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The surprising, stealth rebirth of the American arcade

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The surprising, stealth rebirth of the American arcade – Ars Technica.

The arcade industry is dead in the United States—everyone knows it—done in by a combination of rapidly advancing home consoles and rapidly expanding suburbanization in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The only people not in on this bit of conventional wisdom are the ones who happen to be opening a surprising number of successful new arcades around the country.

Adam Pratt, who runs industry website Arcade Heroes when he isn’t managing his own arcade in West Valley City, Utah, tracked at least 12 major, dedicated, independent US arcades opening their doors in 2011, with 10 more opening so far this year. That might not be enough to rival numbers from the golden age of arcades, but it’s a notable expansion from the years before.



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3 Comments

  1. The old Asteroids, Defender and Space Invaders was all the rage back then and the big sound and screen was a benefit.

    We still like playing Pinball, Galaxian, or Pacman when we go on vacation.

    We played Crazy Taxi and Need For Speed in the arcade which can also be found on the Gamecube.

    One of the McDonalds near us has Gamecube systems in their restaurant which you can play for free and my son has a lot of fun on them.

    If it wasn’t for the arcade, we probably wouldn’t have tried some new games. It was a novel way back then to get people involved.

  2. Arcades… What a flashback, I’m suddenly homesick. 🙂

    Hopefully, the games’ popularity isn’t based merely on nostalgia of my generation (I’m 46 and pretty much grew up in arcades).

    During ski trips, we regularly make side visits to a place called “Funspot” in Laconia, NH. It bills itself as “The largest arcade in the world” – I’m inclined to believe it.

  3. Are the major houses going to license their roms?

    I can imagine an arcade with a bunch of emulator cabinets – way cheaper setup costs, provides revenue for the roms that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Seems like it would be a great opportunity especially for those publishing houses that already were running cabinets with multiple roms.

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