Arcade games have been popular for decades and were originally found – as the name suggests – in arcades around the world. Their huge appeal saw teenagers pumping their pocket money in to them, attempting to land the high score on the particular machine and gain kudos within their group of friends. They have since made the transition over to the home video game market, and are a major force in both the shop-bought and downloaded entertainment market.
What is an arcade game?
Arcade games have many distinguishing features that endear them to a worldwide audience of fans, spanning many generations. The most obvious characteristic of any arcade game is its gameplay – controls are often simpler than more expensive games, giving the user the chance to get to grips with the basics straight away and allowing them to jump straight in to the action without lengthy tutorials or a boring night reading the instruction booklet. This means that the game has to rely heavily on its intuitive and user friendly qualities to negate the fact that many are not anywhere as complicated as other titles in other genres.
Another feature is the speed at which the user can progress. With many more expensive titles, progression is made over days, weeks and months. However, with an arcade game, the progression is designed to be much steeper, and the full game can often only last minutes. This is the case in such games as Pac Man – the player starts off at the first level and quickly works their way through the game until, in a relatively brief space of time, the player loses and starts again from the beginning. This ensures that the focus of the game is beating previously set high scores.
Current arcade games
There are two primary types of arcade games in circulation today – games originally made for arcade machines that have now been transferred to computers, and newer games made to emulate the style of the original arcade genre.
Such classic games as Pac Man, Asteroids and Q-Bert launched the genre to a worldwide audience and were all solely score based – no achievements or special features, just the raw game in all its glory. Since being transferred to a home gaming platform, these games (Pac Man especially) have proved huge successes, inspiring a new generation of gamers to play the games that their fathers played twenty years ago. Pac Man can now be bought for $6.99 online, which is a bargain when compared to console games costing many times more. In fact, most classic arcade games can be bought for this price, allowing the computer game enthusiast to really build up an awe-inspiring collection of memorabilia.
New games are also being constantly created by developers to invigorate the arcade game market. Such games as Smash Frenzy, Super Granny and Chicken Invaders have all proved hugely popular to discerning consumers. These games offer the same basic playability as the older arcade classics, yet add a sense of modernity to the overall feel and graphics. They can also include achievements and side games to keep the gamer entertained.