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Rebirth of the U.S. Arcade? 134

Posted by Zonk
from the phoenix-like dept.
Gamasutra has an article up looking at Sega's plan to reinvigorate the arcade market through its recently purchased GameWorks chain. From the article: "I think what GameWorks has done has recognized where our opportunities are, and through our relationship with Sega — hopefully we're starting to see innovations back on the arcade side that bring a new and different environment and experience that people can't get at home. If you're familiar with House of the Dead 4 and the graphics that are a part of that, it's now starting to be back to having an appeal, starting to see some of that impact back on the arcade-side where you can't play in front of a 52-inch screen and have all of the very vibrant color and animation that's part of it — you can't just do that at home."
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Rebirth of the U.S. Arcade?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can I smoke some weed there like I do at home before playing? =)
    • I am pretty sure most people won't care, as long as you share.

      Besides, last time I saw a cop in an arcade was never.

      "Say, man, you got a joint?"
      "No, not on me, man."
      "It'd be a lot cooler if you did."
  • I sure hope so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creimer (824291) on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:30PM (#15652239) Homepage
    The arcade games at the local movie theater is at least ten years old. Would be nice to have some new arcade games or even (gasp!) pinball machines. I just wish the damn five-years-old stop beating at every game I try.
    • Yeah, but maybe the reason they still the old games around is because they're still fun. (Galaga, anybody?)
    • Gameworks needs to fix the Pinballs, update the roms and trun the sound volume up at the Schaumburg, Il Location. The people working there don't seem to know that much about fixing them. Thay do have new stern games and the rom updates that stern comes out with make game play better and you can download them for free form stern web site.
      • Ahh... I remember the Schaumburg GameWorks. I spent about a year going there almost every Tues and Thurs evening to spend a few hours on Dance Dance Revolution. They had it in such a great place, at the curved section, with all that seating right there. I remember countless hours with people taking turns, me grabbing one pitcher of water after another from the bar (and even tipping the bartenders for being so helpful while providing a freebie), and just having fun. (Except for the day that I was there a
    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:52PM (#15652354)
      The problem I see with these is that they're too darned expensive to play anymore. It's not uncommon for me to see games with a play cost a $1 per play or occasionally even higher. Half of these same games can be purchased and played infinitely for less than $20 now. $0.25 per play was expensive way back "in the day", but at that time home consoles hadn't caught on quite as much as they have now. Drop the price per play down to $0.25 again, or even $0.10, and I'd probaby blow a lot of spare change in the things just waiting on a movie to start, or just killing some time on an afternoon (well, I don't live close enough to a city to really spend it at an arcade, but maybe if I was already at the mall or something).

      As it is for $1 per play I just leave them sitting there, and from the looks of it so do most other people.
      • Agree completely. Fortunately, one of the movie theaters in town gives three games for a buck on terminator pinball. I usually drop at least a buck in it every time.
      • The cost of the machines is too high to only charge 25 cents to play. A better idea would be the system they set up in a video game rental shop in my home town 15 years ago. Set up a bunch of consoles (or MAME boxes if you like), and charge people $X per hour to play them. This works out a lot better for the customer who, when they aren't very good at the game, still end up getting their money's worth, and works out better for the arcade because they don't have to buy expensive hardware. Also, it's adv
      • They should charge an entrance fee and let all the games inside be free to play. Much more fun!
  • by dubmun (891874)
    They get these [virtusphere.com], I'll be there!
  • They should have Penny, Nickel, Dime, and Quarter Arcade games ... just like they have Slots.
    • Here's a nomination for a penny game:

      Professor Pac-Man [klov.com]
    • "They should have Penny, Nickel, Dime, and Quarter Arcade games ... just like they have Slots."

      Some places do, back when I lived in Huntington Beach in CA we had 2 or 3 within driving distance, "Nickel Nickel" I believe Capcom bought them out, but it was $1.95 to get in, all games took the same number of nickels that it took in quarters elsewhere (for instance, Street Fighter II (which I bought one ;), tekken, MK) the games that used to take 2 quarters to start and 1 to continue, took 2 nickels to start an
  • by spykemail (983593) on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:36PM (#15652264) Homepage
    Hardware is the key. I honestly do not believe that an arcade is going to come up with software that is going to take all of my quarters away from my new Apple prodcut piggy bank. Arcades need to concentrate on games that simply aren't nearly as fun or can't be played on a mouse, keyboard, or regular controller. They also need to cost quarters to play, not dollars *O.o.
  • by Om (5281) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:38PM (#15652280)


    Ok, I grew up in arcades when I was a wee tot, so I know my way around them pretty well. I went from Space Invaders, to Pac Man, to Pengo, to Dragon's Lair, to Karate Champ, to Street Fighter craze, to Killer Instinct, to .... you get the idea.

