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Is the Retro scene having a revival in the US as it is in the UK ?
Yes it is getting big with the collectors and home owners. But the retro arcades are very hard to find. It is an interesting phenomenon which is a godsend to those in the business of selling classic arcade video games and new systems with the classic arcade game titles such as the 39 in 1 and the 4 in 1 and so on. As video game operators are going out of business, some of the smarter ones have turned to the sales side of business with the retro scene and will build any classic game that you want, and now you can get graphics for that retro game that are very near to the original silk screen of the hey day of the golden 1980's. The coin-op video game auctions always have the first two rows of video games going for anywhere from $1000.00 to $2000.00 a piece for the old classic Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Galaga, Centipede and Donkey Kong. These games are rough games that have not been shopped out at all, with missing graphics and even have holes in the cabinets of these games. Local distributors are making 125 complete cabinets of the classic 39 in 1 coin-op games in the cocktail version cabinets. This is big business, and the distributors can't make enough of these games fast enough to fill the orders. The home owner will do just about anything to have a classic game get into their game room, and price is not an object in many cases. Those of us who played in the Golden Era of the 1980's Arcade Generation are now in the big bucks, in are 40's and are at the top pay bracket of our career and we want to relive that golden era of the arcades in our own backyard, and that is why there has been such a revival of old classic games. Classic games will not make any money on street locations unless they are in bars or other locations that 35-40 year old crowd frequents, which is a very tight and limited market, but in general, the video game operator has to concentrate on new software for making money in the video game route operator business. Neo Geo System Metal Slug and the Neo Geo series is the game operators choice in many circumstances because the game is so versatile. When the location gets tired of one game, another cartridge can go in and now the game is something new without the operator having to go out and buy a brand new game. This is a link to my Neo Geo Metal Slug 5 link: Link There are just a few notable Retro Arcades in the States. The biggest ones with contests are the Funspot, at Weirs Beach, New Hampshire and there is Ground Kontrol Arcade in Oregon. Each have over 100 classic games to choose from. The other game rooms in other parts of the country are much smaller and their games are not kept up because the profit incentive isn't there for old games. Funspot Classic Game Contest Link Some of these game rooms are actually Sales Floors because every game has a price tag and that is the real way these arcades stay in business. If the home owner stopped buying games for their homes, this business would be done and the shops would be closed. Joystick With Games Inside Atari 10 in 1 Joystick - With Games Inside the Joystick The other side of the coin is the home entertainment systems which are getting huge in their popularity. Classic games that have never been released before are now becoming available for the home market at very reasonable prices. The joystick has inside of it the chips for several popular games built into the joystick so all you have to do is plug the game in and your now able to play many games without even needing a game console or game cartridges. The Hottest Coolest System Out! Power Play (2005) comes with 100+ games built in and creates 76,000 ways to play - all the old favorites like Contra, Dig Dug, Excite Bike, Super Mario Bros, Kung Fu, Space Invaders, Tetris, Donkey Kong & many, many, more! Power Play 2005 Link to Power Play Joystick with 100 games built into the joystick: Link The other part of the gaming business that has changed is the internet gaming community that had never existed before. This group is very large and has massive buying power. There are now contests over the internet in which you can win prizes up to $125,000 in cash if you are the best at that game. Twin Galaxies Twin Galaxies $125,000 story Link: Link On October 19, Meng Yang, 21, of mainland China, won $125,000 while distinguishing himself as the only contestant to defeat Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel during the ACON Fatal1ty Shootout at the Great Wall of China. This historic invitational exhibition, presented by ABIT Computer Corporation, was part of the Fatal1ty Road Show titled “Giving Back to Gaming.” In the 1980's the most you could win would be a new video game and some gaming tokens, if you were lucky. Cash money prizes weren't available in the 1980's like they are today. There is the Mame system which will emulate the original game perfectly so that players can play video games with the correct feel and coding of the original coin-op games in the arcades. When Gaming isn’t just for Fun Can you survive three days of disciplined fragging and tactical warfare, from early morning to late nights? That was precisely what gamers competing in the recent Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) Asia Championship, had to go through. Being the first professional gaming competition held in Singapore, the competing gamers went through the grueling event in total seriousness. Was it the $20,000 top prize that made all the exuberant, fun-loving gamers behave like good students during an exam? Prior to the event, competitors in Quake III Arena and teams participating in Counterstrike went through pretty much what looked like a major exam. They sit outside the hall while waiting for their turn, clutching good luck charms and personal gaming gear (mouse, mousepads, headphones), and discussing their strategies for better gameplay. Once they entered the room, there’s only time to set up the hardware and a brief warm-up before the competition commences. During the tournament, gamers used headphones to minimize distraction to others. Server administrators put in charge of each "arena" acted like invigilators for an exam, ensuring that there was no usage of cheat codes, no looking at other people’s screens, no talking and strictly no profanities. Apart from some bickering about restarting the game and an occasional exclamation, most of the time there was silence except for the furious tapping of keys and clicking of mice. I can scarcely believe these are the same people I see playing with wild abandon at LAN shops. For most of us, the highlight of CPL Asia is the opportunity to witness top players from overseas like Blue (Henrik Bjock from Sweden), Fatality (Jonathan Wendel from US), and S21.0 (Lee Won Yang from Korea) fragging it out with each other and with our own local fraggers Carnage, Shearer and Cantona. So do the gamers feel that gaming professionally takes away the fun? Darren Lee, a.k.a Carnage, who is the current Quake III Arena champ in Singapore, feels that fun is when he is playing with friends. "There’s this issue about maintaining your reputation as a top player. Most of the time, playing well on public servers is like a job I that have to do. I think some people take gaming a little too seriously. In fact, it’s more fun when I’m losing because there’s more I can learn." