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Thread: Arcade Scene: Is It Really Dead?

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    ServBot (Level 11) Aswald's Avatar
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    Default Arcade Scene: Is It Really Dead?

    In the classic gaming section, I asked about the arcade scene.

    This was largely because I haven't even seen one in a decade- yes, really!- but was planning on going to a mall area soon, since I haven't seen the place in as long.

    It had the venerable, brings back good memories of Cosmic Avenger and Star Trek, Dream Machine.

    But, several days ago I mentioned this to someone and was told that it was gone, just a few months ago.

    Is it just because this is an economic dead zone, or is this happening all over? Is the Dream Machine chain gone or dying?

    I'd rather hear about this from you fellow gamers than checking the Internet- you're much more reliable.

    Thanks!


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    Last edited by Aswald; 06-28-2012 at 04:57 PM.
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    Pretzel (Level 4) Gamevet's Avatar
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    I haven't seen an arcade in a mall for over 5 years. The closest thing to a mall arcade you're going to see, is if it has an AMC theater attached to it.

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    Mall arcades have been all but extinct for a long time now.... Every now and then you will see one (last one I actually saw was in Spokane WA), but most malls (which are owned by one or two companies nowadays) see them as an attractant for the riff-raff (kids skipping school and the like), and don;t make very much money. Back in the late 70s going into the 80s this was not the case of course.... I say this as one of those mall rats from that time period...

    Most arcades are standalone endeavours with their own space away from malls. The location is the main factor in whether it will succeed, closely followed by what kind of games they have, and if there are other way of generating business aside fromt he games (such as attaching a bar or restaurant). I wish arcades would come back, because I miss the sounds, the feel of the controls, the lights, the music (They had Flynn's Arcade at Disneyland and that was right on the money from what I saw).... emulation is wonderful, but there is something missing from the experience.
    AKA DM Brian, Thaco's Hammer 2nd Edition AD&D Podcast. www.thacoshammer.info

    Confessions Of An Arcade Addict Podcast, host, executive producer. http://www.anchor.fm/coaa

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    A lot of the malls out here seem to have arcades. Not great ones though, usually just a corner with a few racing and shooting games. The bigger places mainly have redemption machines. Certainly not what it used to be but it's not too uncommon to see a few machines here and there.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Yeah I have seen those things... most malls around here in MI have them too, and its ridiculous... there needs to be at least a Multicade present to give the player a choice... I test drive cars for a living, and on one of the routes I drive we get to stop in an area with that has a bowling alley... the game room in there is Fast and Furious bike edition, Guitar Hero and a couple of prize games, they used to have a Galaga/Ms. Pac Man combo machine and an Evel Knievel pinball machine (beat to hell), but they got rid of them... its a pity.

    Even Pinball Pete's in Ann Arbor has too many dance/guitar/drumming games... they need more classic machines.
    AKA DM Brian, Thaco's Hammer 2nd Edition AD&D Podcast. www.thacoshammer.info

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) treismac's Avatar
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    The two malls in my city both lost their arcades in the past two year. We still have one stand alone arcade, Star Castle, that also acts as a skating rink and laser tag arena.

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    Machines persist in "family fun centers," bowling alleys, movie theaters, etc. And of course Dave and Busters. Otherwise, there is a bit of a renaissance with classic arcades operated as bars or small privateer arcades using the freeplay/hourly rate. I definitely think small shops can succeed, because teenagers who can't drink want a place to hang out where they won't get hassled.
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    Kirby (Level 13) cyberfluxor's Avatar
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    There is a place called Jillian's (Website) that relocated from a downtown venue to a mall and occupies a huge space. They had the mall sign a contract to remove any direct competition, so the food court Cyberstation (operated by Namco) was shut down. Jillian's is a nice venue but the price is steep. They have plenty of racing and redemption machines. Expect to pay $1 per race on a Hydro Thunder game, however they do have 4 linked units. You can burn through a pocket of cash real fast. These days I'd expect to pay 25 or maybe 50 to play a racer from 10 years ago that can be had for $500 and under at auction. I do not recall seeing Pole Position at $1/credit, perhaps I'm just cheap.
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    No, you;re not cheap... I would never pay $1 for a two year old game, nevermind a thrity year old game. I would even pay .50 for freaking Pole Position..
    AKA DM Brian, Thaco's Hammer 2nd Edition AD&D Podcast. www.thacoshammer.info

    Confessions Of An Arcade Addict Podcast, host, executive producer. http://www.anchor.fm/coaa

    Crawl before you walk, walk before you run, run before you fly.

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    I was at the mall today for errands and decided to snap some pictures. Enjoy!

    The old Cyberstation entrance at the food court.


    The Jillian's entrance in the main hall, first floor.
















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    Kirby (Level 13) cyberfluxor's Avatar
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    Second set of photos.














