Supple Think: Coin-op@home: My flawed logic

Coin-op@home: My flawed logic

by alzabo

Posted on Monday, August 27, 2007
Labels: , , ,

When I was younger I had an almost infinite amount of free time, I spent absurd amounts of free time playing RPGs in High School. While I do look back fondly on playing long involved console games, I no longer have the free time or patience necessary to fully enjoy them. I discovered this once I graduated from High School and entered college, I still had a strong desire to play games but found it very difficult to enjoy most console games. This was the because of several factors:

Console games are generally getting more complicated. Resulting not in thick instruction manual, but instead spawning internal game training tutorials that ease you into the game. Tutorials are fine, but when you have to walk away from a game for weeks at a time to focus on school or work the important nuances of a game’s controls can slip your mind, making further progress frustrating or even impossible. Without experiencing the tutorial and the gradual increase in difficulty over many hours the prospect of resuming play of an abandoned quest can be extremely daunting, most console RPG enthusiasts have experienced this . . . “Where was I going, what skills was I trying to level, who has X piece of equipment?”

Second, the price of console games. While I appreciate the price point console games are sold at, it presents a problem for many adult gamers. Children and teens can afford them, but generally cannot afford every game they desire. By and large, they play one game at a time because that is all they can afford. Adults on the other hand can usually afford every game that catches their eye, often resulting in a large stack of unfinished and even still shrink-wrapped games. I am guilty of this, I have a large collection of games that I desperately want to play yet never got around to.

Third, a lack of large blocks of time necessary to properly play console games. While many children and people can single mindedly dedicate themselves to games, I can’t let my real world obligations slide. The fact that console games dole out the “fun” in small chunks all throughout the game makes them feel intolerably long. While I do have “free time” I like to divide it between other activities as well; friends, family & beer come to mind immediately.

After being pushed away from console games, I gradually came to understand and enjoy arcade games in a new light. They are the antithesis of everything I dislike about console games:

Arcade games are simple to play yet hard to master. Their controls are usually limited to a 8-way joystick and one to six buttons. The cab itself usually has play instructions described in pictograms or a simple instruction demo that pops up before the game starts.

Arcade games are inexpensive to play in the arcade, but generally expensive to own at home. This relegates most sane adults who choose to collect them to a childlike position, they can only afford to own those they truly enjoy.

Arcade games rarely demand more than 30 minutes of time. While they can be beat in 30 minutes on free play, a real enthusiast will attempt to beat them on one credit, ensuring good value for money via replay. They are designed to be as fun as possible from the moment you drop your coin in the slot to the second your last life ends.

"NAOMI: the gordian knot of non-standard JAMMA PCBs."

The whole situation is comically ironic to me. As a child, I would save my pocket money for months and months, avoiding arcades at times in order to buy a console game. I would insist to myself that I’d get more fun out of the console game. Now I find myself saving my money, avoiding buying console games to purchase arcade PCBs. I firmly believe that I’ll have more fun replaying game designed to be as enjoyable as possible for the entire duration of play, no matter how short it is.

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