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Author Topic: Could arcades be making a comeback?  (Read 7107 times)

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Zebra

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Could arcades be making a comeback?
« on: November 15, 2019, 08:53:38 pm »
I took my son to FunFuzion In New Rochelle NY this week and I found it surprising. This place is a mega arcade. It's as big as anything I saw in the 80's and 90's and it was busy. In the middle of the afternoon on a Monday, there was a lot of people there playing games....

They claim to have over 350 games. I didn't count but I suspect they took a lot of creative license, even if you counted each of their 7 linked Daytona cabs individually, I think you'd find less than 100 on the floor. That's still a lot though. They had a lot of classic games from the 90's and every arcade released between 2000 and 2019. It was the first time I'd seen Mario Kart Dx in the wild and it was in English...

The most surprising aspect to me was how many new games there were that I'd never seen before and some were from publishers who I didn't even know made arcade games like Microsoft. They had an enormous 4-player Halo cab (yet another rail shooter made with that Unreal engine). I got to try all of Sega's new shooters too, like HOD Scarlet Dawn which was the best in that series to date.

To show they are keeping up with the times, this place had a lot of VR games on the floor too. There was a 20 ft x 20ft area reserved for a multi player VR light gun game which looked interesting but I'm still not sure it will ever take off but whatever. It was nice to see some renewed interest in arcade development.

The arcade is dead but apparently, Sega, Namco, Microsoft, Global VR and Raw Thrills didn't get the memo. So.... Either the arcades are making a comeback or Sega and Namco etc are the worst business people on earth.

Do any of you guys still have any large arcades near where you live?







Howard_Casto

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2019, 09:20:34 pm »
"Gimmick" arcade games, as in racers, sims, gun games, any gameplay experience you can't (easily) replicate at home have always done well.  They are placed in barcades, movie theaters, ect. and that's where those companies make their profits... not in traditional arcades, which are indeed dead.  What you'll find is true video games (as in a monitor and buttons/joysticks... sans gimmicks) are few and far between.   

Zebra

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2019, 11:20:44 pm »
There's no doubt that shooting and racing games make up a huge percentage of the remaining arcades. They certainly weren't the only kind in Funfuzion making money though. And funfuzion is a destination arcade, as in people go there specifically for the games and not just killing a few minutes before a movie.

My kid played a new Kung Fu Panda arcade which used punch pads. For some reason, he also likes that 2012 game Temple Run which is played with a track ball. And Global VR's Justice league which used a traditional joystick.

It makes sense that the way we interact with arcade games has evolved beyond the joystick and buttons. It's evolving in the home market too, albeit more slowly. I might be unusual in this respect but 90% of my home gaming is not with a joystick or joypad. I play with guns, race wheels, dance mats, PS Move motion controllers and flight sticks. Eventually, when it gets good and cheap enough, I'm sure VR will play a part too.

The thing I found interesting is that the most popular games in this arcade were the older ones. There were lines for Raiden 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Capcom VS SNK 2 and Time Crisis 2. Newer titles like Time Crisis 5 and Transformers didn't seem popular at all. Probably due to the outrageous prices charged for newer games.

I'm just interested to see if they can manage some kind of arcade revival. It certainly felt less depressing than it has in previous years. There was a lot of new games and actual innovation again. Could just be wishful thinking on my part though. I do like my arcades.

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2019, 01:06:31 am »
People flock to the older games because they are often of a higher quality in terms of gameplay.  A lot of the newer games are for the Dave & Busters/Chuck E Cheese crowd and are often hastily slapped together movie tie-ins or ported apps from cell phones. 

There are still destination arcades out there, I didn't mean to imply that they weren't, but that isn't the norm anymore.  You'll see them in heavily populated areas, ect.  It'd be nice to open up an arcade, but in an economy where retail giants like Sears, Kmart and Macy's can't stay in business I don't think it'd be a smart business move.  People seem to want to increasingly sit on their fat butts at home and have the world catered to them, which is sad.  I type this sitting on my fat butt of course. 

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2019, 05:17:10 am »
They do seem to be making a small resurgence over here but not in the usual arcade format which is understandably dead.

What most are doing now is charging a entry fee snd having the machines on free play which IMO is a much better idea and they are always busy!

Zebra

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2019, 11:08:44 am »
They do seem to be making a small resurgence over here but not in the usual arcade format which is understandably dead.

What most are doing now is charging a entry fee snd having the machines on free play which IMO is a much better idea and they are always busy!