    Video games were designed to play against other people. Even in the early days. Don't believe me? Think about it. Even though in those very early games you didn't specifically play against other people, you actually were indirectly. We were all playing to get the Hi-Scores. You were playing against the person who got the previous Hi-score, right? Remember how badass it was to get the top Hi-Score? That meant that your initials (and score) displayed top center all the time!

    Video Game designed evolved to match players against other players more efficiently. They got pretty good at it too. Street Fighter II was not the most popular game because of it's single-player mode, afterall. Every modern arcade had a vs. mode, or at the very least a co-op mode.

    So, what's my point?

    People think that modern graphics advanced to the point that going to the arcade was essentially wasting money. A modern PC/console had better graphics (not to mention higher ress) than the crap at the arcade, so what was the point of leaving your house? But that's really not the entire story. People neglect to mention that multiplayer games had made major strides in PC gaming. Games like Quake brought multi-player to a whole new level. MMOGs like Ultima/Everquest made games like Cadash [klov.com] seem dated and boring.

    There was one thing that was missing though, and this was in multi-player fighting games. PCs, or even consoles, could never _quite_ do it properly. Also, nothing beats the arcade controls/buttons when it comes to multi-player fighting games. I'm sorry, but I just never quite got the hang of fighting games using a console controller, nevermind a bloody keyboard/flight stick.

    Now, here is what I think arcades should have done to get the one-up on PCs/Consoles. Since graphics will be at least par across both PCs/consoles/arcades, then they should take the multiplayer aspect to the next level.

    Think about all the acades, like Tilt for instance (which is an arcade I see everywhere in Texas) all linked up via a nice WAN/LAN. If you walk in, and see an empty Soul Edge machine, you can jack in the queue, and play some other bloke standing at a Soul Edge machine at another location! All players, across all locations are now linked together.

    Now, think about a giant electronic board that shows all the Hi-Scores across the _entire_ chain of Tilt stores (it could even be available to look at via the www while sitting at home). You can see who has the most wins in a row in Street Fighter 4. The fastest lap in . The highest score in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker [sydlexia.com]... err... you get the idea.

    I mean, Doesn't Golden Tee do something like this?

    Anyway, I could go on and on. Arcades rooms really should start linking up their stores, and the arcade machines themselves, and drop all Hi-Scores across the organization into one DB accessable via a badass screen.

    Arcades should go back to their roots. Then I would love to go back to the arcades and do a little Hi-Score Hunting!

    ++Om
    • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Wave Net http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Mortal_Komba t_3_Wave_Net/ [wikipedia.org] had network play with high scores listing across all Wave Net games like Golden Tee long before PC network gaming and Golden Tee was a big thing.
    • Some sort of Smash Brothers for arcade would be great.. why only 2 people? Let's make it 4! or more! all connected! or 8 for car racing. That would be fun. I'd go with all my friends to the arcade games if there were more games like that
    • This is a great idea... the only problem with it is lag. Fighting games rely too much on quick reactions that I don't think it could be pulled off well. The player across the world would be noticibly slower than the one standing right next to you.

      I have noticed that the arcades that succeed are the ones that offer what you cannot get at home... at least, not easily. I walk into the Dave and Buster's here, and most of the video games here are light gun games, racing games, or DDR. You could get the set

      • FPS games also rely on lightning quick reactions, yet those seem to work pretty well over the internet. If the arcades had some decent dedicated connections between their sites, they could also help avoid occasional drop-outs and other latency related issues in online gaming.
        • Not well enough that I'd be willing to pay per play. The only games that really compare to fighters in terms of latency demands are the hitscan-only shooters like CounterStrike (as opposed to projectile based games like Quake). In CS anyone with more than 100ms latency is not only going to be noticably laggier, but make the game worse for everyone if the server uses unlag prediction (that means when you run past a doorway and they shoot you, you get pulled back. Very disorientating). Also different is that
        • More importantly online fighting games are already being done on the consoles using consumer broadband connections. I mainly play the DOA series online, and it's generally pretty damn good. It's not quite as nice as offline play (a lot of normally unsafe moves become safe with the lag), but when the connection is good it's very close to seamless. My understanding is that in smaller countries like Japan it's even better. It's true that with fighting games every single frame (out of 60 in a second) matters, b
    • We were all playing to get the Hi-Scores. You were playing against the person who got the previous Hi-score, right? Remember how badass it was to get the top Hi-Score? That meant that your initials (and score) displayed top center all the time!

