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Eugene Jarvis Shifts From Terror To Fast, Furious

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the arcades-not-quite-coughing-up-blood dept.

Classic Games (Games) 30

Thanks to GameSpot for its interview with seminal game designer Eugene Jarvis, best known "for arcade titles from the eighties... including Defender, Robotron, NARC, [and] Smash T.V.", discussing his attempts to revitalize the arcade market. The article mentions his recently released, terrorism-themed Target: Terror lightgun arcade shooter, apparently "the number two most profitable arcade game in its first month in general release" - Jarvis comments of the content: "So Target: Terror is this extreme paranoia, but gosh, it could be real. We take it to the extreme--they're taking over the Golden Gate Bridge and you have to retake that." It's also revealed of Jarvis that "This Fall, his three-year-old, self-funded company, Raw Thrills, will debut its second arcade title, The Fast and the Furious, a driving title based on the Universal Pictures film of the same name." We previously covered Target: Terror earlier this year on Slashdot Games.

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First ? (-1, Flamebait)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9412542)

I would like to thank the Academy, my parents, my friends, and my producers ; Without them I wouldn't have made first post. ;)

On a more serious note : Man, that game looks like crap ; Just throwing in some controversial stuff doesn't make a game any better :(

Sad (3, Insightful)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 10 years ago | (#9412558)

I'm glad in 2004 there are still arcade games out there that are using the 1994 "Revolution, starring Aerosmith"- technology. Well, at least SOMEONE is still making arcade games. I am sick of seeing the same games everytime I goto any arcade. I don't know how "Dave and Busters" et al, stays in business.

Target: Terror = Worst. Game. Ever. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9412567)

No joke. This game is APPALLING.

I hope the developers read this, and shoot themselves in the mouth. An absolute horrible piece of shit. Ugh.

Trailer on Raw Thrills' website (2, Interesting)

rufo (126104) | more than 10 years ago | (#9412678)

Those screenshots look absolutely horrifying, but if you watch the trailer [freecache.org] (it's a freecache link, so hopefully it won't be /.ed) it doesn't look quite as bad.

I dunno, I'm still kinda skeptical about it, but if I ever see it in an arcade I'll probably give it a spin. I mean hey - it's a light-gun game, all you have to do is shoot people, maybe I'm wrong, but it can't get that bad, can it?

Oh my... (0, Offtopic)

dmayle (200765) | more than 10 years ago | (#9412818)

I've got a queasy feeling in my stomach, and it's got nothing to do with how much Mountain Dew I drink. :(

You know, I expect this sort of shit to be made (Target: Terror), because for all the shitty people you know, there's always gotta be someone worse, someone more willing to take advantage of the fear in a population to further their own selfish goals... But that it's doing so well, this bothers me. This does not bode well for the country I grew up loving.

I have this conversation with friends: Is this terrible little feeling the same that was felt by people championing civil rights, or women's suffrage? Is this the feeling our Founding Fathers had when they thought about what they could do? When we look around and see the stupid stuff being done in the name of what WE hold dear?

They tell me that I shouldn't get so worked up, that terrible shit has always happened in our world, and the only difference now is that it's more visible. (Thank you, CNN, Internet, NPR)

But when I speak my mind, I wonder about a knock on the door, and who might be on the other side. Does Abbie Hoffman have to go back into hiding, or they looking for someone new this time? Is a discussion enough to get a label applied to me? To be sentenced to an outcast life, for disagreeing with my older Brother? (Because let's face it, folks, it's happened before, and the proof is available for anyone who wants to go read about it.)

I feel like a castaway, floating on a raft of sanity, in a sea of fear and hate. I hope that by talking about it, we pull a little closer to shore, and I dream of a day when I can sleep witout fear of the sharks...

Re:Oh my... (1)

ronfar (52216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9416425)

You do realize that Abbie Hoffman commited suicide in 1989, right?

Abbie Hoffman [erowid.org]

If not, then I hate to be the one to break the news. (I'm not being sarcastic. I remember how I heard, my modernist literature professor told our class.)

