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Grandmother Buys Old Building In Japan And Finds 55 Classic Arcade Cabinets

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the treasure-trove dept.

Classic Games (Games) 133

An anonymous reader writes A grandmother agreed to purchase an old building in Chiba, which is just outside of Tokyo. When her family arrived to check out the contents of the building it was discovered that the first two floors used to be a game center in the 1980s. Whoever ran it left all the cabinets behind when it closed, and it is full of classic and now highly desirable games. In total there are 55 arcade cabinets, most of which are the upright Aero Cities cabinets, but it's the game boards that they contain that's the most exciting discovery. Boards include Donkey Kong, Street Fighter Alpha 2 (working despite the CPS2 lockout chip's tendency to kill old boards), and Metal Slug X.

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Classic Shots (0, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#47358261)

Classic shots
Of better times
Before internet 'bots
And facial hair crimes
Burma Shave

Re:Classic Shots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358283)

Classic shots
Of better times
Before internet 'bots
And dumbass rhymes
Burma Shave

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Classic Shots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358303)

Now, Hillary, just because your book is a total steamer is no reason to get on /. and show the world how humorless you are. We're all quite aware that Your Majesty is NOT amused.

Re:Classic Shots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358323)

Humourless? You're the one with the snarky comment, douchebag!

Re:Classic Shots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358381)

Everyone looks like a douchebag when you're full of vinegar and water, Hillary. Why not confine your torments to Bill? Does he not merit them? Hasn't your girl Barack trashed the country enough the last 6-ish years?

Re:Classic Shots (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 6 months ago | (#47359589)

You're coming across like a deranged wingnut. Can't you clowns stick to the nutjob sites like Fox and Breitbart?

Re:Classic Shots (1, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 6 months ago | (#47360053)

Yup Fox has been wrong about everything. Crazy fucks.

How can they expect to be believed when they say crazy stuff all the time. The IRS thing is a joke. Just because the head of the IRS took the 5th and their hard drives failed 10 days after receiving a letter asking what the heck was going on means nothing. The whole cancel our contract thing with the back up company was nothing other than a coincidence. this stuff happens all the time. I am a Systems Manager. Everyday we lose emails off local hard drives and the exchange servers while our high capacity storage systems are offline and then cancel our off site back up. Everyday! Sometimes twice a day.

Fast and Furious? The NSA spying? Obama Care? Those dead guys in some embassy that no one other than every other embassy and the red cross knew was going bad. Please. I only listen to CNN and MSNBC. Where I never have to hear these crazy things.

Re:Classic Shots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47360813)

We have an apparent nigger lover here.

Re:Classic Shots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358337)

Don't worry, I'm sure the beatings will stop when your parents eventually die...

and then she burned them for firewood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358265)

right?

Re:and then she burned them for firewood (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 6 months ago | (#47360457)

Why would she burn nostalgic entertainment from her youth?

Cool time capsule (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 6 months ago | (#47358277)

Cool time capsule. Stuff belongs in a museum. Great document of Japanese culture.

Re:Cool time capsule (1)

daremonai (859175) | about 6 months ago | (#47359537)

Uh-oh. So when they try to ship the stuff to the U.S., this might happen [youtube.com] .

I saw this recently (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358301)

did it say "Flynn's" on the outside?

Re: I saw this recently (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358523)

Ha! Yeah, someone really needs to make sure she doesn't head for Flynn's "office". I can't picture a grandmother lasting too long in "the games".

Re: I saw this recently (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358577)

Secretly she's a 9th level Kendo master who will step in and kick ass all over the place, and then make you some tea. Good tea too. Cause, you know, 9th level.

Re: I saw this recently (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 6 months ago | (#47358619)

She came to drink tea and kick ass. And look, she's finished her tea.

Re:I saw this recently (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 6 months ago | (#47359317)

In related news, they have discovered the manager had his office hidden behind one of the arcade games.

Re:I saw this recently (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 6 months ago | (#47359549)

It was Polybius, right?

Re:I saw this recently (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 6 months ago | (#47359535)

I was just gonna say, she better not touch the big weird desk-computer in the basement!