      Now, think about a giant electronic board that shows all the Hi-Scores across the _entire_ chain of Tilt stores (it could even be available to look at via the www while sitting at home).

      Anyway, I could go on and on. Arcades rooms really should start linking up th

    • But, isn't "internet cafes" or "game cafes" what has taken the place of arcade halls? I know that in my city (Malmö, Sweden) there are a handful of places that have arcade games. (Most of them 10+ years old and no-one plays them.) But there are dozens of game cafes where you rent a computer for an hour or two and play online.

      They typically cost less than $10 an hour too, and you don't have to quite just 'cause you got shot. Seems like if arcade halls want to compete that's what they have to aim for.

      Als
    • Prop Cycle Deathmatch

      It's not something that can be done at home, due to the fact that even if you do provide the extra hardware needed, there's the issue of cheating, as one could easily make their machine register higher RPMs per pedal than someone else's.

      Unfortunately arcades are in a bit of a dilemma: To make games that can compete with home console gaming they need expensive hardware, not necessarily for the purpose of better graphics, but for unique control scenarios. (Think Prop Cycle hardware - an
      • Heh, Prop Cycle Deathmatch: Joust...

        I wish there was a decent and not hideously expensive home version of that, I think it could be a great boon to exercise.
    • Video Game designed evolved to match players against other players more efficiently. They got pretty good at it too. Street Fighter II was not the most popular game because of it's single-player mode, afterall. Every modern arcade had a vs. mode, or at the very least a co-op mode.

      Haha, there is no better feeling than beating the ass of a 18+ guy in front of his friends, especially when he keeps challenging and challenging you (a 8 or 9 year old kid). Oh god, I miss those days. I think it was one of the bes
  • Now (almost) everyone hase a handheld that can play games of very good quality how are they thinking to compete that? They better plaice them in locations where you don't come with your handheld like some sort of events and concerts.
  • Sega buys GameWorks? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JTD121 (950855)
    When I was younger, everytime I saw a GameWorks (like, three times), I always saw a huge multitude of Sega games there. As such, I believed that Sega owned and/or created the GameWorks franchises....I didn't know they weren't already owned by Sega.


    However, if they do 'rebirth' the arcade market in the US, I hope to hell that they bring it to the East Coast, as I've only ever seen GameWorks on the West Coast....

    • I know that there's one in Columbus, Ohio... not exactly East coast... but definitely not West coast...

      Personally, I'm just a fan of beer and cigarettes at an arcade... I didn't outgrow the Chuck E. Cheese mindset... I've just changed my tastes from cardboard pizza to pints of Guinness...

      Nephilium

      • Go find a Dave & Busters.
        Not only do they have a monster arcade, there are light switches on the machines that indicate to the wait staff 'hey, I need another drink'. Fully stocked bar and a zillion kinds of beer, brought to you so you don't miss a beat (or a shot, or a race, or whatever.)

        It is an adult environment (hence the ethanol) so expect to pay adult prices (like a dollar per game, but they are the high end games.)
    • If by GameWorks you mean the giant arcades with swiping cards instead of coins...they have one in Sunrise, FL. About 20 minutes from where I live...but I hardly ever go there.
    • And there's another in Philly. Well, there was when I was there 7 years ago. Here's their map [gameworks.com]
  • Well this can't possibly fail ...
    • Re:Sega's involved? (Score:2, Informative)

      by ClamIAm (926466)
      Um, Sega has always been an arcade company. It's how they got their name (SErvice GAmes). Their home console failures have little to do with their arcade business.
  • by t0qer (230538) on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:47PM (#15652329) Homepage Journal
    Sure lots of folks like to say that consoles killed the arcade, but I just don't believe it. Arcades have always offered "You can't get this experience at home."

    What I think really killed the arcade industry was operators that had Mr Crabs or Scrooge Mc Duck as operators.