That would be way better. The two large arcades near me both use these pay cards where you prepay for credits and then swipe for each game. It's a good way for them to hide the ridiculous price they charge per game. The days when a pocket full of quarters meant an afternoon of fun are long gone. My 4-year old burnt through the $20 I put on his card in 12 minutes....

I guess that how you define an arcade matters here. When I see a dedicated room full of arcade cabs, I consider it an arcade. The small dingy smoke-filled arcades full of one-on-one fighters are long gone. The arcades left now are more like the ones at the seaside when you were a kid. I.e. They're aimed at kids and have more dedicated cabs. I think that both are legitimate arcades, if games are the main attraction.

leapinlew

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2019, 10:35:16 pm »
Gaming in general is making a bit of a come back. We have several gaming type bars with similar formats to get you playing some sort of game

Barcades with classic arcade games, expensive drinks and craft beers.
Bars with games like bags, washers, some video games, connect 4, but the old classics like pool, darts and foosball are gone.
Coffee houses\bars with boardgames, puzzles and cards
Geeky game places where people can congregate and play Warhammer, card games, and more competitive level board games

Personally, I like it. I like it more than just sitting around a table drinking. I play competitive foosball, so it's sad for me to see that foosball itself is still on the decline.

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2019, 12:13:34 am »
No
I aspire to be involved in the classic gaming community.

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2019, 01:20:47 pm »
Barcades aren't arcades... the primary reason most people go there is to drink. 
Coffee houses aren't arcades... the primary reason most people go there is to get free wifi and spend 12 bucks on coffee and pretend to work on their novel/screenplay
Hipster hangouts have games, everyone pretends to like the games, but they are really just in their own little hipster prisons of faking it. 

An arcade has video games and that's it and people come to play said video games and that's it.  The argument that these other establishments are evidence that arcades are coming back is like saying arcades are making a comeback because 7 eleven has games in the back.  Understand I'm not being elitist here, rather I'm trying to make a point.... if the arcade business model can't stay afloat all by itself then it's hard to make the argument that arcades are coming back.  These nostalgia driven establishments popping up now are very much like the 50's style retro diners you saw spring up in the 70's and 80's..... Once our generation gets out of that sweet spot where we are the right age to want to look back, they will disappear just as quickly as they came. 

leapinlew

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2019, 08:38:50 pm »
Barcades aren't arcades... the primary reason most people go there is to drink. 
Coffee houses aren't arcades... the primary reason most people go there is to get free wifi and spend 12 bucks on coffee and pretend to work on their novel/screenplay
Hipster hangouts have games, everyone pretends to like the games, but they are really just in their own little hipster prisons of faking it. 

An arcade has video games and that's it and people come to play said video games and that's it.  The argument that these other establishments are evidence that arcades are coming back is like saying arcades are making a comeback because 7 eleven has games in the back.  Understand I'm not being elitist here, rather I'm trying to make a point.... if the arcade business model can't stay afloat all by itself then it's hard to make the argument that arcades are coming back.  These nostalgia driven establishments popping up now are very much like the 50's style retro diners you saw spring up in the 70's and 80's..... Once our generation gets out of that sweet spot where we are the right age to want to look back, they will disappear just as quickly as they came.

You're reading way too much into it. An arcade is a place with a collection of video games. That's it. Showbiz was a pizza place, with an arcade attached so a bar with an arcade attached, is still a bar.

I get your point, but saying they aren't arcades simply because they are being used as a gimmick to draw people in to spend their money on other things is silly. They are still an arcade, but the arcade is no longer the primary draw. We didn't go to Showbiz for the pizza, but Showbiz was still a pizza place.

javeryh

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2019, 09:23:26 am »
There are a few places near me that seem to be doing OK.  Not sure though.  Yestercades seems to always have people inside and they have a lot of "classic" cabinets that I can see from the window.  My son loves it there - they write high scores on the wall and he has the best Frogger score.  http://yestercades.com/

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2019, 05:59:32 pm »
There are a few places near me that seem to be doing OK.  Not sure though.  Yestercades seems to always have people inside and they have a lot of "classic" cabinets that I can see from the window.  My son loves it there - they write high scores on the wall and he has the best Frogger score.  http://yestercades.com/

My son loves the arcade places too, even though he's not tall enough to reach the pedals on driving games yet. It's fun for me to show him what we used to play back in the day.