"What is this place, a rave? What am I supposed to do with this frisbee?"

neat, but was probably in use to 2000's (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#47358309)

due to metal slug x being in there..

so a neat find, but it's not an '80s arcade been in the dust for 25 years.

Re:neat, but was probably in use to 2000's (2)

scsirob (246572) | about 6 months ago | (#47359089)

Agree. There are some pictures of PCB's that have chips with '90s date codes stamped on them.

Re:neat, but was probably in use to 2000's (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359649)

the whole story is over romanticized and not even technically true, there are posts about it on some of the arcade collector forums with more information
www.jammaplus.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=63536

I find it more fascinating when pieces of rare Japanese culture appear outside of Japan
mamedev.emulab.it/haze/2014/06/07/whac-a-bison-vega/

there was a bubble bobble 2 prototype arcade machine from nearby there dusted off only a blip of time ago too

Re:neat, but was probably in use to 2000's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47360759)

Judging by what's in the place I'd say it most likely closed around 1999 - 2000 ... Is kill to get my hands on that final lap sit down, thing looks cherry.

Had to be said: (1)

balaband (1286038) | about 6 months ago | (#47358341)

W00t!

But the Tokyo area is so crowded (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 6 months ago | (#47358351)

Why would a building sit unused for 30 years? (And not get a leaky roof or clogged gutters that ruin the insides...)

Re: But the Tokyo area is so crowded (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358363)

Because it's not. Look at occupancy rates. Also Japanese are super tidy and maintain things despite them not being used. See their behavior at a recent world cup match

Re: But the Tokyo area is so crowded (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359325)

Also Japanese are super tidy and maintain things despite them not being used.

Actually, this is incorrect. They may be a generally clean and tidy people, but they typically *don't* maintain buildings - they re-build many (if not all) of their temples every few years rather than perform maintenance. Couples almost never buy used homes - that's why there's so much odd arcitecture in that country; you don't have to worry about resale value because everyone's just going to demolish the building anyways.

There was a neat bit about it on an NPR economics podcast a few months ago, if you're willing to do the search for it.

Re: But the Tokyo area is so crowded (1)

xevioso (598654) | about 6 months ago | (#47361229)

Wow. A world cup insult targeting Japan for some reason. I never thought I'd see the day. How random.

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#47358387)

It wasn't; although there are '80s cabinets in there, the hardware in a lot of the pictures is late '90s or early 2000s vintage, and one of the articles suggests it has been closed for about ten years. Given that there's been a recession on that entire time, it might be that the value of the space didn't justify the cost of clearing out all those machines.

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (2)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#47358475)

One of the pictures seemed to show a poster with odds for some kind of gambling game. Maybe some kind of issue with licensing or maybe even some kind of organized crime problem?

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (2)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 6 months ago | (#47358571)

Nah, that's fairly normal for Japan. They were probably running Pachislo machines alongside some Pachinko machines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachislo [wikipedia.org]

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#47360305)

Gambling is illegal in Japan but also extremely popular and a mainstream pass-time for many people. They get around the law in various ways. For example many machines let you win non-monetary prizes (which are legal) that a little shop around the corner from the pachinko parlour conveniently pawns for a fixed amount and sells back to the pachinko operators again.

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (4, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 months ago | (#47358593)

For a lot of reasons really. First of all, the article doesn't say where in Chiba prefecture this find was made, while there is a small part of Chiba prefecture that is close to Tokyo(including the part that is home to Tokyo Disney), the prefecture itself is quite large and includes a large peninsula that is quite a long distance from Tokyo.

Secondly, even in Tokyo proper if you travel to any point in the city that is more than a 10-15 minute walk from a station(and there are plenty of them) you will find plenty of run-down and abandoned buildings. Property in Tokyo seems to follow an inverse square law, the value is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the closest station.

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 6 months ago | (#47360187)

Secondly, even in Tokyo proper if you travel to any point in the city that is more than a 10-15 minute walk from a station(and there are plenty of them) you will find plenty of run-down and abandoned buildings. Property in Tokyo seems to follow an inverse square law, the value is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the closest station.

