Video Game Arcades: Will They Come Back?

Video game arcades were once a hot spot for people of all ages in the 80,s. Literally, millions of quarters were spent daily throughout the nation as individuals tried to beat high scores on classics such as Pac Man, Galaga, Frogger, Street Fighter and a host of other titles. It was common to see teenagers standing alongside adults as both were trying desperately to make their quarters last as long as possible on the standup machines. But with the arrival of home game consoles, the attraction of the video game arcade diminished, and is now basically an after thought found in movie theaters and shopping malls to entertain children.

Those golden days of the video arcades may have gone, but one company, GameWorks, a video-game-restaurant chain, is planning on bringing this phenomenon back to America. Clint Manny, senior vice president at GameWorks, gave his views on what video arcades may do in the future in an interview with Gamasutra. Much of the popularity of the video game arcades was due to its social nature where people would gather not only to play games, but to interact with one another as well. This is one aspect that Manny sees as a plan to bring people back to the arcades. He said, “What we’ve questioned in recognizing that is how to create these games in a social environment, in a social setting, whether it be for kids, teens, adults and offer them something where it,s a constant changing of the programming that’s available."

GameWorks sees the video arcade as a means to build teamwork and communication within businesses. “We’ve created a great "team-building" program in corporate America now, where you can actually go and be with your boss to talk about your sales goals and initiatives for the year, and planning for the quarter – all of those things. Then you can go out on teams and compete against each other and it really brings the team together…we deal with tons of major corporations and they love that competitive and fun environment that gets you out of that mundane day-to-day conference room at the hotel having a quarterly meeting. You can blow some steam off and go have a great time and you can still accomplish what you need on the business side. We still have the internet access, the big screens for the presentations, then you can go out and have great food and go play games.”

GameWorks was purchased by Sammy-Sega in May 2005. Sega, a leading manufacturer of arcade game standup consoles in Japan, is bringing its expertise to the operation. Manny commented, “It’s been great, the technology, just understanding what new games are coming from Japan. A better understanding of the industry, the arcade industry, and you know how they operate the facilities in Japan, it’s really for those that involved in it – it’s really an exciting time.”

Will there be a resurgence of the video game arcade once again? That entirely depends on what is offered at these locations. As gamers become more sophisticated with their gaming tastes, the video arcade may be the “new” experience that some of them are looking for.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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