Hanging Out In The Arcades: Things We Learn

Monday, April 27, 2009

Arguably one of the best features of my generation is that back then we didn't really have a lot of options when we wanted to play the awesome games. Back then if we wanted games that rocked our socks off, we had to go to the arcades. Sure, there were home consoles too like the NES and the SNES but they didn't really give you that spirit of competitiveness that you get when you sit beside a complete stranger and for the price of one token, get the chance to hand his ass back to him, or vice versa.

Nowadays we already have online console gaming, and the consoles almost always have the games that we have in the arcades which we can play with people from around the world. The arcades has taken a smaller role in entertaining people, but I still think it has its better points that you can't really get in a home-console environment.

Here are some things that I can think of at the moment:

Arcade games are healthier - Barring the Wii, I can think of a lot of ways arcades are more healthy than consoles. For one, you can't really spend 10 hours straight inside the arcade for many reasons, one being monetary and another being sanitary (the air gets too musky after a while and natural instinct will kick in and tell you to run outside or risk fainting) . Another is that you get to walk around more. Changing games you're playing means you have to move from one location to another, whereas in console gaming you only need to change disks/cartridges. Lastly, you get to move more to play games. Even just the joystick movements require movements of the entire arm, as compared to the finger movements required by a game pad. This, not including the more involved control systems of drummania, dance dance revolution, and running away from the local bully asking for extra tokens.

Arcade games are more social - Sure, the console games have online gameplay too, and you get to play games with your friends anytime you want - but that's not exactly what makes people good social creatures. I think being sociable does not have a lot to do with being able to talk to friends often. Instead it has more to do with being able to make friends no matter who. Because online gaming gives you the choice of only playing wiht the people you know, you forget how it is to make new friends. Again, sure, you get to play with strangers in online console games too - but they might as well be part of the game. Interactions with other players have seldom any real consequences in real life - just like the games you're playing. If you start trashtalking like a 12 year old on a bad day, you know in your heart the other guy cant' really do much except beat you in the game. In the arcades, trashtalking while you're within an arm's reach of the other guy is simply stupid. And you know it, or if you don't, you'll probably know it after you wake up in the hospital three days later. You learn how to deal with people, because they're really around you.

Lastly, Arcade games give you more time for pretty much everything else. As mentioned earlier, unless you have unlimited coffers or happen to work for the arcade, you can't really spend your life just playing. One token can get you only so far and sooner or later, you just have to face the game over sign - sooner if you get your ass kicked by some random challenger. You walk away by your own volition or by force. If that doesn't keep you away, the closing times of the arcade will. It may sound like a bad thing, but many years later, you'll be happy to realize you didn't spend 120 hours of your youth just completing the set of similar looking items for some RPG that can't even give you an edge in real life (unless by some chance you get a job that requires you to press an X button lots of times of the course of 12 hours)

Yes, console gaming has its merits. Nobody bullies you into giving them money. You don't have to put up with the funny smells of other kids playing. You don't have to sweat it out holding filthy controllers that have probably already been used by a leper or two previously.

I can safely say however, the the console games will never replace the real computer games. They'll always be in that same special dark, noisy place.

The place we call the arcades.


Leo said...

good points

For a teenager who is broke most of the time, playing in the arcades isn't a good option.

The only games I play there are shooting hoops with my friends and those tekken and virtua cop games.

I'm not that much into online gameplay either. I meet many people who bash me for screwing things up or trash talking about personal things when I'm kicking their asses. Nowadays, I seldom meet gamers who have manners.

Denistar said...

I suck at arcade games. However, I braved the mass of people and embarrassed myself by noisily playing Samurai Showdown, shooting hoops, air hockey, and of course, the silly children's games that give out tickets.

Even though I like playing at home on the PC (not so much with console games), there is still a certain magic that draws me to the arcade.


Search This Blog

Most Reading