Dave may be somewhat wrong in analysis but he’s right in a more important sense, Henry. In my opinion. Just, the trying to get tons of money out of kids is way more blatant now than it was back then. In the “old” days with a lot of games you could play for a while on a single quarter. Nowadays, games like that are few and far between. Most games have you pumping in quarter after quarter, probably most require more than a credit to play. It’s just more blatant now.
Henry says they’ve gotten “better” at making money now. I disagree. Dunno if you know this, but arcades in the U.S. have been suffering for a while, money wise. I mean, for years and years. There are lots of factors outside their control, like the rise of quality console and computer games. But arcades and arcade game companies have hurt themselves also, I think.
I dunno, a lot of it to me is the whole boxing pay-per-view thing. Game companies taking a short term view. One thing McDonald’s is incredibly astute about is the realization that you have to reign kids in early. That’s also true for arcade games. Thing is, lots of arcade games have priced kids out, So they’re not just losing current customers, they’re losing future customers. I dunno, I’m probably the only one who still goes to arcades from time to time but yeah, that this is happening is fairly obvious if you visit an arcade nowadays. Not only is it way more sparse (generally) but the age demographic is totally different. I dunno. The whole Dave N’ Buster’s concept is like the culmination of this trend, that arcade games aren’t for kids anymore.
Anyway yeah, arcades and arcade game companies are suffering, so I don’t think you can say they’re gotten better at making profit. They may make more money per play, but if way less people play, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I dunno, I have a lot of opinions about arcade game pricing. In the heyday of Street Fighter II, it was really interesting. You could put that machine anywhere and it would make a ton of money. Unless you charged 50¢ Then virtually no one would play it. It was fascinating. If you went somewhere (most notably certain movie theaters) and saw an unplayed SFII machine, you pretty much knew it was because they were charging 50¢. Anyway yeah, the money pumping games nowadays kids can’t play, and that’s bad for the industry.
Dave’s also right in that arcade games used to be way more creative in the past than now. It was always about profit sure. But in the past, I think companies tried to increase profit by making more original games. Now, companies just try to ape whatever is hot and maximize the quarter throughput factor. I dunno, go to an arcade now and the games all seem to fit in the same categories. First person gun (Time Crisis), music-sim (DDR), fighting (Street Fighter), racing, other random sim games (like that snowboarding game with a board you stand on) and classic games. Where’s today’s Marble Madness? 720? Elevator Action? Games just aren’t very creative anymore.
I could go on and on about arcade games. I dunno, I never really got into computer games, don’t have a new console, but I’ve always gone to arcades. So yeah, I’ve seen a lot of things and have lots of strong opinions. What a loser I am.
Anyway, one of my hobbies the past month has been this arcade game emulator called Mame32. It’s incredible – you can play the actual game ROMS. It’s like playing the actual arcade games on your computer. I’ve been playing from time to time the 1942 series (including one Japanese version – you fight *against* the Allies! Wacky), Double Dragon, Gauntlet, and Arm Wrestling (another very original game). Street Fighter is too hard to play with a keyboard.
Seriously though, I could go on for pages about arcade games. I should stop.