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"Golden age" of arcade games? #18709 08/11/04 03:02 AM
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Brian Kendig Offline OP
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I want to get some more opinions on a topic that's being debated over on Wikipedia:

(1) What time period would you say is the Golden Age of arcade games?

(2) Is it the "Golden Age of Arcade Games" or the "golden age of arcade games"?

The article is here and the discussion is here . I hold that the "golden age" is the early 80s, like 1980 through 1983. Others are saying that the "golden age" started with Space Invaders and continued through the 1990s until the PlayStation stole the spotlight. I want to get some more knowledgeable opinions on this.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18710 08/11/04 03:52 AM
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I'd have to say your timeframe is probably right on the money. While games like Space Invaders and Asteroids came out in the 70's, they were really more part of the overall buildup and an example of what the technology could do.

The crash officially happened in 1982. But to a kid who was totally engulfed by the scene back then, 1982 wasn't the end. It was more of the peak and it took a year or two for things to cool off. Considering that laser disc games and quite a few important classics weren't around in 1982, I'd stretch it easily to 1983 if not early '84. For my money the last real "classic arcade game" was Tetris, released in 1986. But I think it just prolonged the inevitable death which was already in progress.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18711 08/11/04 04:55 AM
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I'd say from Asteroids & Space Invaders to mid 1980s. Late 80s is when consoles began to take off. I think Pac Man was probably the pinnacle of the Golden Age in terms of popularity during that time.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18712 08/11/04 07:34 AM
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I agree with '80 - '83.

'79 is a bit of a stretch. Although if you consider some of the games that came out in '79: Asterioids, Lunar Lander, Rip Off, Galaxian, Star Fire, Tailgunner, I think you could make a case that the Golden Age of Arcade Games (or GAAG) might have begun mid-year, although it really wasn't in full swing until '80. However, games that were released in '80 were being developed in '79, so there was certainly enough upswing in arcade business to merit the sort of development effort that was going on.

I was already going to a pretty large arcade as early as '79, since I distinctly remember when Asteroids first showed up. But '80 is when it hit big everywhere, and arcades began popping up all over the place. That's when it went mainstream.

The crash happened in '83 (not '82). (Click here , then on '83, and scroll down to the "Fiscal Financials" section. Compare that with '82.) So that could be considered the end of it, even though the year started out well, since everybody was still swimming in money, and unveiling tons of new stuff at CES in January '83.

I'd like to include '84 just because of Marble Madness, Paperboy and the Nintendo VS. system. But arcades were firmly in the dumper by that point. Also, July of '84 is when Atari was destroyed by Jack Tramiel. So if there was any of the GAAG left in '84, it was gone by Summer.


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Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18713 08/11/04 08:03 PM
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Marchalis Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveD:
While games like Space Invaders and Asteroids came out in the 70's, they were really more part of the overall buildup and an example of what the technology could do.
I agree with this statement. Judging from the hits that came one after the other in '80 after the introduction of those in '79 such as Asteroids DeLuxe, Lunar Lander, etc. Electronic Games magazine labelled Pac Man as the most popular game -to paraphrase their words- of all time, cutting across gender as well as for other reasons that were probably justified *at the time*. While I don't fancy Pac Man and it's family, I think I do agree with EGM's opinion - the polls and reports across the Globe didn't lie.
To tie all this in with the original point, given the time Pac Man & Ms. Pac Man came out as well as other certified classics of the same period,(80, 81) I'd have to say that in my opinion, 1981 would have been the Golden Age of Video Games.

And Nathan is correct. While there were MAJOR shakeouts in '82, the *IMPACT* of these shakeouts occurred in '83. The industry served a few years in the wilderness before Nintendo spearheaded its resurrection circa '86 or so...

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18714 08/11/04 11:49 PM
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80-83 is what I thought before I even read your post, so I'm glad most agree. I'm not sure who said early 70's through mid 90's. There's no way you can count 84-85 as anything good pertaining to gaming. In fact, I'd say 84-85 was gaming's great depression.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18715 08/12/04 05:20 AM
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If you were to take the topic of "video games" (not just coin-op video games) I would say the golden age would be 1977-1983. Silver age would be when ever the NES came out until when ever it was when the SNES started having too many inane movie licenced platform games (I refer you to Beethoven\'s 2nd ). Anything before 1977 will be known as the dark ages.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18716 08/12/04 07:13 AM
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Nathan Strum Offline
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Actually, I prefer "bronze" age for the pre-1977 period. The dark ages happened in '84 - '86.

I think we're in the tin foil age now.


