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View Full Version : Talking about "Insert Coin", What's the Business Situation of Arcade Game?



squirrel
24-01-2012, 02:18 AM
I guess most of you mates grew up with arcade games. I am, too. Who can forget the glorious day of Street Fighter 2? (Strange title to me, where is Street Fighter 1?)

Since arcade games these days mostly run on x86 PC hardware, I start this thread in this board. If admin feels this is inappropriate please feel free to remove this.

Arcade game centres around here not just survive, but are doing very good. One of the major factor is that people here are still very fond of Japanese games. Arcade game industry these days is dominated by the Japanese. When I was a kid I played some racing games, which I was told, were from American, not Japan. However, none of them are memorable to me. Guess that's why most of them didnt survive. BTW, I am surprised to learn that Pac-Man is made by Namco, so it's also a Japanese's work.

Japanese arcade game makers, on the other hand, never give up the industry. Names like Capcom, Konami, Taito are all over the arcade game centres here. Oh, and Sega is probably the most shining name. There are some very creative games from Sega. One of them is a bus sim in which you play as a bus driver who drive a single deck bus in Tokyo to transport the passengers. There is a very large (but not the largest) setup I loved to play (however most have been retired here). I translate its name as "Tokyo Bus Business". Another is a combat jet sim called "Afterburner". I was told that afterburner is a engineering technique to inject additional fuel to engine to give a sudden boost to flight speed. This setup is a motion thingy, you swing left and right with the control and feel like you are flying a real jet. The graphics is amazing and I was told this beauty runs on Linux, not Direct X!! And "Initial D". Most people are playing 5 but I think 6 has been out for a while. It's a racing game simulating exclusively Japanese racing cars, is an adaptation of a Japanese manga / animation of the same name. This one I think is a cash cow, I dont see much improvement from episode 4. It's the centre to pay for the update, but save data is not transferrable with different episode. Oh yes, these days many arcade games feature personal profiling, you can buy a magnetic tape card to store your personal game saves, and of course that card costs you about 50 US cents (edit: get messed up with exchange rate, it should be USD 5 something, with that price you can buy some of the bargain PC games here. It's not a necessary condition to play a round of Initial D, but without any upgrade you probably wont enjoy the game.), guess that's what justify centres to upgrade, huh.

And not only Sega. Producers like Namco and Capcom are all doing great. As expected we have Street Fighter IV (most here have been upgraded to Super version). Interestingly even most of my friend own the console version, they still play a lot of this game in game centre. Some game discs are simply covered in dust. They rather enjoy the competitive atmosphere in game centres, then feeling alone at home even if you play online. I do not buy the PC version since I cannot afford a joystick and the game is not meant to be played with keyboard. And other popular series, probably series here is Gundam VS. I know this series is not well received in western world, but it's such a great hit in East Asia and there is no sign the high tide would retreat in the near future. This one is updated too frequently, very typical Sunrise style. But anyway this game features no saving function so I am glad to see that more and more mechs are included. Oh and there is a light gun game, "Spirits of Zeon (http://www.s-zeon.com/)". Unlike other mech sim, in this game you pick up the automatic rifle and shooting bam bam like a Zaku, zako. I happen to locate a centre around still operating this princess. The owner said he supports this game, so he's continuing to operating it, despite the fact it's not that well received. The gameplay is really great but AI is a bit stupid. But how cool I can shoot "real" bam bam to federation foes, zako. Long live the glory of Zeon!!

Generally speaking, arcade games still have great potential here. You know what Japanese even tried to develop some arcade FPS games, too. I noticed that Taito released Half-Life and Namco made Counter-Strike. However, arcade Half-Life's controller is very clumsy. Namco's Counter-Strike is essentially a PC with coin slot. I dont know, all arcade centres here dont risk to import it. If you see how gamers smash the joystick you probably wont want to install a game machine with mouse and keyboard in a game centre.