Arcade must evolve (4, Insightful)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9413006)

or die. In my opinion, arcades would be much more successfull if they invested in high-quality hardware that can't be matched by consoles. And I don't mean high-quality graphics. I'm more inclined to full F1 car or fighter plance cockpits with multi-head display and 3D sound. How many people have the space for one of those at home?

Re:Arcade must evolve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9413621)

Uh...that's how most arcades are nowadays. So get going to the arcade already!!!! You should check out Police 911, F355, various seated cannon games (Beach Heads, Crimson Skies) F Zero. Go GOGOGOGOGO!

Re:Arcade must evolve (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9413757)

I always thought that arcades should have leveraged the control the owners have over them and setup a giant game-playing network, ensuring that even if there wasn't local competition ther would be competition from somewhere. Sadly, now the arcade owners would only be on par with consoles if they networked, but it is something they will have to do... and soon.

They also need to profit share [chriscanfield.net] with the people who develop arcade games if they want to survive.

Of course, the best games in the arcade right now (and for a long time) have been DDR and Konami's motion-tracking system setups. Apparently American Sammy was also tremendously successful with that soccerball - kicking game that everyone recognizes. Why we don't have more creative hardware-based games is beyond me, but that mantra of console compatibility that dominated the industry in the 90's needs to end.

Re:Arcade must evolve (1)

gunmenrock (742305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419673)

That's where you're wrong. Those huge mammoth simulators cost tens of thousands of dollars... no arcade owner can possibly expect to buy one and turn a profit... even at $1 a play... and, honestly, how many times are you going to put a dollar in the same game? So, those games are usually leased.

You'll notice that arcades are all turning to redemption games, because that's the only place right now where they can make any profit.

I'm hoping to see the return of the "social" aspect of arcades. Like, for instance, back when fighting games really hit... SF2, MK, VF... you'd go to the arcade and challenge total strangers, there'd be a line of quarters across the retainer bar for the monitor glass... those were the days.

The problem is, as arcade games all went 3D, home consoles could then offer reasonable facsimiles of their arcade counter parts. Lose a polygon here, jagged edge there, and the game would still be fluid and recognizable on your $99 PlayStation. What was the point of asking mom to drive you to the mall or (gasp) riding your bike to the pizza joint a few blocks away? You could just sit at home and play the game all you wanted, no waiting, no quarters, until you were sick of it.

That was nowhere near the case back in the early 80's... even the early 90's. You had no choice but to go to the arcade if you wanted the real deal. Hell, even the NES couldn't push a good port of Galaga. Play the highly-vaunted ColecoVision version of Donkey Kong, and then fire it up in MAME. No comparison.

OK, I'm losing track of whatever the hell I was talking about... I guess I made my point... jumping off my soapbox now.

Re:Arcade must evolve (1)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422462)

That's where you're wrong. Those huge mammoth simulators cost tens of thousands of dollars...
This is obviously wrong. I can put together, from shelf parts, a three headed cockpit with force feedback wheel, pedals and shift-gear based off a high-end PC for an ammount around five thousand dollars. Here, one needs to add the cockpit itself, made out of fiberglass or something like that, which wouldn't cost over a hundred bucks even if custom-made. Add mass production discounts, and it's in the range of a few thousand dollars, not tens of thousands of dollars.

The rest of the post is then based off wrong data...

Re:Arcade must evolve (1)

gunmenrock (742305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422745)

But they don't use PCs in arcade games; they're dedicated PCBs which must be engineered and manufactured. Then there are the programming costs, the expense of the EEPROMs and other silicon, the rest of the hardware engineering, and so forth. Don't forget advertising, shipping, etc. You haven't taken any of that into consideration.

And, dude... custom fiberglass work for a hundred bucks? Didn't know Kathy Lee's sweatshops did anything but rayon slacks.

Been to a Betson distributor lately? I have. I collect classic arcade games, and go there for parts occasionally. I see their price tags, and have an idea what these things cost. Your typical 25" upright coin op costs around $5000 new. The upright Star Wars Trilogy was about $9000 new. That's a fact. A huge simulator is going to be much more than that.