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Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18717 08/12/04 06:06 PM
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Marchalis Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nathan Strum:
Actually, I prefer "bronze" age for the pre-1977 period. The dark ages happened in '84 - '86.

I think we're in the tin foil age now.
HEAR! HEAR!

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18718 08/13/04 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nathan Strum:
I think we're in the tin foil age now.
word

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18719 08/13/04 03:57 AM
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Promo The Robot Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nathan Strum:
Actually, I prefer "bronze" age for the pre-1977 period. The dark ages happened in '84 - '86.
Agreed, although I might bump the end of the Dark Ages out later than 1986. What happened in (or around) 1986 that would mark the end of the Dark Ages? I was thinking maybe the (insufferably uninteresting wink ) upsurge of fighting games, but Street Fighter II didn't happen 'til 1991.

I know I was playing almost exclusively pinball games from the time I discovered them (about 1986) through Mortal Kombat 2 (1993).

PtR

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18720 08/13/04 04:18 AM
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Nathan Strum Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Promo The Robot:
Agreed, although I might bump the end of the Dark Ages out later than 1986. What happened in (or around) 1986 that would mark the end of the Dark Ages?
I guess I was thinking more of videogames in general regarding the dark ages, since the NES was introduced in the US in '86, and started to pull the console industry out of the toilet.

I still don't think that arcades ever emerged from the dark ages. Especially if you go visit any of them today. Maybe (maybe) when GameWorks started opening arcades there was a faint glimmer of life. I know fighting game fans disagree, but I ain't one of 'em. :p


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Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18721 08/13/04 06:29 AM
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Godozo Offline
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My Guestimation of ages for Arcade (Non-home) Video Games:

  1. Prehistory: Before Gunfighter
  2. Iron Age: Gunfighter - Space Invaders
  3. Bronze Age: Space Invaders - Mid 1979
  4. Golden Age: Mid 1979-83
  5. First Dark Age: 1983- Street Fighter (the original)
  6. Silver Age: Street Fighter - Mortal Combat 3/the umpteenth Street Fighter Lame Regurgitation
  7. Sunset Age: Until now.


With home video games and computers now ubiquitous and arcade games going more towards imitation and emulation of real world actions (the Dancing Series games is a specific example), I feel the arcade has become an anachronism. Everything creative is being done for the home market, the arcade will become more a place for those games which you can't play well in front of the TV.


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Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18722 08/13/04 07:51 AM
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Here's my take on the ages...

  1. Stone Age: 1971 - 1973
    Computer Space through the Pong-clone era.
  2. Bronze Age: 1974 - 1976
    Tank through the classic black & white game era.
  3. Iron Age (or maybe Space Age is more apropos): 1977 - 1979
    Space Wars, Space Invaders, Asteroids, and all of the other space games that rode the tide of the post Star Wars sci-fi renaissance.
  4. Golden Age: 1980 - 1983
    Pac-Man through the crash.
  5. Dark Ages: 1984 - 1987
    The crash through Street Fighter.
  6. Silver Age: 1988 - 1993
    The heyday of fighting games (if you're into that sort of thing, if you're not, this is still the dark ages wink )
  7. Tin Foil Age: 1994 - present
    You ever chew on tin foil? 'Nuff said. :dead:


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Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18723 08/13/04 06:30 PM
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Marchalis Offline
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While I think the general spate of fighting games is a cheap cop out for good design and gameplay mixed with high-tech, there were a few that set the standard. Street Fighter - and these are all my opinions - was going good up to the Hyper Fighter and Mortal Kombat killed itself after MKII. Each sequel to Tekken surpasses the last and keeps the adrenalin flowing, although I'm still to get the hang of Tekken 4 (5?).

I think too that almost everywhere you turn, manufacturers crank out all sorts of fighting games in some effort to cash in or ride the wave that Capcom, Midway and Namco set in motion. This kinda thing is sure to stretch out the tin foil age longer than it ought to go.

Paper age, anyone?

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18724 08/14/04 01:33 AM
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Nathan Strum Offline
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Copycat game design is hardly a new thing anyway. Pong was copied endlessly, as were Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and any other game that defined a particular genre.

What frustrates me, is that there's so few types of games now. In the early 80's, there were always new and different games to try out in the arcades. It was hard to get bored. Now it's either fighting games or racing games in most arcades. Nobody's willing to go out on a limb and try something radically different.


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Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18725 08/14/04 01:52 AM
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Brian Kendig Offline OP
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I saw a radially different game. It's upstairs at DisneyQuest.

