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Golden Age of Arcade Games 58

Posted by Zonk
from the please-keep-comebacks-away-from-fashion dept.
jayintune writes "2old2play has an article about the resurgence of arcade games in the living room. The article shows that while large companies like MS and Nintendo can make a nice dollar, small developers can now make money off of low budget arcade games with far less monetary risk. Just like fashion, what was once cool is now cool again." That, combined with the Xbox Live arcade rollouts, do seem to be bringing back the oldies but goldies.
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Golden Age of Arcade Games

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  • ...are interesting to folks.

    We put Hearts and a couple of version of Solitaire in the first beta of indi [getindi.com] and that was the thing that got the most "wow" - not the instant messaging, not the calendar stuff we'd labored over, but the multiplayer Hearts. Ah well.
  • There (used to be before Katrina) a 'penny' arcade in New Orleans that we went to all the time. It was full of pretty current games, all in good shape. The trick was, every game was *actually* still a quarter. They were open until 3am on weekends too. Needless to say the place was always full of people. I understand that the newest games are mad expensive (>$10k), but still. $1.25 in an arcade game just wasn't destined to last.
    • There is [or was?] an arcade in San Jose, CA called Nickel City. As you would expect, the games take nickels instead of quarters. And along the back wall was a line of classic arcade games [Defender, Galaga, Pac Man etc] that was totally free.

      I miss that place [I'm in Tx now :( ]
      • It's gone now anyway. Another victim of the obscene rents in the 90's silicon valley bubble.
      • Nickel City is actually a chain. There is one here in So Cal where I live. $5 to get in the door, then all games are a nickel.
    • "There (used to be before Katrina) a 'penny' arcade in New Orleans that we went to all the time. It was full of pretty current games, all in good shape."

      Not sure where this one was that you refer to, but, if you like the older games, go try the bar "The Goldmine" down in the quarter. They have a pretty good collection of old games an pinball machines.

      I hang and work with a friend of mine on restoring old pins, and building MAME cabinets out of old arcade cabs we pickup. These old games are a blast

      • Gotcha. The one we went to was actually in Metairie on Veterans. Just a few blocks from Clearview. I live in Baton Rouge actually.

        I've got an old Atari Star Wars game myself. Had it since i was about 7 years old (i'm 24 now). My grandfather was a pharmacist and had a drug store and movie theatre back in the 50's. I've got an old pinball game from his store that's so old it doesn't have flippers. Just a whole bunch of holes for the ball to fall in once you launch it. Also an old slot machine that gives ou
        • Very interesting..yes, I think I remember that one in Metairie. I myself right now am living in Baton Rouge (after staying on the dining room floor of a friend in Prairieville for awhile). I've got an old Tempest cab. that I have a 4 player custom station on for MAME games.

          I also recently bought an old Playboy pinball machine that I hope to find time in the near future to start restoring...hehehe...maybe by then I'll be in a house again with a place to put it.

          My friend that does most of the restoration, e

    • Since we're on the topic of arcades, anyone in New England should check out the arcade on Old Orchard Beach Maine. It is like a big refuge for pinball, classic arcade games, and carnival type games (i.e. skee ball). Loads o' fun.
  • Russell Carroll has been talking about [gametunnel.com] and predicting on "Attack of the Show" that Indy Gaming would get a boost thanks to the Live Arcade. The idea that you can sit down at a console and snag a game for $5 is the largest part of it, regardless if it's an Indy release, or an Arcade Classic. Most everyday Joe's aren't dedicated enough to build a MAME cabnet, but drop a few bucks on some Midway classics and get the instant gratification of playing immediately instead of getting a game at a retail outlet is an
    • I can see the Revolution bringing a bigger boost to Indy gaming, as long as Nintendo allows new downloadable games on their virtual console. Think about it, when a developer makes a game for Xbox Live Arcadem they still have to develop it for the Xbox 360. However, with the Revolution you could develop for the NES, SNES or N64 and still be able to run it on the Revolution. I would think that it would be a lot easier (and cheaper) to develop a new NES game than a Xbox 360 game.
      • I believe developing for the NES isn't as easy as it sounds. Many of those developer packages were probably primative compared to the software packages, libraries, and API's you get today. And if you end up with a software issue or glitch I doubt your going to get too much support from Nintendo when it comes to trouble shooting.
  • Public Domain (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alaren (682568) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @03:38PM (#14837036)

    Isn't it amazing, the levels of entertainment and enjoyment we can have by looking into our past? We're reaching a point in history where the past catalog of games is big enough and rich enough that, even focusing only on the really, really great ones, literally hundreds of stories are waiting to be retold.