    I can't remember how many times I went into an arcade, plopped a token/quarter in the slot only to find that a button was broken, or a joystick and or steering wheel was loose. When i'd go to the operator asking for a refund, it was always met with some fat guy smelling like he hadn't showered in a week pointing at a sign that said, "Play at your own risk, no refunds!"

    $0.25 is all it would have taken to keep me happy and coming back to my local arcade. Instead of cultivating customers for the long term though, most arcade operators just don't care. Attendance started dropping off, and as a result people started turning to PC's and console systems for their fix.
    • Not to mention that prices for games have skyrocketed!

      Olden days: $0.25=1 game
      Now: up to $2.00 for ONE FREAKING GAME, depending on how huge or "immersive" the game case is.

      Until they (the retailers, not the game companies, because the arcades themselves set the price), realize that I'll gladly pay over $2 in a game that I could play for even $0.50 a pop, than one that I would not play more than once at $2, or not at all, then they won't get customers. People don't have that kind of disposable income, at least not the kids that they want/need to revitalize the arcade.
      Best of luck, because it's an awesome ideal. I loved the arcade. But I think people are greedy in terms of not fixing coin slots, but moreso in the pricing scheme of the games. Who wouldn't play the next rocking racing game for $.25 a pop, multiple times over and over... I would. More than you'd get out of me, by playing for $.75 or $1 at a time, that's for sure.
      • I'd bet that the $2.00 fee is designed for peak times (Friday/Saturday nights) when all the games are being used. How about the ability to easily reprice based on times? Would you be willing to pay $.25 on a Tuesday morning and $2.00 on Friday nights? Something to think about.
      • Absolutely -- you want to revitalize an arcade, drop the prices. Hell I used to play SFII at a local deli by my house as a kid, seriously, these people made a killing off of us. We'd get up to go wait for the bus a couple hours early and play $1 to start, $.50 to continue (genius, insures that quarters keep going into that thing, because nobody wants to pay a dollar, and it's constant PvP so someone is losing and having to put in another $.50) ...I swear I put so much money in that machine it was ridiculo
      • you forget you old guy tag.

        / old guy
        Also, the price of bread is too expensive. I remember when it cost a quarter, now it's 2 bucks!
    • What I think really killed the arcade industry was operators that had Mr Crabs or Scrooge Mc Duck as operators.

      I can't remember how many times I went into an arcade, plopped a token/quarter in the slot only to find that a button was broken, or a joystick and or steering wheel was loose. When i'd go to the operator asking for a refund, it was always met with some fat guy smelling like he hadn't showered in a week pointing at a sign that said, "Play at your own risk, no refunds!"

      Yes, our store is a multiple e

  • The only plan to revitalize the arcade would be to reduce what it costs to play a game. The only way to do that is to make arcade games substantially more durable, because they are expensive to maintain. It would also help to make them cheaper. Unfortunately, making them more reliable would make them more expensive. So, obviously I don't have THE ANSWER(tm).

    Regardless, it costs maybe $200 to get a decent used console with a couple peripherals, and $20 per used game, so let's say $300 to play give games as much as you want. Since new release games cost one dollar and up per play that's maybe 300 games, which will take between 30 seconds and what, five minutes? Ten if you're a super-pimp? By the time you've learned the combos on a new fighting game, you could have bought the last version and taken it home.

    Speaking for myself, it would require that all games were fifty cents or less per play before I would go back to spending a lot of time in arcades.

    There are a handful of arcades that run on nickels, if it's normally a dollar game it's a twenty cent game. They tend to have prize systems and snack bars, though, as well as other merchandise. They also tend to be COMPLETELY PACKED.

    • The only way to do that is to make arcade games substantially more durable, because they are expensive to maintain.

      Iiiiii'd have to disagree with ya' there... my cabinet is -extremely- durable, I think you'd need an axe to hurt that thing... i'm sure it's pushin' more than 300lbs of some very solid wood added with a very heavy 29" monitor, and it's still not top-heavy. These things are incredibly durable..
      • Has your cabinet seen real arcade use since you've got it, or is it just for your personal use?

        Having worked with arcade machines that see real use, you'd be amazed the crap that happens to these machines. The way some people abuse the controls, you'd think Donkey Kong raped their mom.

        • Has your cabinet seen real arcade use since you've got it, or is it just for your personal use?

          Having worked with arcade machines that see real use, you'd be amazed the crap that happens to these machines. The way some people abuse the controls, you'd think Donkey Kong raped their mom.

