Arcade Games: The ‘Golden Age’ Of Gaming

If you think back to some of your fondest memories growing up, it’s likely that some may involve good ol’ fashioned arcade games. The golden age of arcade games were the 70s to 80s with a brief resurgence in the 90s. However nowadays, arcade games hold an air of retro and ‘vintage’ with many people purchasing the arcade machines as feature pieces or even as instalments. A remnant of the past, many consider arcade games a fossil in the industry. 

Here are some classic arcade games that you might remember growing up: 

Pac-Man: An absolute classic, one of the most popular arcade games was the incredibly simple Pac-Man. In fact a common theme amongst all the games in this list is the simplicity in both design and gameplay. Arcade games were never meant to be as complex as console games as they were often dotted around public spaces and arcade spots, therefore meaning people couldn’t spend hours playing the game (even though many did). Pac-Man not only made an impact in arcade gaming, but it is still a figure head in modern day pop culture. The premise was easy to get a grip of and the game was addictive as you would played over and over again to beat the levels. Pac-Man also featured smart AI ghost like enemies that were each programmed for different purposes; one simply chases the player, two attempt to attack Pac-Man from the front, while the fourth will chase and then abruptly change course. 

Space Invaders: Developed in 1978, Space Invaders was a pioneering arcade game that led way to modern shooting style games. The game featured the player as a spaceships with multiple shootable enemies above that needed to be destroyed. The success of Space Invaders was overwhelming and it marked the beginning of the true golden age of arcade video games.  The inspiration for Space Invaders was drawn from sci-fi classics such as The War of The Worlds and Star Wars and other arcade games such as Breakout. 

Donkey Kong: A classic Nintendo game released in 1981, Donkey Kong was an early example of the platform game genre, where a main character travels over several platforms overcoming obstacles and defeating bosses (imagine Mario). The main character was a giant ape called Donkey Kong and a damsel in distress names Pauline. The damsel in distress trope became very popular in video games, even now in the modern era with characters such as Princess Zelda from the Legend of Zelda, or Princess Peach from Super Mario. The game was incredibly popular with units flying off the shelves, earning Nintendo $180 million by June of 1982 and remained Nintendo’s top seller until the summer of 1983. 

Street Fighter II: A later addition to the arcade game fleet was Street Fighter II, released in 1991, after its predecessor in 1987. Once again, another pioneering arcade game that influenced hundreds of games to come, especially in the realm of competitive fighting. Widely considered to be one of the greatest video games ever created, Street Fighter II features many concepts that are still present in modern day games such as command-based special moves, a 6 button configuration, multiple unique playable characters as well as competitive multiplayer combat between two players. 

The world of gaming has taken enormous leaps over the years, introducing new technologies and concepts. It continues to give users experiences that they could once only dream of. The days of paying a few pennies to experience a game like Pac-Man aren't necessarily long gone, however they are becoming less popular with the exception of a day out with your friends at the arcade. We have gone from arcade games to multiplayer modes and now competing online against millions of gamers around the world.  

Various online gaming platforms such as PlayStation Network and Xbox online have given gamers the opportunity to not only compete against each other at various games but to also connect socially. There are chat rooms where users can communicate in instant messaging, as well as share trophies. PlayStation Network also have a PlayStation store available for their users to purchase games, demos and accessories. This essentially gives gamers no need to leave their homes, due to everything they need being available on the network. We no longer have to go to a friend’s house to play games because there are headsets available for us to communicate whilst we play online.

So as you can see, the world of gaming has shifted over the last few decades from bulky arcade machines to online digital multiplayer networks accessible worldwide.