Sega marked its 60th anniversary this week with a tiny version of the Game Gear. It's working on a system that would turn Japanese arcades into small data centers. According to Weekly Famitsu (via Kotaku), Sega will tap into powerful CPUs and GPUs in arcade machines as part of an ultra-low-latency streaming system. It's calling the idea "fog gaming," and it's based on fog computing. Devices in a fog computing system are much closer together physically than those in a cloud setup, which lowers the length of time it takes data to travel between them.
The rise of the gaming console has left its mark on living rooms and bedrooms around Britain – but it has also hit the high street. There were around 1,000 amusement arcades in the UK in the 1980s, but that number had halved by 2011, according to the amusements industry trade body, Bacta. Now, the next generation of gaming – virtual reality – is once again making the arcade the prime venue for playing cutting-edge games. Back at the inception of gaming, fans went to video-game arcades. Japanese coin-operated games like Out Run and Street Fighter managed to draw in players once Pac-Man and Donkey Kong fell away, but they could not beat increasingly impressive home consoles such as Sony's PlayStation, which came along in the mid-90s, and Microsoft's Xbox at the turn of the century.
If you're a fighting game diehard then you've probably heard the jokes hundreds of times before. "Mexicans love The King of Fighters." "Latinos are the best at The King of Fighters games." "In China, The King of Fighters may as well be their Street Fighter." I've come across stories about fans of the series finding out their non-gamer Hispanic and Latin American friends held a spot in their heart for the series.
Arcades occupy a unique place in video game history. In the late 1970s and 1980s, a string of hits like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong ushered in new gameplay mechanics and bright, crispy pixel graphics. The 1990s featured the fighting game boom with Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, and Virtua Fighter demonstrating cutting-edge graphics and gameplay. It was the place to be, a time when the cutting edge in video games, from texture-mapped polygonal graphics to peripheral control inputs (including steering wheels, light guns, and dance-mats), could only be found crammed into immaculately designed cabinets, complete with their showy bezels and marquees. Arcades dodged hardware limitations largely due to their ability to optimize the hardware specifically to play one single game.
These days, you can easily relive classic games by purchasing them on digital stores, snapping up remasters or subscribing to a dedicated gaming service like Nintendo's Switch Online. But, the trend of creating mini replicas of retro machines takes our penchant for nostalgia one step further. That's where My Arcade comes in. The company's Micro Player arcades funnel the golden days of coin-op gaming into a tiny, affordable package designed to appeal to old and young gamers alike. Its growing line-up of officially licensed retro releases already includes Contra, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Galaga and Bubble Bobble, among others. The new entry is bundled into a 1/10th scale replica of the game's original 1992 arcade cabinet, featuring artwork inspired by the original, including character portraits of playable fighters Ryu, Ken, Zangief and Blanka.