    It's a fun and in many ways rare opportunity to watch new mediums enter this phase (and to be sure, gaming is only just arriving here). All the bad stuff remains more or less buried while a veritable trove of glittering jewels of culture are dusted off and appreciated anew.

    Now, as great as it is, just imagine how much better it would be if our out-of-control IP laws, instead of lining already well-lined corporate pockets, instead returned any idea more than 10 years old to the public domain.

    It's interesting to me that vintage gaming became so huge (emulators etc.) before someone thought to turn a profit from it. While part of me is glad someone (MS) is finally providing "legal" ways to enjoy past productions, part of me is sad that they are effectively subverting a natural cultural process to instead make it a matter of corporate profits. Personally I will not be participating in this sell-out, but will conitnue lobbying to have most of this IP freed to the public that so generously allowed its creators a profit in the first place.

    • Re:Public Domain (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rewinn (647614) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:38PM (#14837520) Homepage

      >All the bad stuff remains more or less buried while a veritable trove of glittering jewels of culture are dusted off and appreciated anew.

      We can compare the realm of games to those of music and literature. For every Mozart there was probably a hundred hack composers; for every Shakespeare, a hundred dreadful playwrights, churning out whatever might make them a living. Art & technology has progressed far in the centuries since, but the best work survives because, for all their technological limits (...from our standpoint ...) they hit something really, really important.

      I'm not going to claim that Pac-Man or Hearts are comparable to Hamlet or to Mozart's Requiem, but in their own realm they appeal to our need for play in a way that transcends technology; while their numberless contemporary competitors have all but disappeared because they just didn't quite hit it.

      • You make a good point in support of the parent post. You mentioned Hearts as a great game. Well the only reason so many people can put out Hearts, Mahjong, etc. is that these are public domain. Either they were never "protected" in the first place or have slipped into PD becuase they are so old.

        Imagine if someone owned a copyright/patent on the rules for chess. We'd have never been able to enjoy all the hundreds, if not thousands of "implentations" that are chess (E.g. classic board, computer chess, online
    • Re:Public Domain (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:54PM (#14837672)
      Only on Slashdot could a completely unrelated article about arcade games turn into a rant about copyright. Get over it, there are millions of articles where you can get on your hobby horse, I'm here to read about arcade games.
    • Personally I will not be participating in this sell-out, but will conitnue lobbying to have most of this IP freed to the public that so generously allowed its creators a profit in the first place.

      It's not illegal to copy the idea for a game. Go nuts.
    • You realize that public domain != Free, don't you?

      Last time I bought a CD of Mozart sonatas, which are public domain, I still had to purchase the recording. The difference, is that whoever made the recording did not have to pay royalties to the original copyright holder.

      Even if these games were public domain, the company providing them would be completely entitled to ask a fee for that service.

      Copyright means I can restrict who profits from my work. Public Domain means ANYONE can profit from my work.
      • "You realize that public domain != Free, don't you?"

        Well, I realize that public domain does not necessarily mean free, but I think you're missing the point.

        "Last time I bought a CD of Mozart sonatas, which are public domain, I still had to purchase the recording. The difference, is that whoever made the recording did not have to pay royalties to the original copyright holder."

        Right. What's more, unless you are a serious Mozart die-hard who only listens to the finest quality recordings, you probably

        • The point is: Live! would operate exactly the same if the games were Public Domain. You say that Microsoft is subverting the system, but I fail to see how what they do on Live! affects copyright and Public Domain at all.

