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Wasted Seconds Wasting your precious time since 2009.

23Apr/090

Gaming of yesterday.

I'm not one to talk too much on this being that I'm only 27 years old. My arcade experience was very limited when I was younger. I do remember playing games like Outrun when I was 7 and 8 years old, and Pac-Man, Asteroids, Q-Bert and whatnot. Later on, I got heavily into fighting games like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat. And Killer Instinct of course. But I was never in the position to just head up to an arcade just for the hell of it because there weren't any within walking or biking distance of where I live. The closest I had was a Pizza Hut up town that had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. Me and my friends would constantly ride our bikes up there just to shove quarters into the thing and play for what seemed like forever.

That's back when I actually really cared about multiplayer gaming. Nowadays, for example, yeah I have an Xbox Live Gold account, but you'll rarely, IF EVER see me playing anything on it because it's just not the same. That, and I could really care less about games like Gears of War or Call of Duty. Hell, I haven't even bought Bomberman because I rarely ever last more than about 2 minutes in that game before I start getting frustrated. Multiplayer gaming to me is standing there at an arcade machine and, for example, beating the crap out of foot ninjas in TMNT with 3 friends. Sure, you can do that on Xbox Live now, and I'm pretty sure it has 4 player local play too. It's just not the same. Especially given the fact that the Xbox 360 controller's directional pad is HORRIBLE for anything other than selecting a weapon in some cookie-cutter first person shooter. And don't bring up the Wii to me, because I don't have one. And don't particularly want one. I've played quite a few Wii games, and there are only a very select few that I'm interested in. And it's not worth shelling out all the money for the console for a few games. And if I wanna look like a jack ass playing a game, I don't need the stupid Wii remote helping me with that, I can look just as stupid playing on a real joystick or controller. Or keyboard and mouse (the ONLY way a first person shooter should be played mind you).

I do play some onlne games though. Quake Live (which is basically just Quake 3 Arena in a browser. Quite possibly the best shooter of it's type ever made), Legend of the Green Dragon on occasion. I still get on the occasional BBS via Telnet just to bring myself back to the old days and play games Like Usurper and Drug Wars, which those two are, in my humble opinion superior in every conceivable way to Grand Theft Auto. And no, I don't waste my time with World of Warcraft. Tried it, didn't like it. Although I have played and enjoyed Anarchy Online.

But I'm going off track here. There's no other experience as a gamer than walking into an arcade with the low lighting and seeing machines standing around everywhere of every type of game in attract mode, pumping some quarters into it and playing. Sure, you can sit there in front of your high definition TV and play re-releases of games like Outrun, Golden Axe, Final Fight, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, etc etc. But it doesn't have the same magic as being in front of a machine and having that joystick in your hand. I want to either build or purchase a MAME cabinet one of these days just so I can have some of that experience back.

For some reason, I can see, for example, Pac-Man as a flash game or something on the computer, or even emulated with MAME, and compare the two : sitting there in front of your computer playing these games with the keyboard or a controller, or in my case in front of the Acer Aspire One with it's 8.9” screen. Or standing there at an arcade with the sounds of all the other games surrounding you, with the artwork or the cabinet and the flick of the joystick. Sure, you can get joysticks for the PC and whatever console you own. I own arcade sticks for the SNES, Genesis and the original Nintendo. Me personally, I'll pick standing in front of the arcade unit. I'll pick sitting down in the driver's seat of games like Outrun, Crazy Taxi and Power Drift. Or holding the gun in games like Lethal Enforcers and Terminator 2 : Judgement Day. And having the dual joysticks for Robotron is a feeling like no other.

If you have an arcade anywhere within driving distance, I highly suggest you go to it with some friends and play something like TMNT, The Simpsons, X-Men or any of the Capcom CPS1 games like Final Fight or The Punisher. You'll have the time of your life. And it's not just fighing related games, there's games like Battlezone, Galaxy Force, Hard Drivin' (just ignore what you may or may not know about the horrible Genesis port of the game), Gauntlet. Star Wars, and I'm not talking about the more recent arcade game with the light saber battles and whatnot, I'm talking the old vector graphics version of the game. And if you don't know what vector graphics are, I'm sure you've seen them before. Geometry Wars has very elaborate vector graphics. And while I'm on the subject of vector graphics, there's Asteroids. And who could pass up Space Invaders after hearing the low sound of the aliens descending upon your ship while you're desperately trying to blow them all away.

And most of the time in an arcade, you'll find something that predates those video arcade machines that has been around in the form we known them now since probably World War 2. Pinball. As much as I love efforts like making PC and console based pinball games, and especially Future Pinball and Visual Pinball which very elaborately depicts the tables all of us has played at one point or another. Nothing beats standing in front of a physical table, launching off that ball and having your hands at the side of the machine controlling the flippers. Hearing all of the sounds of the old style tables with the DING DING DING DING and the impressive features of the newer tables with audio and video. There's a thing that comes around here about once a year where they completely fill the local civic center with all sorts of pinball tables and arcade games. And the last I knew it was about 10 bucks to get in and everything was set on free play. If you have something like that coming around your area, I highly suggest going. It's worth every penny.

Sure, have fun with playing your damned Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and on a lesser extent, the PS3. I still prefer the real thing. A lot of the games out nowadays are more about experiencing a cinematic movie or sorts. They aren't really games anymore. Personally, give me a game like Contra over Call of Duty. Give me a high scores list with my initials on an arcade screen over achievement points. Yeah, all of that is still around on consoles today with online leaderboards. But there's just no soul to it anymore. There's no sense of accomplishment anymore.

I still love my consoles, and I play my 360 and PS2 all the time. But when I want a real gaming experience, I just hit up an arcade. If I can't, then I drag out my Genesis or my NES and play the greats like they're MEANT to be played.

I'm not going to delve into emulation any more than I already have, I'll save that for some other time. :)

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