As you grow older some of your tastes seem to change. As I have headed through my thirties such things as garlic, real ales & Brussel sprouts have been re discovered & embraced. The same can be said for playing retro arcade games & this is what has happened of late.
Article by Darren Cater
I have written before on this very website about my favourite arcade memories which all of course still stand and are my personal experiences from playing arcade games as a kid/teenager growing up in the eighties and early nineties. Back then though I always headed to the titles I knew and favoured as most of us probably did as we didn’t have an endless supply of ten and twenty pence pieces. What I can never remember doing though is playing what are now regarded as the original arcade classics. I never rushed to play Pac Man, Donkey Kong or Space Invaders because Space Harrier or Operation Wolf had probably caught my eye.
Perhaps these titles back then did seem a little out dated and at this point in time the more current arcade games were the top of the mountain giving us a gaming experience that could not be replicated back at home. Well now this has changed for me.
Last year I brought an original Xbox which had been fitted with a new hard drive and had CoinOps 7 installed. If you don’t know about CoinOps 7 have a look online but basically its thousands of retro games for all systems all in one place along with probably all the arcade games released in the eighties through to the late nineties and squeezed into your upgraded Xbox hard drive. As well as the arcade games you have loads of games from pretty much every mainstream system released that you would class as retro. A recommended purchase if you ever come across one. Anyway having all these games ready to play it gave me the opportunity to play as many arcade games as I wanted to and over the last year a habit seems to have formed; for a quick fix I play an old arcade game (sometimes a few).
Now time for retro gaming can be limited and making time for some gaming can be trying at times (as another previous article). But sometimes when I have the odd hour to myself of an evening the Xbox will get set up quickly and CoinOps 7 will be fired up for some arcade action. You can fit a lot of arcades games into an hour of gaming if you try & I have found myself favouring some of the old classics from the early eighties. I love playing Robotron 2084, Missile Command and Galaga as well as Donkey Kong, Tapper and Space Invaders to name just a few. Other older titles have pulled me in like Bezerk (which I got to play at Play Expo Blackpool), Q*Bert and of course Pac Man. The simple but addictive gameplay of these classics along with being able to play quite a few games within a short space of time is the perfect way to finish off a long day. You also have the challenge of beating your high score which is always something that pushes me on to keep playing & improving.
The playability on these classics is just fantastic too. With Robotron 2084 it’s all moving, dodging and shooting enemies and it is great fun. Yes you need to practice but once you do the rewards are worth it. The same can be said for Time Pilot and practice is definitely required for Tapper. With all of these games you are straight into the action; it is instant fun which sometimes is all you need when looking for a retro gaming fix. Yes graphics and sounds can seem dated but as far as I am concerned that’s the whole point as you are going back to video games at their purest form where imagination as well as skill was needed.
I went on holiday recently to Disney World and there was a small arcade on the resort where we stayed. Now my kids were all over all the newer arcade games but tucked away in the corner was three combo anniversary arcade cabinets: Space Invaders/Qix, Ms Pac Man/Galaga and Robotron/Joust.
I had a fantastic time playing these cabs when I got the opportunity and It was also cool at times to draw a small audience as I got a good run on Galaga. It’s a shame that we don’t see just a few in our own seaside arcades. On a recent trip to the coast I was in an arcade I could hear Pac Man in the distance and having followed the sound to the back of the arcade I was very disappointed to find a Pac Man ticket counting machine (how gutted was I). I’m sure if you put just one retro themed cabinet at the front of your arcade it would make some money, wouldn’t it?
So simple graphics, gameplay and sound is now something I embrace a lot more than when I was younger. The arcade games from the early 1980’s are definitely worth checking out if it is was an era perhaps a bit before your time. You will find titles that are challenging, addictive & really are a lot of fun. The games are varied; the themes are very charming & still resonate through to the games we play today. My tastes have certainly changed and I would certainly recommend that you hunt out some early arcade game action & have some fun. You’ll have a blast.
Article by Darren Cater
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