There were always places with arcades that weren't just for gaming. They were found in hotels, bars, restaurants, convenience stores and the pier at the beach in the 80's and 90's. I think the concept of entertainment centers has grown though. Even major destination arcades are now found in larger complexes alongside separate but related laser tag, bowling and theme park rides etc. I'm OK with that and it makes sense to me to have fewer but larger arcades with more choice.

I'm less concerned with the nature of the locations. I'm just pleased to see a renewed interest in arcade game development and actual innovation again. I feel like the home console market always relied on the arcades to drive innovation. There was this need to create hardware and peripherals capable of recreating the experience we loved from the arcades at home. Similarly, there was a drive to keep the arcades one step ahead of the home console.

The absence of arcades has been painfully obvious in the PS4 generation. It's a console with no obvious innovation or imagination. There was no new peripherals or new ways of interacting with games. It offered nothing over the PS3 except slightly more detailed graphics. You have to wonder if Nintendo would have ever thought of the Wii remote if not for arcade games like Blade of Honor.




wp34

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2019, 11:37:41 pm »
We have a few arcades in the area that seem to be thriving. The only thing I don't like about them is that you pay for a wristband and then can play all day for free.  It makes it so you have to be committed to playing for a while when you go there.  I'd like the option to drop 2-3 bucks and then leave.

There are several barcades that are doing very, very well.  My daughter and her friends spent tonight at one and then came back to our house to keep playing games.  What's interesting about that one is that they have themed it with 90's nostalgia and are going after that market even though most of their games are from the 80's.

I saw today there is also a big sports bar going in one of our malls that will have a ton of adult redemption games. 

leapinlew

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2019, 01:21:28 pm »
adult redemption games.

Redeem tickets for edible undies, lube, whips, chains and stuff? Cool!

 :laugh2:

wp34

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2019, 03:30:18 pm »
adult redemption games.

Redeem tickets for edible undies, lube, whips, chains and stuff? Cool!

 :laugh2:

Okay I guess I grooved that pitch.   >:D

Zebra

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2019, 06:34:55 pm »
We have a few arcades in the area that seem to be thriving. The only thing I don't like about them is that you pay for a wristband and then can play all day for free.  It makes it so you have to be committed to playing for a while when you go there.  I'd like the option to drop 2-3 bucks and then leave.

There are several barcades that are doing very, very well.  My daughter and her friends spent tonight at one and then came back to our house to keep playing games.  What's interesting about that one is that they have themed it with 90's nostalgia and are going after that market even though most of their games are from the 80's.

I saw today there is also a big sports bar going in one of our malls that will have a ton of adult redemption games.

90's nostalgia eh. That makes me feel old (well, that and my bad back...)

I'd like the option to only drop $3 and go too but $3 isn't even one credit for a new game these days. I miss the days where it was just 25c per game (or 10p if you grew up in the UK).


Mike A

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2019, 07:18:12 pm »
adult redemption games.

Redeem tickets for edible undies, lube, whips, chains and stuff? Cool!

 :laugh2:

I was thinking coin operated sex robots.

wp34

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2019, 07:53:38 pm »

I'd like the option to only drop $3 and go too but $3 isn't even one credit for a new game these days. I miss the days where it was just 25c per game (or 10p if you grew up in the UK).

We have an amazing local pinball bar with a couple of locations.  They have switched to a swipe card setup and I could not begin to tell you how much each play costs. I stopped worrying about it to be honest.  It was too confusing.  In October I spent a few days in downtown Chicago.  Every night I walked to the Headquarters Beercade to play for a few hours.  They had all their games and pinball machines on freeplay with no cover charge.  So it definitely varies.



Zebra

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2019, 08:11:38 pm »
I'm sure there is a huge variation for older games. I doubt anywhere is offering free Halo and HOD Scarlett Dawn though. I couldn't tell you how much my arcade charges for those games, only that my son went through the $20 card I gave him in 3-4 credits. I won't be doing that again.


Personally, I'd prefer to see more retro arcades. A 2019 light gun game is no more fun than a 2010 or 2000 light gun game for me.

ZTylerDurden717

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2019, 09:29:01 pm »
Of course they're making a comeback.

Millenials were born with gamepads in their hands.  Of course they would want to beat the ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- out of their friends in NFL Blitz/Hangtime/Virtua Fighter/CVS2.

What folks don't care as much about are 1 player Galagas and Pac-mans.

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2019, 09:59:48 pm »
Millennials are almost 40 and couldn’t care less about arcades, bro.

