Well Guys and Gals, it’s that time of year again in my hemisphere – Winter. With that always comes feelings of nostalgia (for me anyway).
For the last several days I have been reflecting upon the current state of the gaming industry in the US (and most of the world by extension), and I realized something: I really, terribly, honestly miss the days of the quarter/token-sucking arcade machine.
Being a child of the 80’s, I am just old enough to remember what it was like to walk into a REAL arcade and be surrounded by games of all types. Not just the prize machines, shooters, and fighters that you’d find now.
Back then games were innovative because the hardware they ran on demanded innovation make up for the processing power they lacked. Pac-Man seems so simple by our current standards, but it made billions in $0.25 increments back in the 1980’s simply because it had never been seen before, nor anything like it.
Games today, in contrast, seem bland and recycled. The Wii is such a hit because it promises to get you off of your couch. In the arcade days, you never had a couch to begin with!
Xbox Live is popular because you can challenge strangers to a game to prove your button-mashing prowess. But it lacks a certain charm that arcade rooms offered when you beat that stranger there, and in person. You may also remember that good sportsmanship existed in much higher orders in arcades than does on MMO games because you could get the crap beaten of you for trash-talking the way some of these kiddies do now via their headsets.
Basically, what I think I miss most is the human interaction in gaming. That might sound strange in this era of MMOs, but I mean REAL, in-person human interaction.
MAME helps, but I won’t be satisfied until I complete my MAME cabinet and get my buddies over to challenge a game of TMNT or The Simpsons or any other beat-em-up type.
I read several really good articles today about this subject, but one stands out above the rest. It’s written by Will Wheaton (a.k.a. Wesley Crusher from that ‘other’ Star-Trek show with that bald guy who was no Kirk). Here’s the link: http://suicidegirls.com/news/geek/20220/
If you’re lucky enough to have lived during this magic time for gaming, what stands out in your memory about it? What were your favorite games? And if you’re from another country, what were your experiences with arcade machines and do they still thrive today? (The only country that I’m aware of where the game room is still kickin’ is Japan.)
I know this is an international forum, so I’d really love to hear from some of you guys outside the US!