          Yeah, it doesn't matter how much the machine weighs when people spill their drink on/in it, or when someone thinks it's cute to just bash on the buttons or kick the coin door because you can't read the damn bright orange stick

  • by casualsax3 (875131) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:00PM (#15652398)
    The day I can play a game for 25 cents. Seriously - I'd end up spending a dollar anyway - it's absurd that companies expect you to shell out $1.00 for 2 minutes of gameplay.
    • Holy Shit....I just realized that I'm old enough to do a Grumpy Old Man rant on this issue(!):

      Rebirth of the arcade....FLIBITTY FLOO! We didn't have any of these fancy, multi-story arcades with their realistic graphics and surround sound when I was kid. In my day, arcades were in run down strip malls where the roaches were big enough carry off the small tikes. You had to ask a human to give you some quarters in exchange for the five pounds of un-wrapped nicles and dimes we brought with us. Then we had to wa

  • by cronot (530669) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:00PM (#15652402)

    Nowadays, mostly every computer and videogame on the market can have a game at the an arcade level. Flashy graphics, cool sound, cockpits and other stuff don't cut it anymore, all consoles from the last 3~4 years have that (except for the cockpits, but that's already dull anyway). They have to innovate on the Interface. I say, let go of the joysticks, buttons, wheels, etc. They need to make the player immerse more on the action using interfaces similar to Nintendo's Wii controler, but more refined for the especific game. Actually, I think a big killer and the next big thing for Arcades would be VR games. I understand the technology isn't quite there yet, but then again, the industry had plenty of time to mature the technology, by means of investments - the Arcardes market was really sleeping at the wheel. I actually saw a VR game years ago, but it didn't took off. The glasses weighted a bit too much, and the interface felt awkward mostly because of that, it didn't feel natural.

    In summary, what the Arcade market needs to delivery is something that people can't get on their living room.

    • Like DDR. Dance Dance Revolution almost saved the arcades in my hometown. It was about the only game anyone played (well, that, and Soul Calibur II) and there were ALWAYS people on the machines. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough in the end.
    • The last time I went into an arcade, it was full of all kinds of custom input games--games where you sat on a jet-ski that moved, or stood on skies, rode on a horse, etc, not to mention of course DDR and all the lightgun-based games. (Obviously the last two have console equivalents, but not as many people are likely to have dance pads or lightguns). I know in Japan they have a game where you stick a finger-shaped thing into a fake butt. These types of things probably add a lot to the price of the machine
    • trus.
      Disneyland used to(may still) had a game where the cockpit would rotate 360 degree in a sphere.
      It's was a kick flying a jet in a place, and when the plane did a barrel roll, so would I.
  • Perhaps making an arcade cabinet not cost $10 000 would be a start. The main reason the arcade is dead is because the things cost so much to buy, which would be passed on to the consumer, and paying $2 to play a machine for five minutes is not my idea of a good time.
    • And the entire experience is stupid anyway. They would be better off building MAME cabinets, so that everyone could play every game. It sucks going to the arcade, and all the good games are taken up by the kids with too much money, while the rest of us are stuck playing Q-Bert. Oh, and they could charge by time played, not per game. This is the thing that bothers me the most. If you suck, you pay your $1, and then you get to play for 5 minutes. WTF is that? Even games that you are good at get extremel
  • I guess that's probably better than arcade afterbirth.
  • maybe I missed something but...

    starting to see some of that impact back on the arcade-side where you can't play in front of a 52-inch screen and have all of the very vibrant color and animation that's part of it -- you can't just do that at home.

    you can't get the same feeling of playing a gun game that is released on home consoles (PS2 especially but there was a HOTD on xbox with a gun and it's supposedly coming out on the 360 aswell) because you don't have a 52-inch screen with vibrant colors?

    All I

    • Good points, except for one:

      (Steel Battalion would of made a great arcade game)

      No way in hell. I own the game, and I love it to death, but they'd be crazy to make it an arcade game. The goddamn controller has 40 buttons (granted, most of them are of limited use, but still...) Unless people were willing to spend 10-15 bucks just learning the controls and getting their asses shot off -- and I really don't think most people would be willing to do that -- it would be a rarely played curiosity, at best. E

      • well I was thinking like the controller, only cut out about 30-35 buttons on it.

        you have the ejector button but that would end the game (naturally), The peddels and just two joysticks with the buttons you need.

        sure it would be more simplified but is there truely a need for 40 buttons on a controller? there isn't a ton of games that use all the buttons on a standard controller as it is (or atleast in some cases not very well) and that's only 10 buttons.

