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.
On January 16, 2021, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike tournament legend Tominaga made a rare and critical mistake. Deep into the final round of a first-to-10 bloodbath against Kuni, a Ryu great who's similarly known for precise gameplay, Tominaga's murderous Makoto backed Ryu precariously into his own corner. Seizing the opportunity to close the book on a white-knuckle hour of back-and-forth showmanship, Tominaga dashed in for a grab that would have ensured victory. But he mistimed the outstretched reach of the tiny karate wunderkind to give Ryu the opportunity to escape. This was Kuni's moment: a golden blink of time when jumping away from the opponent at such a distance would mean coming down on Makoto like a meteor--and yet, another mistake.
TL;DR: Get a taste of nostalgia with the Polycade Home: Plug and Play Mounted Arcade for $3,899, a $100 savings as of Aug 1. The golden age of arcade video games (the late 1970s to the mid-1980s) died with the birth of home video game consoles. It's tragic, as there's truly no video game console that feels as authentic and wistful as playing Pac-Man or Street Fighter at the local arcade. While there's no guarantee genuine arcades will ever make a comeback -- especially not in the age of coronavirus -- there is a way you can bring that nostalgic vibe into your home. It's called the Polycade and it's designed with all the functions you'd want in an arcade machine, but with the form of a modern-day piece of art. If the arcade machine was first designed in 2020, what do you think it would look like?
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.
If you were to set foot inside the Heart of Gaming, a densely packed treasure trove of classic and modern arcade games in Croydon, there is one cabinet you'd almost certainly have to queue to play on. Featuring chunkily texture-mapped stock cars, snaking between each other on swooping circuits below an azure blue sky, Daytona USA, is one of the greatest driving games ever made. Released in 1993, and available in a variety of cabinets from basic standing model to full-on deluxe recreation of the player's 41 Hornet car, Sega's masterpiece always pulls a crowd. The game can still be found in public places all over the UK and beyond, while myriad ports have made their way to everything from Dreamcast to PlayStation 3. The reason why this grunting, knockabout NASCAR sim still thrives, and the reason the third new cabinet-based game in the series is now gradually making it to arcades globally, is rather intangible. In a genre where innovation and individuality are arguably stifled by game design conventions, Daytona USA stands out as truly special, even amid Sega's own crowded starting grid of genre-defining racers.