          Hell, I'm sure Microsoft would be thrilled if all the games they're pushing on Live! were PD, because it means they wouldn't have to pay anyone for the right to sell them.
          • And my point is, Live! would be obsolete, overpriced, and late to the game. Actually, it is obsolete, overpriced, and late to the game, compared with the emulation scene... but it's one of the first strictly legal vintage gaming download alternatives available. (Yes, there have been other efforts, sort of, but they failed for various reasons that were in many cases tied to IP).

            • Here's what you're ignoring: MICROSOFT IS NOT THE IP HOLDER.
              They are up against the same IP restrictions as anyone else trying to set up a similar service. Microsoft is just the first to set up a working business model DESPITE the IP restrictions. Just because noone got it working before doesn't mean Microsoft is 'bad' for pulling it off.

              I'm up for Microsoft bashing as much as the next guy, but you're not making sense here.
              • I've said several times that this is, generally speaking, a good thing! I'm not bashing Microsoft. I know they're not the IP holder, and indeed I never suggested that they were. I know what public domain means. You're so busy being "smarter" than me that you are completely missing my point.

                My point is, if IP laws were better, this could have happened years ago. If IP laws were better, an already good thing would actually be even better. If IP laws were better, it wouldn't require a behemoth like MS

        • Yep, me and the boys are going to pull out the electric guitars and start jamming to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. I can see it.

          Ira
          • Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor would sound damn cool on electric guitar/bass. Of course, that piece sounds damn cool on ANYTHING. (Heard a recording of a kazoo ensemble play it once)
            • When mp3.com was around in its original incarnation there was an instrumental rock group that did Fugue and Tocatta in D minor along with a bunch of other Bach compositions. They sound great. I think they were calling themselves the JS bach experience.
              • there was this lot [allofmp3.com].

                They were pretty popular in the 80's. A lot of their music was used for TV shows and documentaries. It had a sort of futuristic, electronic feel to it, even though they were all classically trained musicians. They did a great tocatta on the electric guitar.
    • I'm not going to claim that Pac-Man or Hearts are comparable to Hamlet or to Mozart's Requiem

      Go ahead. It's okay. No one here is going to fault you for it.
  • by vasqzr (619165) <vasqzr@[ ]scape.net ['net' in gap]> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @03:54PM (#14837183)
    The Michigan Lottery has a Pac-Man instant ticket, along with the regular cash prizes you can win 1 of 30 PacMan arcade games.

    http://www.michigan.gov/lottery/0,1607,7-110-821-1 35347--,00.html [michigan.gov]
  • as a teenager who grew up (age wise) in the 80s, I thought of this yesterday when I was talking to a contractor on building a room in my basement. I could just see a couple of machines side by side with a barstool nearby to sit on, and a load of quarters (you know, to complete the experience). I'm sure I want the ones that are in demand, and thus expensive, but Donkey Kong, Defender and Centipede would be oh-so sweet!
    • It's not the games themselves that are expensive. It's the chassis that runs the bucks. Check out e-bay and you'll find the game boards for relatively cheap. You can even get multiple cart boards for old Atari games like you're thinking of. The Chassis can run upwards of 400 bucks (with the original images, but that can be painted too).
  • It's in perfect condition and now I see them going for 3-4 times what I paid for in 7 years ago. I never thought of it as an investment. A word to the wise for anyone considering buy an arcade game, espescially an older upright - these things are monsters. They are big and heavy. They are hard to move around, especially up/down stairs and they take up a lot of space. They are loads of fun though and anytime someone new sees it in my house they are always in awe. It takes them back.

    Oh, and if you
  • I concur (Score:2, Funny)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552)
    I've got a Donkey Kong and Two Pac-Man machines taking up space in my living room right now. I've always prided myself on being ahead of the trend-curve - and dammit - I still gots it baby!

    Now I can justify getting 4 more machines to my sig-other. Oh honey? We need to remodel the living room some more - I'm thinking Sinistar and Robotron. Whaddya think? Honey?....Honey?
  • Which is why I love my OzStick :)
    It has a joystick and 9(!) buttons.

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