Which begs the question- would it be worth someone's time to buy some of these unwanted out-of-the-way buildings and then fund (possibly fully) the construction of a line and station covering that area?

That quite obviously wouldn't be cheap- to put it mildly- but given the ludicrous value of some buildings and land in Tokyo, the returns could be huge.

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47360603)

Raises the question, not begs it.

Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 6 months ago | (#47360365)

It didn't. One of those games says '97 on it. So it was AT LEAST open until then. Ok, that's still potentially a long time. But it's not 30 years.

At least post the original NeoGAF Thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358355)

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=822145

Tron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358365)

Maybe she discovered the Jap version of Flynn's Arcade.

Re:Tron (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 6 months ago | (#47359531)

That would be awesome. Although I have to wonder what the difference would be... More cute anime girls? More tentacles?

Re:Tron (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#47359749)

More cute anime girls? More tentacles?

Usually, having the second one implies also having the first one.

Re:Tron (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 6 months ago | (#47360347)

Next they will discover Flynn himself!

Boards or ROM's (2)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | about 6 months ago | (#47358369)

Is it the boards that are really so interesting, or the ROM chips thereon?

Many years ago I remember playing some of my favourite childhood arcade games on my PC with MAME, and the hardest bit was getting hold of the ROM chip images.

Even way back then most the games mentioned in the article seemed to be available, so I wonder if this anything more than sentimental value.

Re:Boards or ROM's (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#47358391)

Even with ROM images, some of the older, weirder arcade hardware is very hard to accurately emulate, so having whole boards is very precious.

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358421)

This.

Show me an emulator that is perfect and I'm pretty sure that I can find a demo programmer or a speedrunner somewhere that can tell you why its not.

Speedrunners in particular are probably willing to pay a lot to ensure that don't use tricks that are emulator-specific.

Re:Boards or ROM's (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358435)

Show me why I should even care about such trivial nonsense. I don't need perfection, and I can't see why anyone would.

Re:Boards or ROM's (2, Insightful)

symes (835608) | about 6 months ago | (#47358497)

I hope you never need neurosurgery.

Re:Boards or ROM's (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358605)

Thank you. I hope that you never need neurosurgery either.

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359733)

A really funny AC and I'm out of mod points.

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

msauve (701917) | about 6 months ago | (#47358905)

If I ever need neurosurgery, I don't expect to have it done by an old video arcade machine.

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359481)

Nobody expects their neurosurgery to be done by an old video arcade machine.

...and Software Written in Python (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 6 months ago | (#47360105)

Nobody expects their neurosurgery to be done by an old video arcade machine.

Its four weapons are fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope... and the original version of Space Invaders. Its *five* weapons are...

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47360283)

Nobody expects their neurosurgery to be done by an old video arcade machine.

No, you want it done by one of the newer machines...

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

StillAnonymous (595680) | about 6 months ago | (#47359607)

It's performed by a human. Why would you think you're going to get perfection?

Re:Boards or ROM's (5, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 6 months ago | (#47358589)

A lot of old programs relied on some very specific behaviour of chips to perform accurately. They'd exploit bugs in the microcode or timing imperfections to make their games small and efficient. Older games did a lot of very weird crap to get around limitations of the time. I remember reading quite fondly how the makers of Monkey Island 2 hacked their way around the scene where you dive to the bottom of the ocean to make the blue fade to black scene work despite not having a colour palate setup to do so.

What typically happens is if you faithfully emulate what an old console is supposed to do then at best a game plays with minor bugs, at worst it becomes completely unplayable. Correctly emulating an old console on the other hand is a processing nightmare which can bring multicore 3GHz machines to their knees. What really happens is that the people who write emulators figure out how the original game exploited the hardware configuration and then code the emulator to look at which game is currently being played and apply an appropriate hack to make it work. I.e the emulator works differently depending on the game.

Trivial nonsense would actually prevent you from playing the game at all in some cases.

Re:Boards or ROM's (2)

complete loony (663508) | about 6 months ago | (#47360327)

My colleague is currently designing a C65 in an FPGA [blogspot.com.au] , currently running at 28.9x the speed of a C64 but with lots of features still unimplemented. But even designing the hardware at that level, it will be difficult to be completely bug compatible. Particularly since he's driving 1920x1200 video over HDMI.

