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The History and Decline of Arcade Games

As with most things, the first days of the arcade game were simple. A Pac-man here and there, a pinball machine around the corner, but as with most simple things, it would not remain simple for long. As technology advanced, the two dimensional scrolled, whether it be as a small plane on the bottom of the screen, shooting down endless onslaughts of enemy aircraft or as an oil squirting spy car began giving way to more complex, faster-paced games.

Two-dimensional games like Galaga gave way to third-person/flight simulation dogfighting games like After Burner, the almighty pellet eating Pac-Man gave way to the militant Contra and let’s not forget the god genre of all arcades; the fighting game. With the waves of technology came the waves of kids ready to play, all with pockets full of quarters waiting to be spent. It wasn’t long before the classic two button-one joystick layout just wasn’t enough anymore and gave way to six buttons eventually bringing about new control schemes altogether.

The occasionally populated arcade suddenly turned into the Coliseum (though there were unconfirmed reports of the rarely seen parent putting quarter to machine). It wasn’t just the technology of the games themselves, but somewhere along the lines, the video game arcade became something different altogether, more of a refuge and a proving ground for children and teenagers alike. A safe place where a lack of sense or awareness resulted only in poorly animated explosions or gunshots being directed your way rather than real ones. Where a quarter afforded you the chance to put your initials at the top of the high score list, becoming the King of the said game until proven otherwise wrong. The “uncool” kid of the school or the neighborhood suddenly had the chance to become an undefeated legend…so long as it was within the realm of Street Fighter.

As gaming technology continued advancing, some game genres lost popularity. Others seemed to thrive, the fighting game and the racing game seeming to zero in on competitive spirit became only better with time and it wasn’t long before games like Time Crisis (actually holding pistols that recoil when you shoot) and Beach Head (sit in the chair and spin three hundred and sixty degrees as you fight off hordes of enemy soldiers with various weapons and vehicles at their disposal) took the experience to the next level.

Around the same time that the “arcade game” began breaking new ground, the video game console grew out of its infancy and systems such as the Nintendo 64 and original Play station began emerging, allowing for more than Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog could ever hope to achieve. After that, it was only a matter of time. A few huge titles kept the almighty arcade worth checking in on, but even Dance Dance revolution and Tekken Tag were not strong enough to compete with the Resident Evils and Goldeneyes, especially as the game console became more affordable and the classic fifty-cent slot at the arcade gave way to an electronic dollar machine.

While many “gamers” may hold their hats to their hearts as they pass by the now obsolete Arcade out of respect, they would still much rather throw on their PJs and enjoy a rousing round of murder and mayhem from the lazy boy. Honestly, who stands to play a game any more? Ok, excluding that addicting golf game on Nintendo’s Wii. Moreover, with the advancement in technologies, you have boosting services like eloboost with the help of which new players can quickly improve their ranks without investing that much time in the game. 

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