32 Facts About Arcade games


Broadly, arcade games are nearly always considered games of skill, with only some elements of games of chance.

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Arcade video games were first introduced in the early 1970s, with Pong as the first commercially successful game.

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Coin-op carnival Arcade games are automated versions or variations of popular staffed Arcade games held at carnival midways.

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Electro-mechanical Arcade games operate on a combination of some electronic circuitry and mechanical actions from the player to move items contained within the game's cabinet.

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Some of these were early light gun Arcade games using light-sensitive sensors on targets to register hits.

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EM Arcade games typically combined mechanical engineering technology with various electrical components, such as motors, switches, resistors, solenoids, relays, bells, buzzers and electric lights.

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Merchandiser games are those where the player attempts to win a prize by performing some physical action with the arcade machine, such as claw crane games or coin pusher games.

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Pinball machines are Arcade games that have a large, enclosed, slanted table with a number of scoring features on its surface.

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Early pinball Arcade games were mostly driven through mechanical components, while pinball Arcade games from the 1930s onward include electronic components such as lights and sensors and are one form of an electro-mechanical game.

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Sport games are indoor or miniaturized versions of popular physical sports that can be played within an arcade setting often with a reduced ruleset.

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General category of arcade games are those played for tickets that can be redeemed for prizes.

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Medal Arcade games are design to simulate a gambling-like experience without running afoul of Japan's strict laws against gambling.

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Arcade games have generally struggled to avoid being labelled wholly as games of chance or luck, which would qualify them as gambling and require them to be strictly regulated in most government jurisdictions.

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One popular style were pin-based Arcade games which were based on the 19th century game of bagatelle.

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One of the first such pin-based Arcade games was Baffle Ball, a precursor to the pinball machine where players were given a limited number of balled to knock down targets with only a plunger.

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The popularity of these Arcade games was aided by the impact of the Great Depression of the 1930s, as they provided inexpensive entertainment.

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The London-based Automatic Sports Company manufactured abstract sports Arcade games based on British sports, including Yacht Racer based on yacht racing, and The Cricket Match (1903) which simulated a portion of a cricket game by having the player hit a pitch into one of various holes.

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Mechanical gun Arcade games had existed in England since the turn of the 20th century.

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Cinematic shooting gallery Arcade games enjoyed short-lived popularity in several parts of Britain during the 1910s, and often had safari animals as targets, with footage recorded from British imperial colonies.

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Mechanical maze games appeared in penny arcades by the mid-20th century; they only allowed the player to manipulate the entire maze, unlike later maze video games which allowed the player to manipulate individual elements within a maze.

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Beyond this, pinball machines drew the younger generation to the Arcade games, making morally-concerned elders across the generation gap fear what the youth were doing and considering the machines "tools of the devil", furthering these bans.

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Some early electro-mechanical Arcade games were designed not for commercial purposes but to demonstrate the state of technology at public expositions, such as Nimatron in 1940 or Bertie the Brain in 1950.

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These games overlapped with the introduction of arcade video games, and in some cases, were prototypical of the experiences that arcade video games offered.

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Arcades had previously been dominated by jukeboxes, before a new wave of EM arcade games emerged that were able to generate significant earnings for arcade operators.

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Periscope revived the novelty game business, and established a "realistic" or "audio-visual" category of Arcade games, using advanced special effects to provide a simulation experience.

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These "audio-visual" games were selling in large quantities that had not been approached by most arcade machines in years.

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In Japan, EM Arcade games remained more popular than video Arcade games up until the late 1970s.

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EM games eventually declined following the arrival of Space Invaders and the golden age of arcade video games in the late 1970s.

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Several EM games that appeared in the 1970s have remained popular in arcades through to the present day, notably air hockey, whac-a-mole and medal games.

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Medal Arcade games started becoming popular with Sega's Harness Racing, Nintendo's EVR Race (1975) and Aruze's The Derby Vf (1975).

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Arcade video games declined in the Western world during the 2000s, with most arcades serving highly specialized experiences that cannot be replicated in the home, including lines of pinball and other arcade games, coupled with other entertainment options such as restaurants or bars.

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Arcade games had remained popular in Asian regions until around the late 2010s as popularity began to wane; when once there were around 26, 000 arcades in Japan in 1986, there were only about 4, 000 in 2019.

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