Gaming has never been more convenient. You can download games straight to your PC or console. You can buy games and have them delivered. However, like cinemas, there is a remnant of gaming’s past that still lives on, albeit in smaller numbers. Leaving your home to play games you will find Gaming Arcades.
Before gaming became affordable and homebound, there were gaming arcades, which still flourish in small pockets. Inside, you find all manner of machines designed to take your money. The biggest culprits are redemption or ticket machines that are the root of all evil. The actual games are designed not to be intuitive or easy, but to rob you of your cash while under their addictive and fun spell. They generally start off with tutorial levels but then drastically increase the difficulty, forcing you to pay if you want to continue. A necessary evil in terms of business but it’s enough to drive most away from playing regularly.
In Australia, we still have arcades aplenty. They enjoy good business too, especially on weekends. A new one, not owned by a franchise, opened up near where I live. They tend to be located close to or as part of a cinema, yet they are businesses in their own right. I feel that they are generally seen as a novelty: a place where parents bring excitable kids to distract them, or couples fruitlessly try to win plush toys from claw machines. The worst type are those claw machines that give you cheap candy if you don’t happen to win a plush. It’s just insult to injury.
But a small group of people still play competitive games there. Whether it’s fighting, racing or rhythm games, there are those in Australia who meet up and play it frequently. It’s social gaming that doesn’t involve VoIP or a good internet connection. As someone who frequents arcades and plays an arcade racer competitively, I understand why they do it. There is a much more powerful sense of satisfaction when you beat someone who is sitting right next to you. I compare it to people who stream for example StarCraft 2 matches on Twitch in comparison to being at a live StarCraft tournament. Sure, you may still win that online match, but all you get from the opposition is the standard ‘GG’. There’s no real audience either. Nothing can compare to a heated SSF4 match with a small crowd of people totally invested in the outcome. Furthermore, latency or any other issues that may interfere with an otherwise fair game are non-existent. Unless you’re a jerk who messes with other people’s controls, but surely you’re not that petty.
The major problem with arcade gaming is expenses. Over five or so years I have spent enough money playing at arcades to have bought a second hand car. With most games being two to three dollars (AUD) a game, it’s very expensive to finance even one day at the arcade. Despite all the drawbacks, there’s just something about challenging complete strangers in person.
So I guess my question to the readers of Lazygamer is: if there are good arcades to go to where you live, do you go play games there? Or is it too inconvenient and expensive?
Last Updated: October 28, 2013