While arcade games are still so well received among the youths (like me, zako), middle-aged people love to play arcade games, too. But what they play are something like a business sim games. I dont realize how those games work. They seems to love to play games like this (http://starhorse.sega.jp/). See if you can figure out what it is.

So how about the arcade game business in your places? Please feel free to share.

DigitalSignalX
24-01-2012, 02:35 AM
In the U.S. today, traditional video game arcades are a rare novelty found occasionally at mid range to higher end retail districts. There's also a couple of chains of restaurants that incorporate them into either an adult sports bar (http://www.daveandbusters.com/) or children's pizzeria (http://www.chuckecheese.com/the-experience/) type business where they act as an entertainment option. They are unfortunately no where near as popular as they are in Europe or Asia. My guess is most Americans find consoles and PC gaming to be the main source of video game entertainment since most of the majority of US companies who made coin operated machines here migrated their software to various other consumer platforms.

edit: been googling for a bit and can't find this helicopter arcade game I fell in love with as a kid. It was pretty complex, so once I'd mastered it, I was like the only guy who -ever- played it, pwning everyone who dared go up against me. It had two seats, separate flight stick and left side elevator controls, and an optional "realistic flight" button you could press that turned off most of the assists for flying. I'd play assists off only and once I'd mastered it, could fly backwards, pivot and strafe sideways etc like a real helicopter - giving me a huge advantage over most players.

Looking back, at 50 cents a game for hundreds of hours, it was probably the economic equivalent of my folks buying real flight lessons :P

Spacewalk
24-01-2012, 02:36 AM
Non-existent is what you could call the arcade game business at my place. What happened to the two places I used to frequent is one now looks like a squat and the other got turned into an Aldi. I guess game consoles are the thing to blame here.

squirrel
24-01-2012, 03:31 AM
Looking back, at 50 cents a game for hundreds of hours, it was probably the economic equivalent of my folks buying real flight lessons :P

Hey talking about flight training, last year while I have some business to do in Hong Kong, I found a centre operating flight simulator which they claimed very much closely simulating a real civil jumbo jet. Rate is quite staggeringly expensive (1 USD is about 7.8 HKD, Hong Kong's pegged rate). I heard that one such simulator has to be run by at least a dozen of Xeon run workstations. It's called Flight Experience (http://www.flightexperience.com.hk/), in Kowloon Bay Megabox. And hey, those "flight attendants" are very cute. :p

DigitalSignalX
24-01-2012, 03:36 AM
Hey talking about flight training.... I heard that one such simulator has to be run by at least a dozen of Xeon run workstations. It's called Flight Experience (http://www.flightexperience.com.hk/), in Kowloon Bay Megabox. And hey, those "flight attendants" are very cute. :p


Where do I sign up!

http://www.flightexperience.com.hk/gallery/FAM/SAM_0182.JPG

squirrel
24-01-2012, 03:39 AM
Where do I sign up!


What?! Okay I take it back about the rate. The rate absolutely worths every penny of it :p

Wizardry
24-01-2012, 04:26 AM
Where do I sign up!
Hello ladies. I'll be taking over from here. I'm sure I can find you something else to do.













Oh and in before Althea.

sabrage
24-01-2012, 04:37 AM
Oh and in before Althea.
Comedy gold.

In addition to sports bars and kiddie playgrounds like Chuck E Cheese (I think Dave & Busters is all but dead now?) there's an emerging trend of dedicated retro arcade bars. I know there's a few in New York, and at least one in Denver. (http://the-1up.com/main/) It makes sense - most of the people who remember and miss the arcade craze are now in their mid 20's to early 30's. There's just no market in it for kids anymore, as it's far more economic for them to buy a console and play at home.

squirrel
24-01-2012, 05:18 AM
It makes sense - most of the people who remember and miss the arcade craze are now in their mid 20's to early 30's. There's just no market in it for kids anymore, as it's far more economic for them to buy a console and play at home.