I aspire to be involved in the classic gaming community.

wp34

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2019, 10:35:47 pm »
I'm sure there is a huge variation for older games. I doubt anywhere is offering free Halo and HOD Scarlett Dawn though. I couldn't tell you how much my arcade charges for those games, only that my son went through the $20 card I gave him in 3-4 credits. I won't be doing that again.


Personally, I'd prefer to see more retro arcades. A 2019 light gun game is no more fun than a 2010 or 2000 light gun game for me.

That's a fair point.  Those Raw Thrills games are never on freeplay and not cheap to play.

Our local sporting goods super store has added an "arcade".  It was so busy tonight I had a hard time getting a clean photo.  It is only three games but still pretty cool.


Zebra

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2019, 12:55:15 pm »
Of course they're making a comeback.

Millenials were born with gamepads in their hands.  Of course they would want to beat the ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- out of their friends in NFL Blitz/Hangtime/Virtua Fighter/CVS2.

What folks don't care as much about are 1 player Galagas and Pac-mans.

That's not entirely accurate. Namco's new Pac-Man release (on a giant LED board) is currently one of the most popular games in arcade that have new titles.

https://www.videoamusement.com/arcade-games-rental/giant-pac-man-galaga/

I also saw a new 2-player variant at Funfuzion. Plus, the vintage version is still a favorite in retro arcades. It was one of the first Arcade 1-up cabs too. So, some people still care...

Galaga has also been released again on a similarly enormous led board. And... Space invaders has been re-released as a positional gun game (also on a giant led screen). I have to say, the new version is a lot of fun. My 4-year old  loves it too and, embarrassingly, he was better at it than me... Everything is better on a bigger screen!

« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 12:57:33 pm by Zebra »

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2019, 08:35:17 pm »
Of course they're making a comeback.

Millenials were born with gamepads in their hands.  Of course they would want to beat the ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- out of their friends in NFL Blitz/Hangtime/Virtua Fighter/CVS2.

What folks don't care as much about are 1 player Galagas and Pac-mans.

That's not entirely accurate. Namco's new Pac-Man release (on a giant LED board) is currently one of the most popular games in arcade that have new titles.

https://www.videoamusement.com/arcade-games-rental/giant-pac-man-galaga/

I also saw a new 2-player variant at Funfuzion. Plus, the vintage version is still a favorite in retro arcades. It was one of the first Arcade 1-up cabs too. So, some people still care...

Galaga has also been released again on a similarly enormous led board. And... Space invaders has been re-released as a positional gun game (also on a giant led screen). I have to say, the new version is a lot of fun. My 4-year old  loves it too and, embarrassingly, he was better at it than me... Everything is better on a bigger screen!

That’s true I forgot about those, they’re damn impressive.

nitrogen_widget

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2019, 10:24:55 pm »
Of course they're making a comeback.

Millenials were born with gamepads in their hands.  Of course they would want to beat the ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- out of their friends in NFL Blitz/Hangtime/Virtua Fighter/CVS2.

What folks don't care as much about are 1 player Galagas and Pac-mans.

That's not entirely accurate. Namco's new Pac-Man release (on a giant LED board) is currently one of the most popular games in arcade that have new titles.

https://www.videoamusement.com/arcade-games-rental/giant-pac-man-galaga/

I also saw a new 2-player variant at Funfuzion. Plus, the vintage version is still a favorite in retro arcades. It was one of the first Arcade 1-up cabs too. So, some people still care...

Galaga has also been released again on a similarly enormous led board. And... Space invaders has been re-released as a positional gun game (also on a giant led screen). I have to say, the new version is a lot of fun. My 4-year old  loves it too and, embarrassingly, he was better at it than me... Everything is better on a bigger screen!

I agree.
I have a ball with the 4 player pac man with my kids.
the LED versions of galaga and space invaders is fun also.

Zebra

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2019, 02:28:08 pm »
Young kids don't care nearly as much about how old games are as we do. Fun games are always fun. In many ways they prefer older simpler games with one or two buttons. Trying to explain a new game to a 4-year old which uses two analog sticks, the d pad and 10 buttons is a lost cause but giant pac man and space invaders, he picks those up instantly.