        Mainly I was thinking of the peddels and joysti
  • Other than the games I've seen in the local bowling alley, about the only arcades one sees is Dave and Busters. The problem with D&Bs is IMHO, that it's 'credit based'. So you pay X to to charge up a card and a game costs Y credits. The thing is the more you play the more credits your dollar buys. Kinda like a volume discount. If you don't go very often, then you're always getting the fewest # of credits per dollar.

    The kicker tho is, it's very hard to tell a) how many credits you have on your card
    • Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me -- I wish I could go back and edit my posts because I wanted to bring up this point myself and I forgot.

      This card based arcade game system blows, sure it's good for the arcade, guaranteed 20 bucks worth of gaming (wow, 10 games) and it's 'convenient' for the kids, because you only have to carry one card! but you can't keep track of how much you have as easily when it's in that stupid card, D&B and Gameworks are the WORST with this too, because 20 bucks gets you somethin
      • Re:Dave and Busters (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DLWormwood (154934) <wormwood&me,com> on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @12:51AM (#15654666) Homepage

        This card based arcade game system blows, sure it's good for the arcade,

        Believe it or not, the card system isn't just to get the $20 up front. In many municipalities (like Schuamburg, IL, which has a GW location), there are laws on the books to strongly curtail coin-operated machinery. Originally written to restrict underage access to coin-op cigarette machines, they were heavily re-inforced in the early 80's as a moral panic about video games and juvinile deliquency (first of many )-:) spread through the popular consciousness. I first heard about this because Schuamburg used to also have a card reader arcade in Woodfield as part of the defunct Mars 2112 restaurant.

      • Actualy, I think the card based system could work wonders if applied differently. Not by credits, but by time. Have the machines in the arcade set up to accept quarters or the card. The card costs $X / hr or half hour of play and is accepted at all the machines, meanwhile the games also accept quarters (even if you keep the current prices this works). That way the people just here on their lunch break can pop in for a quick 25 or so game and the kids looking for something to do for the afternoon can pay the
    • The classic example of this is Gauntlet, where even if you aren't hit, you are running outta health.

      To be fair, my Game Boy Advance version of Gauntlet does the same thing and I remember the same behavior in the arcades in the 80's. Although I get unlimited continues on my GBA.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:36PM (#15652578) Homepage

    Surprisingly, the profitability problem with arcades isn't the games. It's the food service. See this consultant's report: "Food Service and Location-Based Leisure Projects" [whitehutchinson.com]. "The only location-based entertainment (LBE) venues that will be profitable in the future are those that draw guests because of, not in spite of, the chow." Consider Chuck E Cheese [chuckecheese.com], Nolan Bushnell's original pizza/arcade operation from 1977, which has 500 locations. They've stayed in business through three decades and all the generations of consoles. And they're profitable.

    As the consultants put it, A well-designed and managed food & beverage operation can generate a 40+% profit after deducting cost-of-goods-sold and labor. Ban the words "snack bar" and "concession" from your vocabulary. Think café and restaurant instead.

    They're probably right. That's something an arcade can deliver that you can't get at home.

    • [The Chuck E. Cheese experience of pizza and video games is] something an arcade can deliver that you can't get at home.

      Huh huh, you said deliver [dominos.com]. What else can CEC offer that a video game store plus a pizza parlor can't?

    • Which reminds me, the only really cool arcade I've seen is Ground Kontrol in Portland, which has a bar serving beer :) As well as an old Nintendo with nearly every game for it, which is suprisingly lacking in most places.

      As we have a slowly aging gamer demographic, hopefully we will see more acrade bars in the future. "Gimme a bloody mary and a cart of Castlevania, please"
    • As the consultants put it, "A well-designed and managed food & beverage operation can generate a 40+% profit after deducting cost-of-goods-sold and labor. Ban the words 'snack bar' and 'concession' from your vocabulary. Think café and restaurant instead."

      They're probably right. That's something an arcade can deliver that you can't get at home.


