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  • Will We Ever Return to Arcade Games?


    Indulging in an activity that can take us back to childhood might be a powerful drive for consumption. It is, therefore, no wonder that many businesses and developers use nostalgia to attract people to their products and venues. Will the nostalgia of people who grew up in the 80s and 90s be enough to bring back arcades? This is a question we will be exploring in this article.

    Once a regular part of the entertainment...

    Arcades were once a regular part of the urban scenery of street corners and malls in North America, West Europe, and Asia. They started appearing in the late 70s with games like Space Invaders and Galaxian.
    The 80s represented the golden era of arcades and were marked by classics like Pac-Man and Centipede. During this period, arcade games started to be available also at restaurants, liquor stores, even at gas stations. They were dark and dim places with exciting sounds for kids and teenagers to spend time after school and get away from their parents.
    Arcades went through a fast decline during the 90s, as the technology finally enabled developers to adapt them for consoles. People were now able to bring the games home and enjoy the popular Bubble Bobble or Punch-Out!! whenever they wanted. As the sales of consoles and video games went up, arcades started closing down one by one.
    Yet, many of the favorite titles got another chance with their PC and mobile phone adaptations. Some PC games like Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ and Tekken 7 evolved from the arcades, while others were new but filled with arcade influences. Some even better renditions of these games were made for mobile phones – the already mentioned classic Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and many others.
    And playing games on mobile phones and tablets has largely transformed the game market with a proliferation of arcade and arcade-inspired games. The high competition in the dynamic game market has, however, pushed developers to look into more advanced graphics and to offer titles like Cyberpunk 2077, The Elder Scrolls, or the Witcher whose graphics and modes of playing tell us that we are probably leaving the arcades in the past.

    Arcades moved to the casinos

    However, arcade games in land-based venues still did not disappear. Some have found their place in bars and casinos - and casinos are homes to classic arcade games, but also arcade-like slot machines, with themes and attractive visuals. Unfortunately, probably not for too long.
    With the development of the internet and digital tech, and with increased numbers of people going online, these casino arcades are also being transposed to their digital version, leaving the future of arcades precarious even in this domain.
    Digital versions of these games have advantages, such as availability and accessibility even to players in areas with more strict regulations, like Kuwait where land-based venues are not even accessible.
    Websites like ArabianBetting are there to provide Kuwaiti punters a secure venue in which they can play the most popular casino games safely and anonymously. With instructions on how to access the site with the use of a VPN, it also helps players feel more at ease when choosing online casinos accessible to Kuwaiti players. Any websites recommended here use the latest professional high-level encryption technology with tools like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which are designed to keep customer data secure.
    With these advantages, it is hard to imagine that the traditional arcades will ever really come back to our street corners - no matter whether we are talking about casinos or traditional arcades.

    In the East, arcades are thriving…

    In order to better understand the disappearance of arcades, we need to take a closer look at the one country where they are alive and thriving – Japan.
    Arcades in Japan are usually located in areas dedicated to fun and entertainment – restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping centers, and karaoke parlors. Arcades take up several floors and are divided into sections based on the type of game. They offer something for everyone: “UFO games'' for small children to catch a toy, multiplayer games for groups of friends, Purikura photo booths for couples, different kinds of rhythm and simulation games, sections with authentic arcade game machines with games such as Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, and Street Fighter, and, in the end, casino arcades called Pachinko.
    Arcades in Japan are a ‘destination’. People do not visit them just to play, but also to win a prize, witness an exciting reveal of a new game, drink, and socialize.
    But people in North America and Western Europe also visited arcades to socialize. So why did they die? It is about the type of socialization that they used to offer and that does not have a place in people’s lives anymore. The old arcade venues had affordable games that offered children and teenagers an excuse to socialize with their peers, maybe resolve a fight or make-out. This role is now filled in by social media, so children and teenagers turn to their mobile phones and online or console gaming for socialization and fun.
    Unlike the old arcades in America and Europe, the average age of an arcade visitor in Japan is 25 years old. People of this age are old enough to own their own spending money and drink, but young enough to get excited about the newest video or simulation game. Even though people of all ages in Japan are also into social media, mobile games, and consoles, arcades still fill a societal role for them. Will this continue in the future? We’ll see.

    In conclusion, the future of arcades in America and Europe seems to be sad. While their futuristic lights and sounds used to give us a comforting vision of a happy and colorful future, the decaying arcade games covered with dust that can be found in many cities remind us how quickly things in a rapidly changing world can become superfluous.
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