Incidentally, I have high hopes for those led billboards for gaming. I  think they represent our best chance for a modern low res 4:3 monitor for vintage gaming. Nobody is going to make large 480p 4:3 LCDs again and it won't be long before all new TVs are 8k and 240p games look like my granny's gash. A 50" 4:3 320 x 240 fine pitch led board for vintage gaming is a real possibility though. The tech clearly works well enough to use in arcade games.


negative1

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2019, 06:52:58 pm »
you can emulate the LED look in MAME with filters..







also you can buy smaller panels, to make your own
version of MAME run on it.





later
-1

Zebra

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2019, 12:56:14 pm »
Emulating the led look would not serve any purpose and it would be the last thing you'd want to do. The large visible gaps between pixels on corse pitch panels is not a desirable look.

The key purpose and aim is to create a 320 x 240 pixel high refresh rate, 50-100" 4:3 gaming display with a pitch fine enough to make old games look as good as they used to. There are no large (or even 19") LCD, plasma or OLED displays capable of displaying 240p games at native res. The lowest res ever sold was 480p and that res hasn't been sold for many years. So, we're stuck with ugly progressively worse scaling as we go from 240p to 4k, 8k, 16k etc.

What I am talking about is the newer generation of "fine pitch" led panels with single bulb pixels (one led per pixel instead of three). They are designed to be used indoors and look good from a reasonable viewing distance. The fine pitch is key to being able to assemble a 320 x 240 4:3 display that actually fits in your room and looks good from the couch.

Fine pitch modules like this (or maybe finer) can be made to look broadly comparable to old arcade monitor in terms of the extent to which you can see the pixel structure from a reasonable viewing distance:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/160-inch-MAN-CAVE-TV-2-8mm-LED-video-wall-with-video-processor-and-base/254394097859?hash=item3b3b11e0c3:g:sgYAAOSwDhxdq4S3

They are also modular so panels can be assembled in any resolution and aspect ratio you like. As far as I know, they are the only low res displays still made (besides 3" Raspberry Pi screens). The problem currently is that they are horrifically expensive so your only hope would be finding a deal on a used set-up.

This is essentially the same tech as the micro-led tv's Samsung and Sony are working on, just with larger pitch / lower res panels.

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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2019, 02:04:21 pm »
Emulating the led look would not serve any purpose and it would be the last thing you'd want to do. The large visible gaps between pixels on corse pitch panels is not a desirable look.

The key purpose and aim is to create a 320 x 240 pixel high refresh rate, 50-100" 4:3 gaming display with a pitch fine enough to make old games look as good as they used to. There are no large (or even 19") LCD, plasma or OLED displays capable of displaying 240p games at native res. The lowest res ever sold was 480p and that res hasn't been sold for many years. So, we're stuck with ugly progressively worse scaling as we go from 240p to 4k, 8k, 16k etc.

What I am talking about is the newer generation of "fine pitch" led panels with single bulb pixels (one led per pixel instead of three). They are designed to be used indoors and look good from a reasonable viewing distance. The fine pitch is key to being able to assemble a 320 x 240 4:3 display that actually fits in your room and looks good from the couch.

Fine pitch modules like this (or maybe finer) can be made to look broadly comparable to old arcade monitor in terms of the extent to which you can see the pixel structure from a reasonable viewing distance:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/160-inch-MAN-CAVE-TV-2-8mm-LED-video-wall-with-video-processor-and-base/254394097859?hash=item3b3b11e0c3:g:sgYAAOSwDhxdq4S3

They are also modular so panels can be assembled in any resolution and aspect ratio you like. As far as I know, they are the only low res displays still made (besides 3" Raspberry Pi screens). The problem currently is that they are horrifically expensive so your only hope would be finding a deal on a used set-up.

This is essentially the same tech as the micro-led tv's Samsung and Sony are working on, just with larger pitch / lower res panels.

for anyone on a budget, it's actually fine to emulate.

and using the smaller LED boards also is a good hobby project.

i've been meaning to get a pi, and test it with some larger boards (like 256xnnn).

Its a good learning experience.

no point in spending thousands of dollars on a very niche look, that almost no one cares about.

later
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Re: Could arcades be making a comeback?
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2019, 08:58:20 pm »
The aim is not to make games look like that corse pitch large Pac Man screen. That look is horrible. Trying to emulate it would be idiotic. There is no niche that wants that. The aim is to create a large 4:3 320 x 240 retro gaming monitor with a look that is comparable to old arcade monitors.

I am specifically talking about indoor fine pitch panels like this 1.6mm pitch video wall:



These have no visible pixel structure at normal viewing distances. There is no look to emulate as the image looks like it's on a TV except with a low native resolution.