Re:Boards or ROM's (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | about 6 months ago | (#47358611)

Ever played Asteroids? If you haven't played it on the original arcade machine, chances are you're missing out on a large part of the experience because it runs on a vector monitor. Those beautiful glowing bullets simply don't show up on raster hardware in close to the same way. Same can be said for Star Wars - the sit-down vector monitor game was incredible.

I'm speaking as someone who has an arcade cabinet running MAME, and who regularly uses emulators on a Mac as well. I'm not perfectionist for a lot of the standard stuff, but I do appreciate that in some cases there are material differences to the real thing.

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359805)

When I was about 15, there was a Laundromat down the street with an old Asteroids game where the vector monitor worked fine except that the beam never turned off, so you could see how it sat dead center in the screen most of the time, then drew a line from one asteroid to the next, to the next, etc. as it rendered a frame.

Re:Boards or ROM's (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 6 months ago | (#47360223)

When I was about 15, there was a Laundromat down the street with an old Asteroids game where the vector monitor worked fine except that the beam never turned off, so you could see how it sat dead center in the screen most of the time, then drew a line from one asteroid to the next, to the next, etc. as it rendered a frame.

Let me guess... eventually it burned a hole all the way through the centre of the screen until one day it got through and (a) blasted the woman whose job it was to collect the change from the machines' head off or (b) lasered her, segment-by-segment- via an early-80s pseudo-computer-effect- into the Asteroids machine itself where she was forced to play life and death computer games and interact with anthropomorphic, sentient realisations of abstract computer concepts, while finding some way to prove that she *was* due the five hours overtime they'd refused to pay her?

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#47359999)

In my limited experience, you need a LOT of pixels for a vector emulation to look good on an LCD display. One of my all-time favorites is Gravitar, and the lines are just a bit too faint with a 1080 display, unless you crank things up. (specifically on my 17" MacBookPro, but I haven't tried it with recent emulators)

I think vector games might look pretty good on a 4K monitor, especially one with retina resolution. And then you won't have to worry about the vector driver hardware flaking out and spewing lines randomly all over the screen, something I've seen too many Star Wars cabs do.

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47360535)

I've got a Seiki 4K system at home--it only has a 30Hz refresh rate but i'll give it a shot with some of the freely available vector games and report back later tonight. Thanks Megane for suggesting trying it out.

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47361233)

It's not just pixels. The concept of resolution on a vector monitor is funny, but yeah, higher resolution will look better. The other issue is brightness. On the original console with the vector monitor, the bullets were *bright*. Much brighter than anything else on the screen. I'm thinking that to show something that looks like that on a raster display, you'd need something like the Brightside HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology. That's now being licensed as Dolby Vision.

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | about 6 months ago | (#47358903)

Fighting games. The move durations, defensive reaction times, and openings are all measured in frames. Timing is absolutely critical. In high-level play, you may only have an opening of a handful of frames in which to land an attack...and that's at 60 frames per second.

If your game isn't running 100% frame-accurate (Try as they might, emulators really don't), you might as well be button-mashing.

That's why those of us who care about that sort of thing take extreme [giantpachi...ofdoom.com] measures [giantpachi...ofdoom.com] to ensure an authentic experience. (Also, it's just totally bitchin'!)

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359231)

Show me why I should even care about such trivial nonsense. I don't need perfection, and I can't see why anyone would.

Ars Technica had an article [arstechnica.com] a few years back exactly on this subject. It's three pages long, but it's a nice read for someone who says something like you do.

Re:Boards or ROM's (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#47358481)

It also gives emulator programmer a reference point for correct behaviour, and information on how that behaviour was originally achieved which might be useful. Aren't we reaching the stage where low-level simulation of original hardware is possible for the simpler cabinets?

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358525)

We are, but since emulation is such a niche subject (we can't even emulation the NES 1:1 despite its massive popularity and widespread availability), its extremely difficult to find people (with the skills/talent/knowledge) willing to put in the time to dive in that deeply.