    Last edited by cyberfluxor; 06-10-2012 at 10:58 PM.
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    ^^ SWEET! A Slide It! That is the most fun redemption arcade machine out there. It's on my short list of arcade machines that I still want.

    As for arcades stocking older machines, sorry ladies and gents, I've worked in arcades and one of them had a large section they called the "Classic and Retro Section" containing about 25 absolutely outstanding classic games. Other than Ms. Pac-Man, the games didn't earn crap in a week. I remember one day when I was doing token collection and our Narc machine took in two tokens.

    For the week.

    I love classic gaming just as much as the next person, but unless you dedicate the entire arcade to this, or you do the hourly fee thing, no one plays them unfortunately. It's a tough thing to overcome, and with new games that cost thousands upon thousands of dollars, it ain't easy to make a go of it at all.

    It *can* be done. One of the arcades that I worked at made money every year and closed only because the owner didn't want to do it any more... and honestly, that place could have doubled what it made with just a little more business sense about how to do things. But then again, they had more than just machines there too.

    If anyone is interested, I have some documentaries on eBay right now about Star Worlds Arcade, a small time arcade making a go of it still today. Those guys are amazing, as is Gallopping Ghost in Illinois too.
    Dan Loosen
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    I wonder if Wreck-It Ralph will help create a small resurgence in arcade gaming.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    I feel this thread has already been done before... At any rate, my obligatory mention of The Pinball Wizard in Pelham, NH and saying it's the best arcade in the Northeastern US. Yes, I personally rank it higher than FunSpot. 100+ pins, 200-ish classic games, amazingly organized, and the vast majority of games & pins work FLAWLESSLY as one of the co-owners is an arcade repairperson by trade.
    I was actually just at the Wizard a week or two ago and was happy to see it was actually quite busy (even though it meant I didn't get a chance to play Addams Family)!
    The one time I went to FunSpot I was impressed at some of the games they had (Chiller? Death Race? Crossbow? Mouse Trap? It's like an Exidy archive!), but they only had maybe 10 pinball machines, half of which were turned off, and it seemed every game I played had some sort of damage (broken joystick/buttons, jammed token slots, faulty light guns) which completely killed the gameplay experience. In their defense, it was in late February last year (not exactly prime time for the Lakes region), but still... sad.

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    ServBot (Level 11) Aswald's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, especially you, Cyberfluxor, for the photos!

    Actually, I meant arcades in general; I mentioned mall arcades only because it was the only one in this entire area!
    Now, let's see if this "Opera Mini" works here...
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    I wonder if Wreck-It Ralph will help create a small resurgence in arcade gaming.
    I hope so, but it's really only possible if they decide to make an arcade machine based on it and promote it in various major locations. Possibly they could name an arcade after the one to appear in the movie and maybe locate it in Disney World or a similar major attraction. Maybe they already are doing this? Anyone know?

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    The "eat and game" setup with the card readers seems to do a REALLY good job these days still. Chains like Jillians and Dave and Busters have great lineups of modern games and thankfully it seems like the people are there mainly for the games! The Jillians at Greenbrier Mall is a great example, only a small percentage is redemption, most of it is shooters/racers and the days the restaurant was closed for renovation, the game room seemed to be doing great still and was jam packed. It's not that arcades are dead, it's that so many of the places that contained them (malls, small shopping centers, etc.) are going downhill in the economy that they're losing their audience... the big stand alones as mentioned above do just fine, Flipper McCoys in VA Beach is also a great example of a huge, old-style arcade that's thriving in this day and age. Arcades aren't on every street corner anymore but the business is far from dead.

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    To Some Level It's Dead
    And
    It's Still Alive IMO
    And
    Will Be For A Long Time


    Quote Originally Posted by AceAerosmith View Post
    They'll digest what they can and vomit up bones/undigestible parts on trees or ground. They said we should look for white puke spots on trees or ground nearby. I have better things to do than look for owl barf so, needless to say, I haven't been checking things out.

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    Outside of a Dave and Busters downtown, there really aren't any more arcades around.

    Ballys had a few Aladdin's Castles at a few malls, but other than that, there was Saturn's Rings and D.P.'s, but I was too young to get there on my own so as A kid, I didn't have to go too far to find arcade machines.
    One bowling alley had Rolling Thunder, Karate Champ, Zoo Keeper ( WHAT? ), Tempest and S.T.U.N. Runner. I spent hours on end there.

    There was one game, I can't remember the name, it was a typical side scroller you played as a ninja, using throwing stars and the like, but it was very panoramic,..it had 3 screens side by side.
    Not sure if the game was any good, but it got my attention to give it a go.

    I do remember the first game I saw with screens on top of the arcade cabinet was Mortal Kombat. Never saw a game draw like that before.
    By that time, I was pursuing other interests and the old Aladdin's Castle crowd was thinning out.

    The variety in cabinets were always cool to see.
    Each game having it's own unique controls and look.

    Dave and Busters is okay but it's full of doucheb@gs.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Griking's Avatar
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