, you would be fascinated at how technology played a huge part in creating new fads and trends in the world of play. But despite all these changes, one thing is for sure: People love themselves some good play time.
Aside from traditional types like outdoor or board games that have been around since forever, the spark of video games started in the late 70’s and 80’s. The very first ones to ever come out were arcade machines and both children and adults got really worked up because of them. There would be these huge arcade centers around town that are jam-packed with players. People would fall in line to get a go on each machine. Children would save up every penny they can scrape off their allowance just to go on a gaming spree on weekends. They would play for hours on end, or just up until their mom comes to the local arcade to move their asses out of the place!
Anyway, those times were definitely golden. It’s an era of gaming that’s hard to match. Luckily, there are still a few centers left for people who still love to do arcade gaming. In Japan, for instance, arcades are still pretty popular and students would often visit them after school. Same goes with many cities in the USA. As long as there are people who like to have some classic fun, I don’t think the arcade culture would ever die out. In recent years, it seems that the theme itself is making a comeback. Read more about this here.
But here I am talking about 80’s stuff when most readers are probably millennials that don’t know the first thing about arcade gaming. So to give you a brief overview, let’s explore the world of gaming one more time.
What Are Arcade Games?
Back in the day, personal computers were not yet available for commercial use. The computers back then were big and bulky and they would take up a whole lot of space should you take one home. They also had limited functions. They were good for giving electronic commands and analyzing data but they’re far from the personal computers we know today. Let’s just say that they weren’t as advanced back then. However, this didn’t stop people who had a love for games in developing machines that were especially made for gaming.
An arcade game is an entertainment machine that is operated using coins. So whenever you insert a penny or a quarter (the type of coin would depend on how much it costs per play; some arcades also have their own tokens which you can get by exchanging real money), the game boots up and the play begins. Back then, the internet was non-existent too so the games ran on local and private servers which means that while they can interact with nearby machines (e.g. as in the case of multiplayer), it cannot interact with machines that are not locally available. The case is different now since users can practically game with other players who live halfway around the globe thanks to the internet.
Common examples of arcade games are Pacman, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Galaga, Street Fighter, Mario Bros., Centipede and so many more. Each machine would only have one type of game so if you would want to play other games, you would have to transfer to a different machine and insert a new coin to start playing. People adored these games. They were classic fun that’s entertaining for both the young and old. The gameplay is simple to understand and it had patterns. Decoding the type of pattern that will help you win the game is part of the fun. It is very unlike today’s video games that are focused more on the immersive experience than the gameplay itself. Check out more here: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-arcade-games.
Family computers came later on and allowed children to play their favorite games at home. It’s a box-type machine that you can connect to your TV at home. You can play more than a hundred classic games including the ones I’ve mentioned above. I think that shift is what started solitary play. People soon favored the idea of playing inside the comforts of their own homes and that toppled the arcade culture down. While there are still shops that remain open to this day, it’s still a far smaller number compared to how many there were 3 or 4 decades ago.
Not to mention, even restaurants and bowling alleys would have set up their own arcade machines in their respective shops to help entertain waiting customers.
Is Arcade Gaming Dead?
Hardly. In fact, it’s been making a huge comeback in recent years. Since we’re on the topic, I think a lot of classic and retro stuff and activities are being re-popularized in recent years. I guess there’s just something about the 70’s and 80’s that really stick out to people the most. And I bet even you can’t deny the fact that people seemed to be much livelier and engaging back then. This is why popular media has been taking interest in themes that involve reliving the past.
I mean, have you watched Adam Sandler’s Pixels in 2015? It was obviously and adamantly promoting arcade culture which was really cool. Pacman got a complete remake as well as other popular characters such as Donkey Kong and Q*bert. If you’ve ever played with them before, you would have loved to see them on the big screen. It’s not too late to download the movie though.
Anyway, this retro gaming culture is slowly but surely gaining popularity again. Companies are even producing cocktail arcade machines now which are perfect for get-together parties or just simple home-gaming. A cocktail arcade machine makes a great addition to your entertainment room at home.
If you’re not too familiar about them, cocktail arcade machines are those classic rectangular gaming machines that resemble coffee tables. The screen is the table top and the controls are on the sides. So the screen is face up and you can play with your drink placed down, thus the term “cocktail.” These machines are really cool and if you love the classics you would definitely want them at home.