Arcade Games

Where did arcade games come from?

The first popular series of arcade games came about as a result of traveling amusement parks such as carnivals and fairs. Most of these games involved some sort of shooting gallery, simple coin operated machines that would tell a person its fortune or play a tune for the people, and games where you would toss a ball towards an object to knock it down. These games were part of the midway attractions at these events, which means that you would walk by them at least twice each visit. While most of these games were not operated with coins, the 1920s era saw the rise of amusements areas such as Coney Island and others where these forms of games became staples for amusement.

One of the most popular types of arcade games become prevalent in the decade of the 30s. This game is what we know of as pinball. The first pinball games were coin-operated machines, much as they are today. Now these pinball machines were made of wood and used mechanical features, which is a complete contrast to what we know today as pinball machines with lasers and sound effects. Games for entertainment such as these basically stayed the same until the early 1970s.

In the early 1970s a company by the name of Atari was formed and it forever changed the video gaming landscape. The exact year was 1972 and the name of the first game, still a cult classic today, was Pong. Others began to imitate what Atari did from the beginning, which never really let the company fully dominate the marketplace. As more competitors began to create more games it lead to the emergence of arcades. Arcades were stores in the mall made up solely for the purposes of obtaining customers who wanted to come and play video games. As the late 70s and early 80s came into existence, so did games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, modern day classics.

As the 1980s wore on arcade games were played more at home than in the actual arcade. This was made popular because of the advances from gaming consoles from such companies as Atari, Nintendo, and Sega. In order to keep up with this market share, places such as Chuck E Cheese modeled themselves as neighborhood fun centers where you could eat, watch shows, and play games all at the same time. Today’s arcades have found their special niche, which is to create games and simulations for playing those games that are completely inaccessible to home gamers. For example, there are games that use free standing vibrating weapons, whereas the home system will only have a controller connected to the system to play. Some examples of these types of games are House of the Dead, Dance Dance Revolution, and racing games.

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