In the 1970s and 80s, arcade machines went through a golden age. It was a time where the popularity of this form of entertainment reached stratospheric heights. 1978 saw the debut of Space Invaders, the game that let you shoot a virtual laser cannon at waves upon waves of pixelised alien enemies. Other major games released during the golden age include Pac-Man, Galaxian, and Battlezone, while some iconic games introduced in arcades in the 1990s include Street Fighter 2 and The King of Fighters.
We’ve come a long way since then and technological advancements, particularly in the gaming space, have led to significant changes. But are arcade machines about to go through a new golden age?
Virtual Reality Arcade Games
One development that will help to renew popularity and interest in arcade machines is the invention of the virtual reality arcade. Virtual reality arcade machines are going global and allow players to pay to have a go with a virtual reality headset. Games publisher Bandai Namco is one such creator of these VR arcades. Some of its arcade machines allow players to use a HTC Vive headset to play Hospital Escape Terror. The game tasks players with escaping an abandoned hospital full of dead bodies, traps, and enemies. There’s also Argyle Shift, a game about piloting a giant mech robot which has been compared to the major blockbuster movie Pacific Rim.
These VR arcades are already massively popular in places like Japan, but Bandai Namco is steadily expanding its efforts out to other regions in the world, further growing the interest in them.
Brand Deals and Online Spin-Offs
Arcade machines and gaming cabinets are also hugely popular in the casino and gambling industries too. Real-life slot machines made by companies such as Novomatic keep the interest levels up by establishing brand deals. This company, in particular, has cemented deals to produce machines based on popular television shows and movies, with curious fans of those programmes and films sure to take a keen interest in their slot machine spin-offs.
And then there are the opportunities for playing slots online too. These days, there are now many companies that have adapted fruit machines and other slot machine styles for online browsers and mobile apps. Because of the intense competition in the online casino game space, operators are eager to take on new tech in a bid to stand out from their competitors and attract more players to their platforms. This tactic was what brought on livestreamed casino games, as well as skill-based slots, the latter of which use traditional arcade settings to bring a skill element to the popular game of chance. Online casino gaming provides players with a new chance to get into the world of arcade machines and gaming because even in an online form, they offer the same fun and the same essence as real-life slots.
Bringing Back the Old Arcade Games
In addition to this, there have also been several concerted efforts to manufacture those old arcade gaming machines once again. Companies like Arcade1Up are making Street Fighter 2 arcade cabinets to give fans a chance to enjoy those arcade games again. Additionally, Kickstarter campaigns are underway to make those remade cabinets a reality, bringing some of the lesser-known arcade games to the fore.
The golden age of arcade gaming was like nothing the world had ever seen before and it was a global phenomenon. Predicting the next golden age may be difficult, but it does seem as though the pieces are falling into place for an arcade machine renaissance to begin.