In late 1990s and early 2000s yes, developers seemed to be stuck at running out of new game ideas. That's when arcade gaming seemed to be doomed even in East Asia. That's the negative effect bought by Playstation I would say. But one advantage of arcade video gaming over home video gaming is, that arcade gaming setup, for commercial use, can employ more expensive hardware, not just processors but also controllers. You can see that arcade game developers are becoming more and more creative. But of course, those dedicated setups are way too expensive for home gaming. I hope that western game developers can rediscover the profitability of arcade gaming and bring in more new creation for the industry.

And not just boys like me are fond of arcade games. Some arcade games are quite appealing to girls. Konami is very famous of those dancing games. I think that at least in East Asia, Konami is rather an unchallenged leader in this field.

The problem of the Japanese arcade game developers is that they dont appreciate the importance of computing power. I mean, for most arcade boards they dont have more than 2GB system ram. Very rare they have 4GB ram. Graphic ram rarely exceed 256MB. I mean, com'n, it's a PC setup for commercial application. You charge USD2000 for crap like that?! The only exception is Sega Rally 3 by Sega, running on a PC called Europa. As the name suggests the game is targeting western market, maybe that's why Sega was willing to invest. That beast has 8GB system ram. But I never see any Sega Rally 3 here, too expensive I think.

This is a new Square game I heard of (youtube trailer) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgBYezjpsF0&feature=player_embedded). You can have a brief image of what these days' Japanese arcade games look like. It's currently only in Japan but according to my conservations with arcade center operators here, they dont import new games unless those are extremely highly anticipated. New games with new hardwares (especially the dedicated machines like this one) are often with tons of technical issues. They need to have developers sorting them out first.

Dont underestimate the liability of those technical issue. A decade ago there was a kind of arm wrestling machine which broke arms of some careless players. I dont know where were those game machines from, not even knowing their nationality. Some operators lost money on the compensations, that is for sure.

sabrage
24-01-2012, 05:31 AM
In late 1990s and early 2000s yes, developers seemed to be stuck at running out of new game ideas. That's when arcade gaming seemed to be doomed even in East Asia. That's the negative effect bought by Playstation I would say. But one advantage of arcade video gaming over home video gaming is, that arcade gaming setup, for commercial use, can employ more expensive hardware, not just processors but also controllers. You can see that arcade game developers are becoming more and more creative. But of course, those dedicated setups are way too expensive for home gaming. I hope that western game developers can rediscover the profitability of arcade gaming and bring in more new creation for the industry.
True, but arcade style controls hold no value to today's ADD-addled adolescent. These kids are going to grow up with fond memories of shouting at strange other children on Xbox Live, not shouting at their peers in a crowded arcade. Dancing games have come home to the lowest common denominator with the Wii and Kinect, and fighting games are now targeted almost purely at the hardcore culture that already exists. And shmups? Dead and buried.

Nalano
24-01-2012, 05:54 AM
The last old-school arcade I know died last March (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13critic.html?_r=1). Chinatown Fair was pure sweat, dirt, and hardcore gamers. The kind of albino moles who sat around at MvC or KoF for the sole purpose of ridding you of your quarters and making you cry.

I used to spend ~$20 a week at a dingy little hole in the wall of the same sort on Main Street, Flushing, but that's long since been bulldozed and rebuilt twice over.

Personally, fighting games died to me when I couldn't rage and bluster and boast to the guy next to me. The "everybody sitting on the couch with a controller" days are far behind me, and online is anonymous (and, consequently, fuck you all! :D) so with the absence of those dark warrens with the stinky nerd gods, fuck it.

(I know there are hipster bar/arcades in Williamsburg and Park Slope. Fuck 'em.)

squirrel
24-01-2012, 05:59 AM
The last old-school arcade I know died last March (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13critic.html?_r=1). Chinatown Fair was pure sweat, dirt, and hardcore gamers. The kind of albino moles who sat around at MvC or KoF for the sole purpose of ridding you of your quarters and making you cry.