      When Virtual World was still around, I used to go down to the Costa Mesa location even when I didn't have the $8 to play a mission. I'd go up to the bar and
    • If you're anywhere near one, Dave & Buster's is pretty much what you're looking for if Chuck E. Cheese isn't quite your idea of great food.
  • Arcade games were a step ahead of what you could get at home. Once home games equalled arcade games, arcades died. Its simple economics. Arcades could come back, but it'd require a game experience you can't get in home. Some mentioned VR, but even racing games are what are in arcades now, but they suck. It would require something revolutionary to bring back arcades, and the rise of the home gaming systems is so revolutionary, I can't see arcades beating it any time soon.
  • I don't know how widespread these places were, but in Toronto Sega opened several huge arcade centres called "Playdium". They had all the latest arcade cabinets in their hugest and coolest forms, plus tried n' true titles and retro areas. Plus they featured batting cages, rock climbing, go karts, motion simulators, Skee-ball and other ticket games, and I don't even know what else because I could never make it all the way around those places.

    For some reason most of these places flopped. I believe they had 3 locations including an all-hours store in the entertainment district downtown. Strangely, that was the location to close first. Now the only one left is the first store in Mississauga which is a good 40KM from downtown.

    They sound great in theory but in the end they're annoying. You have to stand in huge lines to play anything good and there's no "code of honour" to keep people from continuing their games indefinitely. Games are all priced differently and you pay via arbitrary "credits" on paycards that invariably leave you with 4.7 unusable and non-refundable doodads. Many card sliders are broken and either prevent you from playing, steal your credits, or require multiple swipes which take longer than a continue countdown timer.

    These places are great for tourists but, aside from the odd $20 allnighter, are too expensive and too much of a drive for residents to call a regular hangout.

    I, for one, would much sooner play PC on my 19" monitor or PS2 on my 31" TV than get jostled around by tittering tweens 45 minutes from my house.
    • I worked at the Playdium in Burnaby, BC in 1998-1999 when I was in grade 12. It was busy as heck when it first opened but when I left 8 months later, I noticed crowds had noticeably shrunk. It closed down in early 2005, and frankly, I was surprised it lasted as long as it did. The rent must have been astronomical (40,000 square feet in the largest mall in BC), and I doubt they could even amortize their larger attractions. They just didn't have the turnover.

      Good memories though. Free games, hot chicks - the
  • Game Works (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stinkbot (975328)
    It seems that many of the comments about arcades have already been addressed by GameWroks. Many of you may not be farmiliar with the chain or looked at the prices and walked right back out. The GameWorks in Grapevine Mills Mall is just outside of Dallas and I have been there several times. At ten P.M. they kick out everyone under the age of 18. You pay around $20 for two hours of access to every game. They serve food and alcohol. I have a beer, a game and no screeming brats. It works. the place is packed at
  • Daytona USA 2 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:59PM (#15652729)
    was mentioned in the article, and it's 7 bloody years old. I mean, really, what's needed are cabinets with interchangable hardware so it's not so expensive to add new games. Jamma was a good idea, but as soon as 3D hit big, it was thrown by the wayside in favor of custom hardware. And Clint's assertion that people don't have 52" screens with vibrant color and animation is just silly. The last couple House of the Dead games ran on x86/Nvidia hardware, and I know plenty of people with 52" tvs. Bolting a sports bar on isn't going to help much either. OTOH, tournaments are good. Might give people a reason to go to the arcade again.
    • Daytona USA 2 was mentioned in the article, and it's 7 bloody years old.

      And it was a great game then, and still is now. At Dave n' Busters they have I think 8 of those networked where you can race against 7 other people and every time I walked in there it was packed.. The cool thing about those isn't that you have a unique track to race, it's that you have a unique racing experience based on the other people seated around you, makes it fun.
    • And Clint's assertion that people don't have 52" screens with vibrant color and animation is just silly. The last couple House of the Dead games ran on x86/Nvidia hardware, and I know plenty of people with 52".

      Jebus, what world do you live in? "Plenty of people"? Then again, being Slashdot, I suspect the readership is skewed toward the more affluent.

      Honestly, while it's certainly true that *some* people can duplicate the arcade experience at home, I really doubt that's the case for your average American.
  • i'd like to join in the chorus of voices saying basically this:

    if you want my interest back in the arcade gaming arena, you need to become more competitive price-wise with other gaming markets, like the consoles and PCs I already own and play for free
  • This is old news.

    People like me, who build arcade machines (though I own a MAME-based machine, most of the machines I build use a game I've written called Jewel Crash which is very similar to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo), can't set the prices. That's left up to the people who end up operating the machines. I work at an arcade where most of the video games are $0.50 and the ticket games are $0.25; there's a ton of pass-through, but it's also located at a resort so there's a lot of built-in clientele among
    • It also means that every old-style game is suddenly incompatible with new machines.

