The arcade, ladies and gentlemen, has seen better days. The rise of home consoles, of widespread network gaming, of significantly superior technology necessarily driving the prices up on full-size machinery to the point where huge prices have to be charged just to recoup the investment in any length of time...all of these have driven the arcade out of its former prominence. But now, it's looking to make a comeback thanks to the upcoming release of Arcadecraft.
Arcadecraft looks to show users the history of the arcade experience through a series of management decisions, as if the user him-, or her-, self were running an early 80s video arcade. You'll see the rise of the arcade, the disaster of the mid-eighties with the Nintendo Entertainment System
first arrived, and then the resurgence in the early 90s. You'll get to experience the differences in equipment--the emergence of Laserdisk, for example--and get to make many of the decisions that were common in arcades through the 80s and into the 90s. Decisions like pricing, which games to bring in, which to decommission, and so on will be available for users to make. Making the price of Bloody Splatter 4 a dollar a play may mean heavy cash in the short term, but it also may keep users away from the whole arcade in the future. Price Bloody Splatter 4 at a mere quarter and there could be a line around the block, which in turn ups the wait time and, thus, may keep users away from the whole arcade in the future.
Arcadecraft--no relation at all, from what I can tell, to either Minecraft
or Guncraft--will function as not only a strategy game in the grandest Theme Park style, but also as something of a history lesson all in the same handy package. That's likely going to prove a great touchstone between parents and kids, as the kids come into their own as gamers and the parents remember their days gaming fondly. Or not fondly, depending.
Many of us likely have at least one good arcade memory. Spending time with friends, or just alone, trying to get a place at the latest game, trying to beat that old high score, or just trying to beat the guy--or the girl, sometimes--at your side, it doesn't particularly matter as the memories are there.
Just when we'll get the chance to go toe to toe with Arcadecraft is unknown--reports place it as being complete by the end of October--but chances are, we'll be neck deep in sweet nostalgia just in time for Christmas
, and that's not half bad. It's expected to hit on both Xbox Live and PC when it does emerge, so keep your eyes front.