I used to spend ~$20 a week at a dingy little hole in the wall of the same sort on Main Street, Flushing, but that's long since been bulldozed and rebuilt twice over.

Personally, fighting games died to me when I couldn't rage and bluster and boast to the guy next to me. The "everybody sitting on the couch with a controller" days are far behind me, and online is anonymous (and, consequently, fuck you all! :D) so with the absence of those dark warrens with the stinky nerd gods, fuck it.

(I know there are hipster bar/arcades in Williamsburg and Park Slope. Fuck 'em.)

Arcade game centre occupies a large space. I guess the high land rent in NY is not that favorite to the business? Actually you wont see many arcade game centre in Shanghai. Same reason.

Nalano
24-01-2012, 06:01 AM
Arcade game centre occupies a large space. I guess the high land rent in NY is not that favorite to the business? Actually you wont see many arcade game centre in Shanghai. Same reason.

Dude. That's not what killed 'em. These spaces were tiny, badly run, dirty, steeped in disdain, and there for decades in the highest rent areas in the city.

But this is New York, and there is no constant but change. We've destroyed more cultural icons than most places had to begin with.

Chevy
24-01-2012, 07:16 AM
I know there's a few in New York, and at least one in Denver. (http://the-1up.com/main/)

I went to the 1up bar in Denver this past summer. It has a lot of old arcade games, but they were in an ill state of repair, I guess from being man-handled by drunk people. I tried playing the X-Men arcade game with my friends, and only three of the six sticks worked properly, and a lot of the buttons were just broken.

squareking
24-01-2012, 04:27 PM
There's the awesome but tiny Arcade UFO (http://arcadeufo.com/) in Austin, about 3 hours from where I live. As a kid growing up in Denver (early 90s), we had Celebrity Lanes (http://buckfifty.org/2009/02/04/celebrity/), which was much more than an arcade but had an amazing selection. That's where I learned about Dig Dug, Tron and Donkey Kong. There was also the delicious Boardwalk USA, where you paid a flat fee and they gave you a card you could swipe for every arcade game in the 3-storey facility.

I see the occasional Pac Man or Galaga in bars, but no arcades.

DigitalSignalX
25-01-2012, 12:20 AM
Every town in America in the 70's and 80's had at least one pizza hut, and that one pizza hut always had one or two arcade games. In my town it was Centipede and a table top Miss Pac-man. Later they got a Street Fighter II, but there were so many people playing it they got rid of it because it was a noise and traffic obstruction nuisance with a herd of loitering kids yelling at whoever was playing.

Nalano
25-01-2012, 01:30 AM
Every town in America in the 70's and 80's had at least one pizza hut, and that one pizza hut always had one or two arcade games. In my town it was Centipede and a table top Miss Pac-man. Later they got a Street Fighter II, but there were so many people playing it they got rid of it because it was a noise and traffic obstruction nuisance with a herd of loitering kids yelling at whoever was playing.

One of a long line of things Pizza Hut has always gotten so utterly, flagrantly wrong.

Such as their pizza.

Spacewalk
25-01-2012, 01:42 AM
It was a sad day when my local Civic Video got rid of their Street Fighter II cabinet 'cos they had to move to a different location. I spent so much money on that thing. Actually now that I think about it it was probably for the best.

somini
25-01-2012, 02:14 AM
Where do I sign up!

Still no joystick-based puns? I yaw with boredom and roll with disappointment...

Kevin
25-01-2012, 02:36 AM
Some neighborhoods have a great fighting game community. I live near Los Angeles and there's a fantastic video arcade in Granada Hills/Northridge area. The attitude seems to mirror the Japanese fighting game scene: Kids practice on their consoles at home, then head down to the arcade to play competitively with friends (we also have Xboxes hooked up to a system-link there, but I've never really cared for it).