Sorry, but there isn’t really an arcade filled with zombies…well, maybe there actually is, but that’s more of a philosophical consideration you mull over after reading the rest of this article.
The real catalyst for this small tirade is my recent visit to a local Dave & Buster’s, which for those of you who may not know, is basically a massive half restaurant, half “arcade” entertainment destination for kids and adults. The focus of my rage is solely the “arcade” half, as I have no qualms about the restaurant side of the business.
I use the term “Zombie Arcade” because the “arcade” in Dave & Buster’s is little more than a vaguely recognizable corpse of what once was a living breathing diverse social video game experience.
While the standard arcade format filled with both classic and newer offerings still exists in some degree around the country, this form of social gaming gathering spot has basically died.
Perhaps its death was inevitable, due to innovations in the multiplayer capabilities, more immersive stories, and the superior graphics of home consoles.
I’ve always thought there is still a place for arcades, but perhaps that’s only a pipe dream held by retro gamers. There’s no money in Pacman, Q-bert, Gauntlet, or Tempest. I guess in a way I could deal with the death of the arcade if it stayed dead, but instead we now have a dead-eyed, pallid-fleshed monstrosity we are expected to believe is an arcade, but is so only in the crudest sense.
When I was at Dave & Buster’s I found myself dumbfounded by the single-mindedness of the games available to play. Besides a crap-ton of racing games, some basketball and skeeball stations, and a pair of air hockey tables, the majority of offerings fall into three categories: coin-drop games for tickets, the sort where the coins you drop push other coins off a ledge; the same age-old first-person shooters, as well as many new ones that are essentially re-skinned clones: and smartphone app games on large displays. That’s right folks, there really were several “stations” with smartphone games on wide screen TVs!
It’s sad that what is considered a mainstream arcade is little more than cabinet versions of console-styled first-person shooters, coin-drop games that require zero skill, and big-screened versions of apps people already have on their phone… I mean Fruit Ninja was actually a playable game!
I’d bet at least 75% of the people who played these “macro-apps” already had them installed on their phones.
Another thing that’s just atrocious was an updated version of Frogger. I thought, oh joy, I’d love to play Frogger. Well in this mutated version you push the one and only button on the panel and the frog just jumps forward at its own pace without any direction control from the “player”. You just stand and watch him land on various things to win a certain number of tickets…that’s it! What the hell? A dumbed down version of Frogger?
Oh, there was one classic cabinet. A Galaga/Space Invaders combo machine, but it was broken…
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