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Update on Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel 1/19/06 Top Cyber Athlete Is No Couch Potato Link By Andy Court , January. 19, 2006 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel (CBS) (CBS) The world's best video game player practices for hours to hone the skills that have earned him more than $450,000 in prize money. But being the best is also a matter of being the fittest, says Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, who credits exercise with being an integral part of his training. (You don't see the out of shape computer types that you typically would expect to see, raking in the money. It's the athletic types that are doing well in these video game competitions.) 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft profiles Wendel this Sunday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Fitness makes for a sharper brain and hand says the 24-year-old "gamer." "I work out a lot," says Wendel. "Being physically fit and making sure your neuro-transmitters are working properly…making sure you’re on…beat and you’re ready to go,” he tells Kroft. "It’s like your neuro-fitness…it’s basically ways you can think faster," says Wendel. "[Playing videogames] is that fast and the game is all about hand-eye coordination, reflexes, timing, strategy…being able to think fast….You’ve got to be doing everything," he tells Kroft. Wendel still plays tennis, the sport he starred in for his high school, and runs regularly, in addition to playing video games sometimes more than eight to 10 hours a day. Wendel has been a pro for six years in the fledgling sport that is trying to capitalize on the enormous size of the video game industry. Sales of video game consoles and software are expected to reach $35 billion in 2006 – more than twice the revenue of the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball combined. He’s won more than 40 tournaments and has competed all over the globe for prize money. Even more riches await Wendel, who expects to make millions on licensing deals that are already in progress. Products such as computer mouse pads, headsets and keyboards customized for video game playing now bear his "Fatal1ty" screen name. Some believe the time is near for video game competitions to become large spectator events. If and when that happens, Wendel will have played an enormous role. "For the new millennium comes a new sportsman…[Wendel] is the first cyber athlete," says Wendel’s marketing agent, Mark Walden. "Look back 50 years from now….There had to be someone at the turn of the century that played baseball. There had to be a Babe Ruth, a Ty Cobb. There has to be a Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel." Wendel feels that he is living a dream that nobody else is, that no one probably thought was possible. He feels very fortunate he has gotten a chance to love what he is doing and actually get paid for it. "I want to keep doing it; I want to contribute to the gamers and create some cool, high quality products for gaming", states Wendel. Also, I want to go back and do things to help sponsor and help grow the sport. So we're trying to do a lot of cool things and make this an accepted sport. Wendel signed a massive licensing agreement with Auravision in 2003, which will give them the rights to manufacture all of my products, say Wendel. So we'll have a Fatal1ty computer coming out soon. Everyone thinks that when you become a celebrity you become egotistical and Wendel would like to dispel this image. "You always have an image of that top guy being a real jerk or whatever, and my goal when I got into this game was to get rid of that image, especially from the gaming point of view." Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mame allows you to play the Classic Retro Video Games What is MAME ? On December 24th, 1996, Nicola Salmoria began working on his single hardware emulators (for example Multi-Pac), which he merged into one program during January 1997. He named the accomplishment by the name of Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, or MAME for short (pronounced as the word 'maim' in English, other languages may differ). The first official release was MAME 0.1, which was released on the evening of February 5th, 1997 (23:32 +0100). Using a modular and portable driver oriented architecture with an open source philosophy, it soon grew into immense proportions. The current version supports 5578 ROM sets, 3083 unique games. Because MAME releases happen whenever they are ready, at one point the wait between new versions was almost 4 months. To help the agony of the users, a public beta system was used, with a beta release happening every 2-3 weeks on an average. However, now the beta designation has been removed in favor of a good old 0.xx version number. Even though MAME allows people to enjoy the long-lost arcade games and even some newer ones, the main purpose of the project is to document the hardware (and software) of the arcade games. There are already many dead arcade boards, whose function has been brought to life in MAME. Being able to play the games is just a nice side-effect. The huge success of MAME would not be possible without the talent of the programmers who joined to form the MAME team. At the moment, there are about 100 people on the team, but there is a large number of contributors outside the team too. Nicola Salmoria is still the coordinator of the project. MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Running this program, in conjunction with a game's related data files (ROMs) will more or less faithfully reproduce that game on your PC. In other words, with MAME you can actually play over 1300 classic arcade video games on your PC. These are NOT recreations; these are the actual arcade games that appeared in arcades in the 70's and 80's. The game's code is dumped into ROM files that MAME loads and replays on your computer. The purpose of MAME is to actually pretend to be the CPU and support chips that these games need to play. MAME is the "hardware" of the arcade game, the ROMs are the "software". It was designed to digitally preserve games and gameplay that would otherwise be forgotten in the modern day rat race of console games and computers. Mame Coin-Op machine: Mame can now be put in a coin-op machine with multiple types of joysticks so one game can play multiple genres with different joystick types. All this helps players to be able to get the real arcade feel of the 1980's without actually having to go to an arcade, an besides that, the arcades of today don't have the classic games so you have to use alternative measures to be able to play the classic games. The other problem with classic coin-op games is that the boards are 20 years old in many cases, and very likely to fail because of their age. That is why it is great that there are new systems like the 39 in 1 which is on a brand new board. Emulation is not perfect but for many it is close enough. I hope that this hobby of Retro Gaming continues to grow and I am sure that it will because there are many people who don't care for the new games! Hit Counter
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