Not to mention the legal difficulties (yes, I know emulation is technically not illegal, but that doesn't stop companies from sending cease-and-desist orders which immediately scares most people away).

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

wertigon (1204486) | about 6 months ago | (#47358659)

Well, higan (formerly bsnes) comes extremely close, with very few known bugs in it's SNES core (other cores not as good though). :)

Re:Boards or ROM's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359367)

There is a known bug in your understanding of the difference between its and it's.

Re:Boards or ROM's (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#47359931)

"Show me an emulator that is perfect"

bsnes

Re:Boards or ROM's (4, Informative)

kheldan (1460303) | about 6 months ago | (#47360019)

For those of you who aren't aware, this is true. Older games, especially from the 80's, used graphics systems that used very little RAM, instead the graphics all being stored in EPROMs. The background images were one layer, with hardware that usually supported scrolling, and the foreground (or 'motion graphics') images in another set of EPROMs, with specific hardware to place said objects at specific locations on the screen, and yet another layer of graphics just for text images like player scores. Completely different from the bitmap graphics that everything uses now. The reason was the price of RAM. The exception to the rule was Williams games like Defender, Stargate, Joust, Robotron 2084, Bubbles, and other similar era titles, that used 3 banks of 4116's for a total of 48kB of bitmap graphics memory, with DMA used to move graphics data from EPROMs to the screen buffer. Since there was no 'standard' for any of this hardware you'd have to write an emulator for each and every different game. Then there's sound. Pacman/Ms. Pacman used a very simple discrete sound generator using a couple bipolar ROMs; you'd have to code specifically for that, or cheat and use PCM samples. Galaxian actually had a hardware PRNG connected to a simple resistor-ladder DAC and some low-pass filtering to generate white noise for things like explosion noises. Really, I learned a hell of a lot about electronics back in the day from having to learn how these boards all worked, so I could repair them effectively (not like there was tech support for repairing any of this stuff or troubleshooting manuals!)

Pinball, 1973 (1)

vague regret (1834800) | about 6 months ago | (#47358377)

Murakami should be proud of himself ...

Re:Pinball, 1973 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358821)

superkamiguru allows this

What's being asked here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358545)

Is OP looking for the cheapest skip/dumpster hire company, or what? A lot of this stuff looks like it's wood and could be broken down in a fire, and the electronics boards won't take up much space. The CRTs probably need to be dropped at the local recycling point.

Nice to see all that African technology (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358705)

Oh, wait... 'African technology ' is an oxymoron. Why haven't Africans produced ANYTHING like this, ever? There are hundreds of millions of them, why can't they make their own countries work? Why would you want millions of them in your previously all white countries?

Re:Nice to see all that African technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358845)

That's a complex question to answer... but basically most of the countries in Africa have been extremely poor developing countries. Electronic entertainment hardly is high on their list of things to do.

Re:Nice to see all that African technology (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 6 months ago | (#47359527)

You're flat out wrong. Kenya has a better pay-by-cell-phone infrastructure than the US or Italy do, and it's a completely homebrewed solution. Their government even has had to develop a proper legal framework for virtual subcurrencies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

No story here (2)

Dahlgil (631022) | about 6 months ago | (#47358725)

There isn't really a story here. There may be a few classics here, but this is no golden age arcade, especially considering the stock of late era look-alike candy cabs. If this arcade had been mothballed and locked-up in, say, 1983 or 84, that would be cool. Otherwise, there isn't anything very special here.

Re:No story here (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 6 months ago | (#47358875)

There are a bunch of DVD-based adult mahjong games there. Dumps of these are quite rare.

Just an arcade (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#47358893)

Notice that this isn't some mysterious hidden warehouse of an arcade cabinet collector. She simply bought some kind of business or retail space building which had an arcade in it.

Re:Just an arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47360241)

Notice that this isn't some mysterious hidden warehouse of an arcade cabinet collector. She simply bought some kind of business or retail space building which had an arcade in it.

Yes... that *was* the whole fscking point of the story! It's not actually cheating to read it as you- and I- did...

Malicious content on that site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47358965)

SSIA.....