Besides, where's the profit on your $5000 dream machine?

Sorry. I'm not bashing you, but your logic is faulty, and I know what I'm talking about. ;^)

Re:Arcade must evolve (1)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9423319)

But they don't use PCs in arcade games; they're dedicated PCBs which must be engineered and manufactured. Then there are the programming costs, the expense of the EEPROMs and other silicon, the rest of the hardware engineering, and so forth. Don't forget advertising, shipping, etc. You haven't taken any of that into consideration.
I didn't because all of those factors play in my favor. Custom gaming hardware, much like console hardware, can be produced cheaper than regular PCs. In any case, if this is false, nothing prevents the usage of PCs as the arcade backend.

Custom fiberglass work is extremely cheap, if you don't require anything fancy. Green cars, the kind used in fuel efficiency competitions, have a shell made out of Perspex, costing in the range of a hundred euros. Perspex is quite soft, so gets scratched easily and wouldn't be a good choice for an arcade machine. It however proves my point.

The profit on my $5000 dream machine is about 40%. The usual for off-the-shelf parts.

As for current arcade machine value, it is off my point. I was trying to point that arcades must evolve or die. The fact that current, plain boring, setups cost so much just reinforces my point.

OMG FMV Graphics (2, Funny)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9413116)

It's years since i've seen them, jesus how poor. The worrying thing is a saw him saying how polygon people looked bad, he's just warped!

It's all about Japan really (4, Insightful)

schild (713993) | more than 10 years ago | (#9413122)

To understand why arcade games became a dead pasttime in America, you have to understand why they are so popular in Japan. It's quite simple actually.

Japan is condensed. Children over there like to rebel against their parents, get out of the house, and partake in some escapism and vices. What's better than beer, cigarettes, and arcade machines? Having them all in one centralized place where all of your friends can meet up. With the popularity of more social/active games rising (DDR, Beatmania, Donkey Konga, etc) - it's no wonder why arcades are so popular over here.

The inverse of the arcade's rise to popularity in Japan explains why they just fell apart here:

1. They are usually targeted at younger kids, i.e. kids who have $5, and that's it, cuz their mom is shoe shopping next door and doesn't trust the kid to not go off with a stranger and be kidnapped.
2. Arcades in the 80's were a haven for the 'geek' archetype. Once people could play games in their own home (most of which were better than the arcade variant), the geeks started staying at home. We're anti-social, am i rite?
3. Dave and Buster's is aiming for the Japanese style arcade where smoking, drinking, and social gaming rules the roost. Unfortunately they card you at the front door. So if you're under 21 without a parent you can't get in, so they don't get the foot traffic a regular non-smoking, non-alcohol-serving arcade gets.

If you are skimming this I'll sum it up shortly:

American Arcades suck.

Wrong theory (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9414754)

Arcades died because of the home hardware/cost cycle caught up with the arcades. There was never a drastic enough difference in visual quality or game play to go the arcade when you could just have the friends over and play. Plus the arcade generation started to grow up and leave or had kids or the real world just started calling in general. The big arcade companies are going to have to innovate, push the limits like in the old days and improve the experience. Which means

1 Data Cards for saves and custom characters, equipment, records etc.

2. Internet Connections- head to head play with home consoles or pc's players and/or have the ability to save your records to your email account at Yahoo or hotmail etc. Also voice connections to communicate

3. Perks for the arcade player - meaning better custom hardware, more immersive deluxe controls, and new characters and hardware that goes only to arcade players first.

The home playing exp has gotten more complex so the arcades should get a little more complex to. The big guns like Namco, Sega must innovate and not wait for the consoles to lead the gaming market. In the old days we went to arcades because we couldn't get the exp at home. Now there isn't much of a difference.


Re:Wrong theory (2, Insightful)

robson (60067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9414841)

Arcades died because of the home hardware/cost cycle caught up with the arcades.

But your hypothesis doesn't address why arcades and arcade games are still successful in Japan (which the parent post does address).

