Monday, January 05, 2009

Arcade Games

Arcade games are coin operated pay-per-play gaming machines, they are usually found in arcades, or places where it is likely that those interested in them (predominantly young males) will congregate (shopping malls, swimming baths, bars, tourist destinations, and leisure centers). There are three main types of arcade games, which are object moving games (OMGs); video arcade games (VAGs) and quiz machines.

OMGs do not usually have any kind of video output, as the games involve physical movement of objects or pieces within the game, usually through an input device such as a joystick. Modern OMGs are considered computer games, as at least part of the game is controlled by a microprocessor, even if it is only a minor game element such as a score board or musical sound effects. Common examples of OMGs are: pinball machines; ‘claw grabber’ machines; foosball; coin-push machines; and shooting galleries. The ancestors of today’s OMGs pre-date video based arcade games by over 40 years.

Video arcade games (VAGs) are computer games that are built into large cases whereby the user stands or sits at the machine, and uses in-built input devices such as joysticks or guns to manipulate graphics on the screen. The first popular VAG was ‘Pong’ in 1972, although this was the third coin operated VAG released after ‘The Galaxy Game’ and ‘Computer Space’. Pong was based upon table tennis, it was a black and white game that involved the player ‘bouncing’ a moving ‘ball’ across the screen where it was deflected by either a computer controlled opponent or a second player. Every successful player deflection of the ball accrued a score, and it was the competitiveness of this game that made it so popular.

Since Pong numerous classic VAG titles have been released including: Space Invaders; Asteroids; Pac-Man; and Frogger, all of which have since been developed into console games as well as other forms of computer games. Many current VAGs are based upon console games such as ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and ‘Tombraider’. In the early days Atari Inc. Lead the market with VAG development, although today, there are numerous competitors.

Quiz machines are aimed at the adult market, and as a consequence are often found in bars. One machine can commonly offer a number of game formats, including quizzes based upon: TV programmes such as ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’; board games such as ‘Monopoly’; and music quiz machines. In quiz machines cash prizes can be payable to those who gain high scores through answering questions correctly.

In recent years there has been a slow-down in arcade game usage, due to the availability of console, PC, and online gaming alternatives. The arcade game sector will continue to decline as gaming competition increases, including the introduction of social mobile gaming, which allows players to game with friends who are both in close proximity or geographically dispersed.


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Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently talking about how involved with technology our daily lives have become. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further develops, the possibility of transferring our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could see in my lifetime.

(Submitted from TF3 for R4i Nintendo DS.)