Many people believe that video game arcades are a thing of the past. When they first come to mind, images of dark, cavernous mall storefronts full of 1980s style and energy arise. Today, it seems, most video games are played at home, or alone on the train while staring at a phone or tablet.
However, believe it or not, video game arcades are making a comeback as we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century. Arcades are not a thing of the past, but instead, are the wave of the future.
Read on to learn more about the growth and development of video game arcades today, and to find out why more and more people will be spending lots of time in them in the very near future.
Why Video Game Arcades Almost Disappeared
At the peak of the popularity of video game arcades, there were around 13,000 of them operating in the United States alone in 1982. That number has been in decline ever since.
Although many of us look back fondly upon the hours we spent in video game arcades as children, as we got older and as technology advanced, they became less popular and almost disappeared entirely.
Competition between game console manufacturers resulted in lower prices that allowed almost anyone to own one or more systems for home use. The development of hand-held gaming consoles, and later, cell phones, only expanded opportunities for people to do their gaming on their own.
Furthermore, the traditional home of the video game arcade was the mall. As America’s shopping malls declined and disappeared, the arcades disappeared right along with them.
Why Video Game Arcades Are Back
Although the concept of the video game arcade lost momentum in recent decades in the United States, their numbers and popularity stayed strong in Japan all this time. People who wish to bring back video game arcades in our country are curious as to why this has been the case.
Upon inspection, a few reasons begin to emerge. First of all, although games have been popular in both countries since they began, in Japan, there has been a greater focus on the social aspect of video gaming all along. People enjoy playing with other people, and video game arcades make that easy to do at the end of a hard week at work.
Second, arcades in Japan have kept up with the times. Video games are always changing and are becoming more advanced. By staying on top of new video game trends and technology, Japanese arcades ensure that they will have repeat business not just for weeks or months but for years to come.
When American arcades embrace these factors, they too experience success.
Arcades for the 21st Century
Video game arcades are starting to pop up all over in the United States once again, and they are attracting a broad crowd. People of all ages and from all walks of life may find themselves in an arcade at some point in the next year.
One way that arcades are beginning to change to meet the needs of their customers is by providing a social atmosphere for game playing. Some arcades, like The 1Up in Denver, Barcade in Brooklyn, and Emporium in Chicago, offer a bar and food options for their patrons. Being able to drink a cold beer while playing Bubble Woods after work is certainly a treat.
Other arcades are embracing new technology and are drawing customers in with it. Everyone, no matter how old or young, will welcome an opportunity to try virtual reality, and arcades that offer these experiences will quickly become quite popular indeed.
The concept of the video game arcade is not dead. Instead, they are reinventing themselves and regaining their footing in an ever-changing world. If you hear of an arcade in your town, go check it out. It will likely be even better and more exciting than you remember. Bring some quarters, and get ready for some fun.