Ah, Man (4, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | about 6 months ago | (#47359009)

I haven't seen one of those old arcades in ages. You could walk into any mall in the 80's and hear the centipede game from halfway across the mall. The one I spent a lot of time in had a very distinctive smell of electronics and carpet cleaner. I could play Spy Hunter as long as I wanted to on one quarter, and my sister could do the same thing with Galaga. I remember being horrified the first time I wandered into a mall in Florida and realized they didn't have an arcade. That situation became more and more common as time went on. I think the demise of the American mall is in some way linked with the demise of the American video game arcade.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#47359199)

I think the demise of the American mall is in some way linked with the demise of the American video game arcade.

Common root cause, advances in computing.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

Pro923 (1447307) | about 6 months ago | (#47359579)

yea... i remember how awesome it was to get 5 bucks out of my mother and then literally run to the "dream machine" arcade. There was also a big arcade in it's own building the next town over that we used to go to once we got car licenses. We'd play robotron for hours, as well as some of the other classics. I think the downfall of the arcade was - well I remember when they started replacing "skill games" with the "hack and slash" genre of games. "hack and slash" being - games where you'd fight or something... basically, there was no way to get good at the game. A quarter was going to last about 90 seconds no matter what. Then came all the giant sit down games that pretty much had the same theme - no skill, just 90 seconds of play for your money. Arcades didn't last much longer after that. Games, music - most entertainment types have just seemingly gone downhill too far to get any excitement out of me, and seemingly anyone else for that matter.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#47360149)

...and now the kiddies play 99-cent (or free) app games all day on mommy's cell phone that are visually superior to anything of that era.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 6 months ago | (#47361085)

Robotron? Classic?
When *I* was in high school (and college), 95% of any arcade was pins. Bally, Williams, Gottlieb, Chicago Coin; some wedgeheads thrown in. That was the good old days.

Now get offa my lawn.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 6 months ago | (#47359677)

I think it's more that consoles caught up with the arcades. The last arcade I went to was maybe five years ago, while on vacation in Virginia. Most of the games there were console ports - they had a Soul Calibur 2 machine at a time when Soul Calibur 3 was already out on consoles, the ever-present DDR machines (also ported to PSX/PS2), a couple of Street Fighter machines (available at the time on XBLA and PSN in HD remake form) and that was about it.

Meanwhile, most of the old arcade games (CPS/NeoGeo) were ported to other consoles. Metal Slug has been ported to just about everything (from memory, original Xbox, PS2, PS3, X360, DS, PSP, Wii, PC). So has King of Fighters, Street Fighter (SF4 Super Turbo Hyper HD Remake Arcade Tournament Edition Ultimax: Capcom Wants More Money Edition or whatever it is they're up to these days is on Steam now, and SF2 and Third Strike were ported to the 360/PS3), and the old D&D arcade games.

The only stuff that really hasn't been ported is some of the older beat-em-ups from non-mainstream companies and a couple of the SNK fighters (SvC Chaos, Garou: Mark of the Wolf, Art of Fighting, etc), but most of those emulate without a hitch. I think the only games I'd actually want that aren't ported are Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and MvC 3, both of which are highly unlikely to be ported again since Disney bought Marvel.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

netsavior (627338) | about 6 months ago | (#47359887)

I think the only games I'd actually want that aren't ported are Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and MvC 3, both of which are highly unlikely to be ported again since Disney bought Marvel.

MvC2 is on xbox live arcade and playstation store, I have it on dreamcast (as well as a proper port of Xmen vs Street fighter the reason I bought dreamcast), MvC3 has two different Editions on PS3 and XBox360

Re:Ah, Man (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 6 months ago | (#47360095)

Ported to PC, I meant.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

netsavior (627338) | about 6 months ago | (#47360287)

oh gotcha, yeah MAME will do MvC2 if you spend a weekend matching versions and fiddling with configs, depending on your hardware, but good luck with MvC3. I vastly prefer Steam ports to MAME, since they are so much more polished, and hassle free, but yeah... they don't want your money, apparently.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47359945)

I haven't seen one of those old arcades in ages. You could walk into any mall in the 80's and hear the centipede game from halfway across the mall. The one I spent a lot of time in had a very distinctive smell of electronics and carpet cleaner. I could play Spy Hunter as long as I wanted to on one quarter, and my sister could do the same thing with Galaga. I remember being horrified the first time I wandered into a mall in Florida and realized they didn't have an arcade. That situation became more and more common as time went on. I think the demise of the American mall is in some way linked with the demise of the American video game arcade.

