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". 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. See if you can figure out what it is.
So how about the arcade game business in your places? Please feel free to share.