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History of Arcade Games
Transcript of History of Arcade Games
In 1950, scientist Charly Adama created the prequel to upcoming video games known as the “Bouncing ball”. It was not interactive, though it remains significant in gaming history for its technological utilization. It was not until 1951 that Christopher Strachey, a British computer scientist, designed a Draughts computer game, also known as Checkers. It was the first video game to run on a Pilot ACE computer which was one of the first computers built in the National Physical Laboratory in the UK. By the mid to late 1960’s, similarities between then and modern day gaming were becoming more common. A well-known inventor by the name of Ralph Baer, bored at a bus stop one day, wrote down multiple genres for games such board games, sports games, and action games. The games would appear on certain channels which he referred to as “Channel LP” which stood for Let’s Play! Baer, later that year designed a schematic of a two-player game he called a Chase Game. It was a simple game that involved two dots (or spots) that were able to be moved on the screen in two directions by two players. Baer later developed a video game known as Corndog, which was the first video game to ever be displayed on a standard television set. Corndog was to be played on the first home video game console known as the “Brown Box” which very expensive at the time. Video Games at home? Not quite yet... The 1970s, a time of technological advancement, featured the long loved coin-operated video arcade game known as the “Galaxy Game." It was first installed September 1971 at Stanford University two months after Computer Space, which was the first mass-produced video arcade game. Galaxy Game cost around $20,000 to build and ten cents to play a single game. It was not until 1972 that hardware was improved which allowed expansion that let others play with one another. It was so popular among people that players would wait up to an hour for a chance to play.
The Arcade Coming to Life: Shooters Pt. 1 Other games on the best seller list, Space Invaders an action oriented shooter than attracted the attention of millions. Space Invaders was released in July of 1978. The development of the game was a rather short three months, though the programming took nearly six months in itself. The game has its own previous version in Japan known as T.T Space Invaders, and it was so popular that it caused a yen shortage. Many stores imported Space Invader arcade games overnight, equipped with giant speakers and the familiar noises of game play. The Arcade Coming to Life: Shooters Pt. 2 Arcade games were extremely popular during the 1980s. It was then that production cost reduced and a larger variety of games were being produced. Technological had become sophisticated enough to offer better quality graphics and sounds. A few games even used spoken voice but still focused on the aspect of enjoying game play. This rise in the popularity of arcade games was known as the Golden age of arcade video games. It was during that time that video games began to appear in locations such as supermarkets, restaurants, liquor stores, gas stations, and any other retail establishment that desired an extra source of income. Arcade games could even be found in locations such as funeral homes. The sale in arcade machines rose from $50 million in 1978 to $900 million in 1981. The mass production lead to arcade centers being created all over. There were about 24,000 complete arcades and 400,000 arcade street locations in the US alone. Gaming was more than a hobby, it became a lifestyle choice. People of all ages would indulge in the addictive aspects of arcade gaming. During the 1980s, one of the worldliest known games put gamers in a frenzy, the name of the craze, “Pac-Mania”. Pac-Man was released in 1980 by Namco and became immensely successful. It is the only video arcade game from its era that is still in production today. Pac-Man inspired a television series and a top-ten hit single. Pac-Man was widely adored due to its enjoyable and simple gameplay. The main aspect of the game was to eat all the dots with a yellow circle man that was inspired by, and resembled a whole pizza with a missing slice. This pizza pie with a missing slice, or “Pac-Man” was to chomp all of the dots with the danger of brightly colored ghost following him around. These ghost ended the game on contact, though could be eaten when temporarily stunned by a certain bright dot, one located in each corner. During the game Pac-man is able to eat fruits for extra points, and in more modern versions such as Pac-Man 3D and Pac-Man Revamped, he is able to eat game changing power ups. The Arcade Coming to Life: Pac-Man Pt.1 Gaming was more than a hobby, it became a lifestyle choice. People of all ages would indulge in the addictive aspects of arcade gaming. During the 1980s, one of the worldliest known games put gamers in a frenzy, the name of the craze, “Pac-Mania”. Pac-Man was released in 1980 by Namco and became immensely successful. It is the only video arcade game from its era that is still in production today. Pac-Man inspired a television series and a top-ten hit single. Pac-Man was widely adored due to its enjoyable and simple game play. The Arcade Coming to Life Pac-Man Pt. 2 During Pac-Man’s release, most arcade games were shooters genres. Pac-Man brought with it new elements of gaming that appealed to more than generic crowd of teenage males. It became a game that really appealed to females of all ages. Pac-Man is credited with being the most famous arcade game of all time with a brand awareness of 94% by American consumers. It quickly became more popular than best-selling arcade games such as Dig-Dug and Asteroids. Over 350,000 units were sold.
Pac-Man produced merchandise such as t-shirts, hand held games, toys, and even Pac-Man shaped pasta. There is the rumor that Pac-Man became such a craze that owners of the arcade game had to empty the coin bucket about every hour to prevent the game from jamming with too many coins. Pac-Man, the ultimate arcade game, remains a historically known icon to this day. The Popularity of The Joystick During the Golden age the video arcade became so popular that it caused a national shortage 100 yen coins in Japan. In order to meet the demand necessary for game play, Japan stepped up the production of coins. It later had a similar effect on the US and quarters. Tournaments for popular games such as Space Invaders were often held. The first tournament was held in 1980 by Atari and held more than 10,000 participants. Statistics show that by 1980, 86% of the population from 13-20 played arcade games. Gaming became recognized nationally as a hobby for many people. As games progressed, so did the love for them and the size of their cult followings. The Decline of Arcade Games Despite the immense fame that so many of the popular arcade games held, by the 1990s the number of video arcades in North America was decreasing. The decline in arcade games was mainly caused by the advancement in the technology of home video game consoles. Consoles such as the Nintendo 64, and PlayStation, rivaled and eventually out preformed the arcade games. Home consoles were reaching a point in which they were becoming more affordable and the threat was too much for arcades. There was also the threat of the internet, which offered more activity when at home. Arcades still existed, though not as they did in mass quantities as they did during the 1980s. Potential Innovations? In order to fight the decline of arcade games, a Madrid business man by the name of Enrique Martinez updated the video arcade for the newest generation by creating what he referred to as a “hybrid movie theater with fog, black light, flashing green lasers, high-definition digital projectors, vibrating seats, game pads and dozens of 17-inch screens attached to individual chairs.” In Spain, a theater spent $390,000 to revamp itself into a high-tech video gaming hall that seat about 50 people according to. Germany followed and a four month long trail was done to test the demand for video games in a theater setting. Despite everything, arcade games generally failed to compete with the ever improving home gaming systems that offered the comfort of home and unlimited playtime. The Modern Arcade Even after the significant decline of Arcades, there was still profit to be made within the field. Popular franchises such as Dave & Busters and Chuck E. Cheeses proved that. Each franchise makes use of arcade games with a dining experience. In order to bring new life to the aspects of arcade gaming, there were prizes offered. Franchises would offer cards valid at their stores only, and many people would often visit multiple times and save their tickets for a big prize. The ideas of these franchises succeeded in reviving many aspects of the original arcade. As it Goes on... After a long day it is nice to unwind with a nice computer simulation and a controller. Whether it is from Old School Pac-Man to new generation Halo, all games provide one common thing, and that is satisfaction that stems from game play that non gamers just do not understand. Arcades may have dwindled through the decades, but they still remain strong, and they do as the foundation of modern day gaming. From a Sega to a Wii, or an Atari to a PlayStation, it all started with a joystick.