So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

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Dhalsim18
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby Dhalsim18 » June 1st, 2018, 4:00 pm

I don't agree with your opinion about arcades Scotland. Arcades are simply not the money makers they once were. Nor do people actively seek them out. I couldn't even find an Arcade anymore unless it was in the a Dave and Busters or something like that. The most modern arcade games now are mostly just shallow technological marvels, with little substance. Relying on bells and whistles to get the attention of people. Like a freak show at a circus. People may be curious and want to look, but they won't want to stay.

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scotland
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby scotland » June 1st, 2018, 4:21 pm

I am neither contesting that home consoles and giant flat screen tvs are not wonderful machines, nor that arcades should pop up in every neighborhood. However, in their niche - often in tourist areas and side by side with redemption games and midway games or as arcade bars - they do just fine. Playing Star Wars Pod Racer in the arcade, with twin thruster controls like the movie, is very different from whatever a home console has provided. There is no arcade perfect home esperience to match this, or many other arcade games.

I am not optimstic on the future of arcades, and you can debate if a plane or roller coaster simulator with moving chair or shooting animals on safari is gimmicky or not, but its still beyond the abilities of a home experience. The point is that arcade games are more than the graphics, they are the gameplay, and the gameplay is a function of the controllers and even cabinet design.

That is enough to pushback on saying arcades are categorically obsolete. If arcades - whether retro arcade bars or boardwalk arcades - go away, something will be lost (even beyond the social aspects) that home units cannot ape perfectly.

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Stalvern
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby Stalvern » June 1st, 2018, 9:00 pm

What you're talking about isn't representative of what arcade games originally were, though. The machines that still linger around at the mall today, sure, because a wheel and pedals or a swivel-mounted gun are the last thing the games have to draw attention by the movie theater lobby in 2018 (apart from lowest-common-denominator nostalgia value - hello, 2-in-1 Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga), but the overwhelming majority of arcade games in their glory days got by with a joystick and a few buttons (and don't try to tell me that a decent console controller isn't a more than acceptable equivalent). The appeal of arcade games as a whole was that they were bigger, flashier, and just plain cooler than anything you could play on a home system. That's why kids bothered to bring bags of quarters to stand-alone arcades. That's why stand-alone arcades were even possible. Arcade games had an exclusive cachet, and that cachet was due to their graphical hardware more than anything else (although specialized cabinets and controls certainly added another level of appeal). It's a mistake to conflate arcade gaming as it was when it represented an industry's cutting edge with the dregs that persist now entirely through inertia and nostalgia.

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scotland
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby scotland » June 1st, 2018, 9:53 pm

Thank you for the nice conversation

You have gone from categorically obsolete down to typical arcade games were buttons and a joystick. I agree kids went to arcades for the reason you mention, as well as socializing. There were arcades before video games too, and the same reasons held there. However, specialized controllers were always part of the mix, and a strong, often front row aspect. Driving games have driving controls, shooting games have guns, what made Hang On an attraction - you sat on a motorcycle to play and how cool is that. We placed games like Hang On right up front by the doors.

Even simple games like Lunar Lander have a big throttle bar - not a button or a joystick, but a big analog throttle bar, and that matters - to immersion and to gameplay. All sorts of games were play tested to have a control scheme that worked for that game, felt like something cool to play, and attracted quarters too.

You mentioned a modern controller. I am going to agree with you that a home console controller may be a fine way to play many arcade games. You might be able to get an arcade stick controller instead of dual analog controller. However, it is a different way to play, and being different fails to be arcade 'perfect' on that basis alone - just like an emulator that plays a game fine but screws up the music or color palette. It may be good enough, but its not perfect - its different.

I also think different controllers may change the difficulty too. Playing Missile Command with a mouse may be easier than with a trak ball, because the arcade trak ball had inertia and more mass, so changing direction was slower. I don't know how Missile Command would play on the 360, but Missile Command is hardly an outlier game, but a staple of its day.

The thing for me is that even if a modern console can reproduce the graphics, the controllers matter. People often say things like This controller is better than that, or that dpad is too squishy, etc, because the controller is the connection point of gamer to game. Its not incidental, its integral.

But I accept you feel otherwise that a typical button and joystick arcade games can be effectively mimiced and played on the 360, and the.rest don't matter. Your opinion may be the majority opinion at that.

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Stalvern
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby Stalvern » June 2nd, 2018, 12:37 am

scotland wrote:You have gone from categorically obsolete down to typical arcade games were buttons and a joystick.

I said "categorically obsolete" in the specific context of this thread, which up to that point was about the progression of home consoles' power relative to that of arcade boards. It is inarguable that the paradigm of "arcade-quality" hardware - again, the ostensible topic of this thread - is dead. Regardless of whatever else you wanted to read into my post, the questions of power and the role of the arcade machine in defining power were what I was talking about. I mentioned the typical control scheme as an illustration of specifically how that technological obsolescence dealt such a blow to arcade gaming as a whole - regardless of whatever appeal the controls or cabinets had, the glamor was in the spectacle of the games themselves. Without it, arcade machines would have been - as they are now - simply toys.