      The first thing that comes to mind is to proxy the coin. Wire something to sit between the coin drop and the board, and set the board to 1 coin 1 play. When someone drops x number of coins at a certain time, send 1 coin down to the board and they get their credit.

      • Heh. You just reinvented the Credit Multiplier.

        Seeburg did that in the 1960's with discrete transistor flip-flops. Jukeboxes and vending machines that use multi-coin rejectors (as GP pointed out, expensive) use the circuit to make a quarter register 5 "nickel pulses". I used to work for Stern on the old Seeburg line in the '80s and we were still making some of that 20 year old stuff.

        The pricing was set by wire jumpers, the difficulty is remoting them somehow for rapid price changes.
    • Easy. Make the amount of coins you need for one credit different at different times during the day. So, at 10 in the morning, it might be 1 Coin = 1 Credit. At 7pm on Friday, it could be 3 Coins = 1 Credit. Sounds easy enough to me.
    • That's a horrible idea. Playing an arcade game is already too expensive. Maybe if it was 10 cents on tuesday morning and 25 cents on friday afternoon. I suppose pricing based on time works for the movies. Although, I refuse to pay the full evening rate.
    • why would it be any more expensive for to build the cabnet?
  • After reading the article, I don't feel like I know any more than I did before reading it. Take the closing paragraph from the Gameworks guy being interviewed:

    "Sega Entertainment is looking at expanding the U.S. market, that's what our focus and vision is. We will work with Sega of Japan, we're going to work with them on taking GameWorks abroad as the opportunities present themselves. Right now we're working on the U.S. and making GameWorks as big as we can."

    So ... you're going to do ... something. A

    • WHen I was young and went to chucky chees(1980) the arcade area was like a dungeon. Low ceiling, cramped spaces, limited lighting.

      Today, when I go to chucky cheese with my son and daughte, it is open, well lit, and they check to see that the child leaves with the parent they came with.

      Now, that damn rat still annoies the hell out of me, but it is atleast a place I am comfortable in letting me children play at.

      FOr the record, drugs were sold in arcades. Of courser they are also sold in parks, the beach libra
  • Population density (Score:2, Informative)

    by Froobly (206960)
    As the article says, and as everyone has commented, games are expensive these days. The days when arcade cabinets were relatively inexpensive and a half a generation ahead of the home systems are long gone, so that economic model can't work. You simply cannot have an arcade on every corner and have them all stay in business.

    The key factor is a large, immediately accessible population. It's why the world's megalopolises like Tokyo and Hong Kong have booming arcade businesses while the rest of the world ju
  • Some old arcade games had very good gameplay and one could enjoy playing them for hours and spending much money of them; examples: Ms PacMan, Arkanoid, Pitfall, Solomon's Key, Donkey Kong Jr, Bubble Bobble etc.

    Not only these games had good gameplay, but their audio and visuals matched perfectly. Tunes were memorable and the graphics, while primitive most of the time, they had a warmth that can not be found in later games. The overall experience was joyfull and kept you coming back.

    The newer games were all a
  • The only thing that tha arcade has going for it is immersion. Custom hardware devices like DDR, drum sets, 360-degree pan-and-tilt systems, holograms, etc. Arcades are a place to go and see new technology, and for companies to try and make a profit on experimental game play systems. But if I want to play video games on a 52" screen, I'll go visit a friend who splurged on such a system. Everybody knows somebody with a setup like that. And frankly, I don't really enjoy it that much more. It's impressive
  • Misunderstood (Score:2, Insightful)

    I think people are misconstruing the way Gameworks works. The one i went to in ybor city, fl was basically like an arcade + bar. $20 buys you unlimited plays on all but the ticket spitting machines. Our party spent several hours there and we were all playing the whole time. Between the rounds and the games, I must've dropped like $80 there. And i had fun doing it. I just wish there were one here in the northeast.
  • It would also be nice if arcades were visited by the cleaning crews more than once every two years. Pretty much every arcade I've been in had a stinky slimy carpet, nasty film on the games themselves, and in general stunk.

    I think you could keep more people in if the facilities were sparkling clean and kept that way.

    Also many arcades need to pay more mind to proper lighting. An arcade is not a dungeon.
  • With small houses costing $4 million in that country and rent prices racing ahead, more of those guys should be looking to arcades for more space.

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

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