It is now the 21st century and everyone continues to enjoy new kinds of board games as well as mobile games. There is another kind of gaming however, one that was at a time incredibly popular. They didn’t have overly complex-rules, just a classic charm that engaged players for hours who spent plenty of quarters playing them, they were arcade games, and they fascinated the World.
Now, with the immense popularity of computers, mobile phones, and T.V. the arcade market is slowly shrinking–once bustling arcades are much more quiet now. However, real arcade-gaming fans continue to remember how much endless joy arcades brought them and always treasure the ability to evoke that wonderful feeling. This article aims to provide a brief history on the development of arcade gaming, so now, let’s travel back to the 1970’s where it all began…
The Birth and Rise of Arcade Games
In 1971, what could be considered the first arcade game born in a computer lab in the United States. It was named Pong. While before that massive supercomputers in the 1950’shad been used to create games like, “SpaceWar!” they could only be played in those computer laboratories. Pong, however, could be in an arcade, “Cabinet,” and enjoyed by players anywhere it was plugged-in. As time went on 1978-1985 became an era that could be considered, “The rise of the arcade,” with 1982 and 1983 being a climax before things went sour for some time. By those years, arcades were in a heyday full of teenagers all around the World who wished they could live within arcades. One incredible hit that showed-off just how much arcades could do was 1983’s, “Dragon Lair,” which was a massive success in the United States. However, after the increasing success of arcades in 1982 the year of 1983 saw a sudden collapse. “Atari Shock,” as it was later dubbed broke-out, with a large number of inferior games from bad developers flooding the market. This made consumers rapidly lose confidence in arcades and unwilling to spend their hard-earned money on miserable games. Hence, in 1983 the American Arcade market rapidly declined.
A Shift in the Market and a Renais
After the American gaming market saw itself collapse the global game industry found its, “Center of gravity,” where most development emerged from gradually shifting from the United States to Japan. In 1983 a then-small company named Nintendo released its first gaming console to little notice, but in 1985 along came the game, “Super Mario Brothers,” which was a huge success. It increased interest in video-gaming both at home and in arcades, with Nintendo then over the next three years also releasing arcade titles that revitalized the arcade market. Many games were practically phenomenon’s in how popular they were such as, “Donkey Kong.” and, “Bubble Bobble.” Other gaming companies wanted to capitalize on this new heyday of arcades with developer CAPCOM having a notable release with, “Street Fighter,” in 1987–a game that arguably launched the, “Fighting,” genre of games. In 1991 CAPCOM followed-up with, “Street Fighter 2,” a game that guided the arcade machine industry further into a, “Renaissance,” of sorts which peaked in 1995.
The Market Declines
The arcade market struggled to endure at time went on, however. As internet technology began sweeping the world the market faded. In 1998, Data East withdrew from the arcade market. In 2001, SNK, a formerly major entity in arcade gaming, went bankrupt. Even CAPCOM’s traditional arcade business stagnated. By 2004 only $860 million in revenue was made within the United States arcade industry–less than a tenth from during the, “Golden Age.”
Arcades: Not Dead!
Do you think arcades are dead? Well, think again! Arcades have not gone away so much as evolved. Many game manufacturers in various countries have innovated with arcade machines, extending the life cycle of machines themselves whilst reforming the overall business model of arcades. Nowadays the mini-retro style of arcade is a very popular and innovative version of formerly large arcade gaming machines that can satisfy those arcade-fans who want something retro and fun in their collection. Also, as a wave of nostalgia for old-school things has swept the world it has resulted in innovative and new (but familiar) versions of arcades such as the kind found at popular restaurants like, “Dave and Busters,” in America where people who play at arcades can win prizes and gifts for their activities–sometime even a mini retro arcade (a great way to raise publicity). One example of a current, “Holy land,” of arcade gaming would be the New York Chinatown Fair which is a prime example of a modern arcade model that is new yet evokes that wonderful old-school feelings. Places such as Dave and Busters and Chinatown Fair are dependent not only on video-games for their income, but can provide customers with food and beer service to create an environment of a fun party. Yes, the arcade isn’t dead, it is evolving!
For Millennials arcades and arcade games have the same special place in their heart as the family computer–an unshakable love and affection. Although its history has gone through many twists and turns the arcade continues to develop and progress in exciting ways.