It’s tough to envision it, but there was a period where arcade games trumped their console contest. It was a time where groups of people would gather, with pockets clanking, and spend a day playing games inside an arcade.
As incredible as the 8-bit NES Console and the 16-bit Sega Genesis system were, they couldn’t compete against their arcade counterparts. This was also due to the expensive price of consoles back in the day, it was much cheaper to spend a couple of 50p on a game than a hundred on a Saga console. Arcade Evolution can design personal machines.
With advancements in technology, arcade games are now widely available online. You may look at any game that was showcased on both the consoles and the arcades to see for yourself. Compare famous arcade games such as Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, Shinobi, and the rest of the classics of the times, for their NES versions. It is pretty clear what was more popular at the time, however, once more this has recently changed due to technological advancements.
However much the consoles have increased, it still could not catch up to the gaming experience the arcades provided. When extraordinary computer games came out like Doom or Half-Life, they still did not have the graphical and sound power of “Time Crisis” at the neighbourhood arcade.
Then came the next generation of personal consoles, the Xbox, the Ps2. The sounds and images were razor sharp. There was an explosion in the market, as these consoles could finally live up to and even beat the arcade gaming experience. The popularity arcades had gained over the years rapidly started falling, for these reasons it was obvious that the arcade industry was flatlining, and this was the final nail in the coffin.
Add this to the fact, that the days of 50p games have been dead for quite some time. In older time, it was understood that you could walk into an arcade with £5 and your day was set. Like the rise in Freddo the frog and numerous other products, £5 started increasing, soon you’d need £10 to suffice you for a day at your local arcade. But due to the greater price of games, arcade owners required to be reimbursed at a much faster rate than previously. So, the more recent games cost 50p, £1, to £1.50 per day.
People found that with home, personal consoles the face of gaming had changes, the consoles brought the similar experience to the player at home, without needing to pay to play,
unlike the arcades. Now, with the most recent invasion of the next-gen consoles (XBOX 360, PS3, Wii) playing in arcades appears to be a prehistoric experience.
Will it ever return to the point where arcades are relevant and striving in our contemporary? It is certainly not looking good at the moment. It has really gotten so bad that arcades are slowing down in Japan, this is actually frightening because Japan is like the Las Vegas of arcades. The games may not be performed in the traditional American way, but they’re arcades nevertheless. The Nintendo Wii has had a clear influence over there.
Somewhere, out there, is a market and an audience for arcades, who want such classics as Street Fighter Arcade Machine, and I for one, hope there could be someone who comes up with this magic formula that combines the good old days with the good modern days.