Arcade’s Impact on American Culture
Walking into a dark room full of chatter and yelling, young childrens faces glowing from the screen in front of them, no parents walking around, just kids of all ages and types stuffed into one room full of large game cabinets; this is when someone has entered an arcade. Over $500 million in arcade games have been sold in the last 43 years to over 5,000 arcades nation wide. Even though arcades are not as common as they were in their golden years of 1971- 1987 (Polsson np).They are still commonly visited in the American youth, but it is a dying industry. Arcades have sparked the gaming industry and without them we would not have any PS4 or XboxOne or any game console. There would be no “gamers” or “try-hards”. With computer game industry moving slow it was time for something new. Thus the arcade, a place where many different game developers were able to place their products and kids would come in and pay to play them. Arcades have changed american culture for the better. It has sparked the creation of digital games, influenced at home gaming, created a new environment for gamers.
Titles such as Space Invaders (1978), Asteroids (1979), Pac-Man (1980), Frogger (1981) Centipede (1981), and Donkey Kong(1981) Flooded arcades nation wide (June np). These Games sparked the creation of many other games and even have influences on games designed today. These games sold over $500 million in sales in 1980 and generated over $3.8 billion from uses. Popular games made almost $40-$80 a day each. (Buzon np) This huge growing industry all started with one single video game. “Computer Space”. It was the second arcade game ever released. It was designed by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney nearly weeks after the first coin operated game “Galaxy Game” was released. Nolan Bushnell then created Pong not long after which was the first truly successful video game. Pong Brought on the first gerneration of at home gaming consoles and Arcades. The game began to pop up in bars, fairs, and “Arcade Halls across the world” (Bozen np). More Games began popping up by different companies. Namco, Atari, Midway, Nintendo, Stern Electronics, Williams Electronics, Taito, and many more companies nation wide.These companies began to produce games left and right, over 50 games came out a year. The origins of these popular games go way back, the most known origin of arcade games is the original pinball arcade game. The Pinball machine. Invented in 1930 the pinball machine derived from a game dating back to the 19th century called Bagatelle. These games were placed in penny arcades and were the first to collect change and make a profit. The first Pinball games were designed to not only to test your luck but also your skill. They were soon outlawed after slot machine companies took advantage of the games and started using them to make a strong profit. Gambling was illegal in some states such as New York causing legal issues between companies and was eventually outlawed. It wasn’t untill 1950 that Pinball games were legal again and once they were they popped up in arcades, shopping centers, diners, and all other types of location across the US.
As more arcade games came out more arcades opened. Popular games began to pop up all over the place, and started to make massive profit. Kids began to go to arcades every day and spend countless quarters on popular titles. Arcades took thousands of dollars to stop and with games making over $300 a week it didn’t take too long to pay off but with maintenance sometimes it was hard to keep up with all the bills. Games like Pac-Man sold over 350,000 units in the 1980’s making companies such as Namco billions. (Champgne np)Game companies began hosting competitions to raise awareness of their new and not yet released games. The idea of competitive nature made games even more profitable and raised awareness of arcades. As technology got more advanced so did games making them more...
Cited: Buzon, Mark, “Arcade Evolution” ign.com, 2006. Web. 6 March 2014
ABC-CLIO, 2014 Web, 6 March, 2014
Did You Know Facts
Jarvis, Eugene “Quotes” brainyquote.com, 2014, Web. 13 March 2014
June, Laura, “For Amusement Only: The Life and Death of the American Arcade” Vox Media
Verge, 2013. Magazine Article, 6 March, 2014
Miller, Ross “Sony posts $887 million net profit, PlayStation has strong holiday quarter
engadget.com Feruary 2012, Web. 12 March, 2014
Polsson, Ken “Chronology of Arcade Video Games” Vidgame.info, 2006
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