When I was a kid, I remember going to Skegness to try out the latest games, some of which would eventually arrive on the Sony PlayStation. I remember playing Tekken Tag and even Tekken 3 before they landed on consoles, wondering what other modes or characters could be coming.
In recent years, arcades have become a bit of a fad; something in the UK that’s becoming rarer and rarer to visit; they’re only now seen at seaside towns or in cities like Manchester and London.
While there are independent gaming bars that have arcades as their pull, it still seems like they are on the decline.
But with streaming technologies and Game Pass content being very prevalent in recent times, one can’t help but wonder if something similar could be applied to arcades.
Arcade on the Decline
Straight away, you may think, ‘I could just buy an arcade joystick with six buttons, plug it into my console and enjoy. What’s the point?’
But right there, misses the point of what makes an arcade work so well. Going to a place that only has arcade machines is like going to a theme park like Alton Towers; you’re not going to get the same experience if you wear an Oculus and fire up ‘Rollercoaster Simulator VR’.
We’ve already seen closures of famous arcades, like the one above, but even with the COVID-19 pandemic raging on around the world, it could be time to look at what could occur for when the vaccines inevitably arrive next year.
The camaraderie of playing Time Crisis 2, or Outrun 2, or Simpsons Arcade can only be emulated in an arcade setup, so here’s what could happen to rescue the market.
Arcade Streaming; Inside or Outside
Imagine an arcade machine that’s modular; something that’s the same size to a regular arcade machine, but where you can replace the joystick layout, to two guns and a pedal, or something else, depending on the game.
Depending on where it would be, it could be an offline or online machine, to join with others in a co-op or versus game, and you could simply put in your £2, select a selection of games from a playlist, and suddenly, you’re playing Street Fighter 2 as if it’s on an original machine.
Then again, you and a friend decide to change it to Point Blank, and suddenly two guns are placed instead of the joysticks, and you’re on the intermediate mode.
A Game-Pass-esque arcade machine that can also be modular to fit the arcade game chosen; it could be something to help each vendor, and if the gaming companies get involved, there could even be exclusive properties on one. Think how 1-UP are doing with their cabinets, but 100x greater.
However, this is just one idea here from one writer; there’s plenty that can be done here, and right now, many business owners are just trying to survive.
But that allure of playing arcade games with a friend, not being distracted by anything else around you, and just going as far as that £1 can take you, has never and never will get stale.