Re:Wrong theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9416374)

Aracdes in Japan have been more cutting edge and complex. They are exploring internet and more complex interfaces. Also the types of games played by Japanese tend to be more complex like the Virtua Fighter series which are very deep in game play. Also you can note that the Japanese can't get into bloody brutal games like Mortal Kombat which focus on violence and not depth. There was another article on Slashdot that talked about this and I think it factors into the equation. My other theory is that in the USA there is more to do then to play video games. I lived in Japan and there is only so many places to go and things to do so the culture tends to be more indoors. Also the varity of games in Japan were more then the USA. I guess import cost in the arcade downturn caused US arcades to rely more on what they had then to rely on unknown risky games from Japan.

Re:Wrong theory (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9417976)

But your hypothesis doesn't address why arcades and arcade games are still successful in Japan (which the parent post does address).

Actually it did, to some extent, though I don't think the author realized it. The custom characters (et.c) memory card idea has been in big use in some of the more profitable Japanese arcade games for at least a few years. For example, Virtua Fighter 4 and Virtual On Force use them to great effect (and profit!). You could reasonably argue that pretty much these games alone have been keeping Sega afloat as of late.

I don't think memory cards alone are what will keep arcades alive, but it does seem to attract the hardcore gamers that the consoles have 'stolen' in places like the US. These hardcore players do spend quite a bit of cash (err, yen :D) though, and that can really help an arcade out.

grammar (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9413419)

"This Fall, his three-year-old, self-funded company, Raw Thrills, will debut its second arcade title, The Fast and the Furious, a driving title based on the Universal Pictures film of the same name."

Holy fuck, dude. You need to forget the videogames for a bit and go read a Strunk & Wagnell's Style Guide. You should never hit the comma more than you hit the spacebar.

Are you sure it IS by Jarvis? (3, Interesting)

paulcammish (542971) | more than 10 years ago | (#9413636)

If it is, where are the Epilepsy inducing strobing/color-cycling scores? (go play any of his old stuff if you dont know what I mean)

It looks a LOT like a slightly more modern version of Area 51 [klov.com] (Prerendered backdrops, badly integrated bad guys pasted over the top), and that ran on the CoJag hardware back in 1995.

Please Eugine, give it up - leave your record with some of the best Coin-Op games ever, and dont do a Lucas...

arcades rule (1)

Pendos (787848) | more than 10 years ago | (#9413838)

i wish they would put more effort into arcade games development

Drinking Beer or Dancing? (0, Offtopic)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9414888)

look at http://www.rawthrills.com/tt3.jpg Is the guy on the left behind the counter drinking beer or dancing?

Re:Drinking Beer or Dancing? (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9416262)

A screenshot... of the game... with a comment.question about it...

Modded off topic : Hmmm.

mod parent back up (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9416731)

he posted a screenshot with a comment about its goofiness. he's most certainly on topic.

when is the pc version coming out? (1)

kevn (730412) | more than 10 years ago | (#9415657)

seriously if anyone thinks this game nomatter how legendary (and cool) the author, is going to revitalize the arcade they are smoking the same thing I was when I lived and breathed his original classics (stargate..robotron..) I expected arcade games to have evolved about 100 or so in magnitude from the Virtuality systems of the early 90's. What the hell happened? kvn

*Checks box* (1)

fondue (244902) | more than 10 years ago | (#9415886)

As predicted, it's another hamfisted Area 51-style digitised shooter. Time to retire, Mr. Jarvis.

Re:*Checks box* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9416474)

and when he retires and his ticker gives out he'll be eligable to recieve a Jarvis artificial heart.

Re:*Checks box* (1)

chromaphobic (764362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419582)

Yeah, and it's a damn shame too.

As a youthful gamer, there were only two names whose games I looked forward to and were (more or less) never dissapointed by. Eugene Jarvis was one, Jeff Minter was the other.

Disappointing now though, to see him creating something so underwhelming.

PS1 style tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9426350)

How is a game that would've been cool on my old PS1 going to kickstart interest in arcades again? I'm sure it might be a fun game and all but the graphics are a blend of FMV baddies with cheap ass CGI locations thrown in.
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