Where has the Classic
Era Arcade Gone?
Dirk on the Big Screen
Tempest Time Elapsed Art by: Rosemarie Fiore
Where is the Classic Arcade Gone?
Why has the stand alone Classic Arcade Disappeared and why aren't there more
Game Arcades that celebrate the Classics?
What happened to the days where trying to Master Moon Patrol for the evening was
considered a good time?
There was a time when being the king of Kong was to be a god in the gaming
world and the Guinness Book of World records and Walter Day of Twin Galaxies
published these high scores on coin operated video games in order to show how
great it was to be number one on the games of this classic era.
Games like Spy Hunter and Centipede were revered and those who wanted to find
these games in order to make a high score could walk over to their local Chuck E.
Cheese and play their hearts out all because Founder, Nolan K. Bushnell had
a vision of mixing Pizza with the new arcade games from Atari that he had
produced. Nolan K. Bushnell has recently started a new interactive restaurant
called Uwink which celebrates the games of yesteryear that have been updated
to be interesting for today's tastes. These days redemption is king with the
jumpers, climbers and animatronics that were created in the early days - yet
no more unique video games can be found.
Now Pizza Time and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza no longer have large arcade rooms
with the classic games which made them such a big hit in the 1980's. They have
moved into full simulator types of games and different types of prize rewarding
games and ticket games as well as different climbers for the little ones.
Even Disneyland has moved away from their classic game root of Tron, Joust,
Tempest, Pole Position, Centipede, Pac-Man and others in preference of
Dance Dance Revolution and other full size simulators.
I'd like to get away from the ticket counter cheap trinkets and restructure
the business into something not so cheap that people feel they are getting
there monies worth, in which the people in their 20's, 30's and 40's would
be interested in visiting. In my opinion, I've seen enough the Mario
Factory touch screen entertainment and would like to get back to my roots of the
classic era arcade, and why it worked and why it was cool to be there.
The stand alone arcade of yesteryear is long gone because it did not offer enough
to entertain the audience for the full evening. You have to change with the times
when the going gets rough in order to hold the customer and to keep them coming
back time and time again. Multiple revenue streams are needed in order for a video
game arcade to stay in business and do well. Two outstanding business examples are
Dave & Busters and Game Works Arcade. Both have great food and full bars.
The video game business is a $10 billion dollar industry rivaling the motion picture
industry as the most profitable entertainment industry in the world. There is profit
to be found with the classic video gaming genre but it has to be done right and this
niche has not yet been explored to its fullest extent.
Dave & Busters and Game Works are the two largest chains in the United States with
arcade video games as a major factor in their business plan. These establishments
are aimed at adults, and feature full service restaurants with full liquor bars and
have a wide variety of video games. They specialize in modern video games with a
sprinkling of the classics.
Pac-Man being Attacked
Dave and Busters Restaurant and Arcade:
Dave and Busters Advertisement:
"We have amazing food, two fully-stocked bars, and a midway bursting with games."
Game Works Restaurant and Arcade:
The Game Works Slogan:
"At Gameworks, it's eat and fun!"
Both Dave and Busters and Game Works have similar recipes for success.
The Dave and Busters video game arcade atmosphere works for this huge chain because
they offer more than just video games. They have great food, a full bar and other
sources of entertainment such as Pinball machines, pool tables, redemption games
(games paying out tickets), merchandisers, shuffleboard courts, and several private
conference rooms. The arcade is called the "Million Dollar Midway" with large-screen
A List of Some Classic Era Coin Operated Games
Donkey Kong Junior
Can Classic Era Arcades be Cool Again?
I see classic games as one component of many different revenue streams that are
needed under one roof in order for a business to be successful.
Look at any major arcade that is successful and you will see that they have several
things going on to appeal to a larger audience and to hold that audience for a longer
period of time so they will spend their entire evening at the arcade premises.
The place has to be a cool place to hang out and spend money in and there has to be
a value to that entertainment which keeps the guest coming back for more. A true
classic gamer appreciates the original game playing as well as it did in 1981 with
the side art and controls and monitor all in mint restored original condition as
when it rolled out when it was new back in the Reagan Era. Food should be reasonable
yet great tasting and there should be lots of different things to do besides playing
the classics just because variety is the spice of life and if your going to go some
place every weekend it needs to have several different things going on and lots of
different people visiting. I'd like to see a business that has a major portion set
up to admiring the 1970's and 1980's era with live music recognizing that by-gone era
with merchandise to be bought celebrating that era including classic console carts,
t-shirts and everything else cool from that era. Don't forget a Lava Lamp here and
Let's get back to when it was fun to hang out in the arcade and when it was cool
to socialize there and spend an evening of well spent quality time mastering
Ground Kontrol Classic Retro Arcade Interview Link
A graphical representation of the games we play Review Link
Blasts From the Past:
What today's game designers can learn from Space Invaders. link