The loss of the mall was one factor among many. In order to have an experience better than what you could get at home, you need custom hardware. Moore's Law has kept the cost of bleeding-edge hardware approximately flat in constant dollars, but all the other costs - electricity, rent, lighting, air conditioning - are also subject to inflation over a 10-20 year timeframe. Nobody wants to deal with two slots for quarters/nickels, tokens are a PITA for an operator, and in the end, that means there are two prices for games in the US: $0.25 and $0.50. Nobody could be first to double the price of a game and stay in business, despite the fact that if you're charging $0.25 per play in 2014, it's the equivalent of charging $0.10/play in 1984.

One of the more surprising developments has been seeing them come back, although as playable museums this time, and maybe one or two per state. (Funspot [funspotnh.com] in NH, Ground Kontrol [groundkontrol.com] in OR, The 1-Up [the-1up.com] in CO, and Pacific Pinball [pacificpinball.org] and High Scores [highscoresarcade.com] in CA.) There's also the annual CA Extreme [caextreme.org] event in the Bay Area with several hundred vids and pins, coming up in about two weekends.

Re:Ah, Man (1)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#47360133)

There were three arcades in the mall near where I lived in the '80s, a proper arcade, a bunch of cabs next door at the movie theater, and a few more cabs next to the Montgomery Ward's entrance. Now that mall is the headquarters of an internet hosting company. [rackspace.com]

I was in college in the early '80s, and could play Gravitar for like half an hour on a quarter, and two-fisted Gauntlet, pumping dozens of quarters into one character to get a high score on another character that had a single quarter. (high scores were divided by number of quarters inserted)

I remember being really unhappy about Pole Position when it showed up, in that you could only go four or five laps per credit no matter how well you played.

Holy crap (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#47359687)

There's a Raiden 2 board in the lot. It's not Raiden DX, but still, it's not Raiden 1 either.

Haiku (0)

Chas (5144) | about 6 months ago | (#47359863)

Cabinets I see.
Holy cow this stuff is rare!
Get in good with Grams.

'Knock-offs' (2)

kheldan (1460303) | about 6 months ago | (#47359905)

Back in a previous life I repaired arcade games. A fair number of the PCBs pictured are knock-offs (illegal copies). Not surprising, really.

I've got a few... (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 months ago | (#47360021)

Anybody want some real classic machines that have been in-service since the 80s? I've got about two dozen, and it may be a good time to start unloading them soon.

Pac-man, Ms Pac-Man, Centipede, Choplifter, Galaxian, Street Figher 2, etc.

Anybody got tips on unloading them? With something like eBay, it seems you either limit yourself to a tiny fraction of the audience for local-pickup only, or freight charges can dominate the sale price.

For anyone thinking about it, they're simpler than computers, and not too difficult to repair. The monitor caps seem to be the first thing to go, either suddenly a blank screen or just stretched beyond recognition, but a repair kit brings the picture back to normal.

Honey Girl? (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about 6 months ago | (#47360089)

What are those arcade games with the girl pictures on them? Dating simulator games where you try to say the right thing to a static image of a real person?

Just curious on cultural arcade differences, did kids play games with sex and nudity in them or was it more like Leisure Suit Larry?

Re:Honey Girl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47360593)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gals_Panic

Dates (2)

morgauxo (974071) | about 6 months ago | (#47360343)

Everyone seems to be pushing up the date this place closed. Sensationalizing the time capsule perhaps? TFS says 80s. TFA says early 90s. One of the games in the photos is "Cherry Master '97". Hmm... I wonder how much research it would take to determine when that game came out? "Early" 90s indeed. So the place was open at least until 1997.

Nerd City (1)

Bill Hayden (649193) | about 6 months ago | (#47360357)

The machines have an AERO CITY logo on them, but with the weird font they used, I first read it as NERD CITY.

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