Arcade games are typically coin-operated games found in restaurants, pubs, video arcades, and other public spaces. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines or redemption (rewarding the player per their score) games. These machines are programmed and equipped for a specific game, and consist of a video display, a set of controls (joystick, buttons, light guns or pressure-sensitive pads on the ground), and the coin slot.
Arcade games usually have very short levels, simple controllers, iconic characters, and increasing levels of complexity. They are designed as short adrenaline-driven thrillers compared to most console games, which have more complex play and stronger storylines. One reason for this is that since the game is coin-operated, the player rents the game for as long as their game avatar survives on the field. Any game on a console or a PC can be referred to as ‘arcade game’ if it has these attributes.
The history of arcade games dates back to the early 20th century amusement park games like shooting galleries, mechanical fortune-tellers or jukeboxes.
Today, there are 4,926 known arcade games, and these modern avatars are based on pure electronics and integrated circuits. The modern arcade games were developed in the 1970s, and one of the most famous of these early games is Pong, a simple game simulating Ping Pong.
Ralph Baer, who is now known as the creator of video games, created the first known home video game consoles in the 1970s. Improvements were brought to home consoles from late 1970s to early 1980s, the time during which Atari 2600, Intellivision and Colecovision were released. The video game slump of 1983 was not filled until the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) reached North America in 1985. This was when games like Mario Bros. and many others of today’s popular Nintendo games were launched.
The last two decades of gaming history have witnessed the creation of separate markets for games on video game consoles, home PCs and handheld devices.
The latest generation of arcade video games also has interactivity as part of the game design, making the game player feel more involved in the game. A radical form of interactivity, virtual reality, has not really taken off in the arcade game genre, but this is due to the technical limitations of truly being able to achieve real virtual reality by any means.
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