This actually raises a different and (as far as I care) much more interesting issue, that of glamor and cachet. Probably the biggest difference in gameplay between arcade and console games is depth - a game like Ghouls 'n' Ghosts is necessarily shallower than Super Metroid because Super Metroid doesn't have to worry about hooking a complete stranger as fast as possible and can afford multiple hours of a player's time. I think that part of why arcade games started to lose ground at the end of the '90s is that sophisticated console games like Metal Gear Solid and Ocarina of Time gained a cachet of their own: maturity. Games used to be marketed to kids, but now they were for adults, or at least teenagers who wanted to think of themselves as adults. I don't think that this is the whole story, but how much of the story is it? If the fifth console generation had lasted another five or so years and arcade games had maintained a comfortable margin of technical superiority, would this shift in attitude have been enough on its own to marginalize the arcade? I have no idea, but it's something to think about.

scotland wrote:The thing for me is that even if a modern console can reproduce the graphics, the controllers matter. People often say things like This controller is better than that, or that dpad is too squishy, etc, because the controller is the connection point of gamer to game. Its not incidental, its integral.

This means nothing. Of course there are bad controllers out there, but I can't tell you how many arcade games I've played (or tried to play) that had sticky or outright broken buttons. Working as designed, both systems do the same job equally well.

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DrLitch
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby DrLitch » June 2nd, 2018, 5:07 am

Comparing niche products to home consoles, in some cases, are apples to oranges. How could we, for instance, reliably compare a real mechanical Pinball machine to a pinball video game which simulates it?

Most cabinets during the 80's and 90's were set ups we are all very familiar with- a screen, a joystick and a few buttons. An experience easily replicated by a console as long as it had the computational grunt to render the graphics and audio of the arcade. That a console could not reproduce with any authenticity the booth or stick/wheel controller schemes for Afterburner or Ridge Racer does not mean it cannot be arcade perfect in the sense of graphics or sound. The term arcade perfect, rightfully or wrongfully, is considered to relate to the audio-visual department for most people. Given that most arcade games and cabinets had a straightforward control scheme of joystick and buttons easily replicated by a home console, this assumption makes sense.

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scotland
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby scotland » June 12th, 2018, 11:35 am

I asked around elsewhere on this topic, and this is sort of what I got:

* "Arcade Perfect" is generally accepted as 'running like the actual arcade board' and does not generally include a discussion of whether or not the controllers are similar at all.

* The term 'arcade perfect' is widely used to be able to compare ports and therefore compare scores and train across versions.

* The term "arcade experience" can be used for both 'arcade perfect' execution of the code with arcade controls

* Many gamers recognize there are numerous games where the controller makes a vital difference. That an arcade perfect port is still very different from the arcade, and therefore comparing scores or training on the port has little value. Different controllers can make the game harder, or easier.

* Many gamers have preferred controllers for some games (often fighting games), and recognize the importance of the controller in gameplay.

* Having different controls versus the original (whether arcade original or something like a retro console game, such as an intellivision game) impacts the feelings of nostalgia and enjoyment of the game.

To put context on where my perspective is coming from, if you look back on some books from the Atari 2600 generation, you'll see reviews of games like Asteroids, where the difference in how the ship is controlled (joystick instead of arcade buttons) is discussed, but for Pac Man (itself a joystick game), the conversation is about the difference in maze layout. Addressing differences in controllers was, at least in the golden age of the arcades, as much part of the discussion in bringing an arcade game home as anything else.

Recall that the Atari itself created numerous controllers for their 2600, and that other companies created still more. The plethora of choices helped to bridge that gap in home and arcade controllers (although often not very successfully). To talk about something being arcade 'perfect' but ignoring the controller raises an eyebrow at the omission.

To try and see the more modern perspective, a theory might be that the passage of time and emulating a system (instead of just a particular game) has become a goal, 'arcade perfect' may have arisen as a description without regard to controller (since that is a hardware variable). Also with the passage of time, arcades are not (and have not been for awhile) a major part of the gaming culture. Fewer and fewer living gamers would have encountered the game initially as an arcade game, and would have both less notalgia for the original arcade version and controls, and put less emphasis on the difference between home controllers and arcade controllers. Possibly more importantly, people want to compete and compare scores using their home consoles, and 'arcade perfect' allows them a standard to level the playing field. Whether its an arcade 'experience' is really not relevant in that context.

pacman000
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Re: So when did home video games become "Arcade Perfect?"

Postby pacman000 » June 12th, 2018, 12:43 pm

Bringing up controls is an interesting point, Scotland, one that I haven't heard before. It's a new idea, and sometimes new ideas take time to catch on. Sometimes they never catch on, even if they are good.

I'd suggest leaving cockpit cabinets out of the discussion, since most games came in several different cabinets, depending on what the arcade operator needed.

Coleco's 1st console, the Telstar Arcade, did try to replicate most late-70's arcade controls; it had three panels, one with a steering wheel, one with a light gun, and one with buttons & paddles. All it needed were tank controls. Neat idea, but a bit unwieldy looking.

I'm a bit sad arcades aren't considered a major part of gaming culture anymore; it's like saying movie theaters aren't a major part of film culture anymore. Movie theaters haven't fallen as far as arcades, but most folk don't go out to the movies anymore; they wait for a home video release.


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