I forget the name, but it's made by Sega. It's a table, about 5 feet long by 2.5 feet wide, consisting of five tubes in a row. A player stands at either end and has one button for each tube - a red light goes back and forth along each tube, and the player has to hit that tube's button when the light is in range to bounce it back at the other player. Kind of like one-dimensional Pong. Only there's a deep thumping soundtrack playing at the same time, and if you hit the red light right on a downbeat, it 'spikes' it at high speed towards the other player. When you have all five tubes in play at once, it can be a difficult game.

'Difficult,' not 'fun.'

I was curious enough about the game that I took the time to figure it out. Everybody else seems to take a passing interest in it, punch a couple of buttons, fail to figure out what effect they have on what's going on, and walk away.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18726 08/14/04 04:31 AM
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There are different genres these days. It just really depends where you are in the country to find them.

Sound/Action - DDR, BeatMania, IIDX, DrumMania, MTV Drum Generator(or whatever that exceedingly loud game is), Pump It Up

Racing - Initial D, the Rush series, the Cruisin' series

Good, Old-fashioned Skill - Skeeball, etc....

Shooters(Gun) - Silent Scope, the myriad Midway rail shooters

Shooters - Gunbird 2, Guwange, a lot more I can't recall at the moment.

Interactive/Motion Capture - MoCap Boxing, Police 911, Mazar(swordfighting game)

Fighters - Tekken Series, Virtua Fighter Series, Soul Calibur II

There is still fun to be had at your local Arcade/Fun Center. You just have to look a little harder to find it.


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Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18727 08/14/04 01:08 PM
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Perhaps 'Steroids Age' for most of today's games would be more appropiate.

All flash & sizzle, no steak.
Huge, impressive 3D graphics and bitmaps, no real stamina.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18728 08/19/04 03:51 AM
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I just got back from the beach and the arcades on the board walk sucked. Nothing but shooters driving and dancing games. There was not a street fighter machine to be found. I cried.

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18729 08/19/04 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nathan Strum:
Here's my take on the ages...

  1. Stone Age: 1971 - 1973
    Computer Space through the Pong-clone era.
  2. Bronze Age: 1974 - 1976
    Tank through the classic black & white game era.
  3. Iron Age (or maybe Space Age is more apropos): 1977 - 1979
    Space Wars, Space Invaders, Asteroids, and all of the other space games that rode the tide of the post Star Wars sci-fi renaissance.
  4. Golden Age: 1980 - 1983
    Pac-Man through the crash.
  5. Dark Ages: 1984 - 1987
    The crash through Street Fighter.
  6. Silver Age: 1988 - 1993
    The heyday of fighting games (if you're into that sort of thing, if you're not, this is still the dark ages wink )
  7. Tin Foil Age: 1994 - present
    You ever chew on tin foil? 'Nuff said. :dead:

Perfect. I couldn't have worded it better.

Off the top of my head, I can only name five truly great games that emerged from "The Dark Ages:"

* Arkanoid
* Choplifter
* Marble Madness
* PaperBoy
* Super Mario Bros.

I remember when I first saw Marble Madness... the graphics were absolutely awe-inspiring.

I still haven't beat the thing yet...

Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18730 08/22/04 11:47 AM
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To me, the so-called Dark Ages were an incredible time for Sega arcade games.

Out Run: Mind-blowing grafx and intense to play
Space Harrier: Fun as Hell and very cool scaling
Super Hang-On: The best motorcycle game, period.

Perhaps these games were'nt financially successful, I dunno. Is that what we're really talking about here?


4096 colors? On-screen at once?!
Re: "Golden age" of arcade games? #18731 08/23/04 08:56 PM
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Godozo Offline
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I think we're talking about a combination of things:

  1. Inspiration. How many new games were coming out; coming out with new, different ways to play, and just plain playability. I happen to believe that the more "abstract" the game, the more interesting the play.
  2. Popularity. Not just of certain games or genres, but also of the arcades themselves. Not only does the "Golden Age" fit in well with this, but also the silver age with the development of the fighting games.
  3. Importance of the Arcade. As a teenager during the "Golden Age," I know for sure that the arcade was king then. Even during the Silver Age, all the good games first came out in the Arcade, then were ported to video systems.


Not that important, innovative or interesting games have not come out during the Dark Age, or even this Tinfoil Age (I prefer Sunset Age, but the board has spoken). However, I do believe that whatever happens now happens in the home console market, with the Arcade market being more for "games" requiring a more ... viseral response (drumming games, boxing games that require you do some actual punching, dancing games, etc.).


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