Burning Classics

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By: Chris Bonnell

 

Remember when arcade gaming was popular, hearing blip and blop every time you walked past an arcade, trying to attract you to play a few games. There was an arcade machine tucked away in every pizza shop, Timezone had new video games on offer every week and Street Fighter 2 constantly had a crowed surrounding it as players got in to serious bouts trying to knock out their opponents and become the king of fighters!

Over the last 25 to 30 years there has been less of a need to go to arcades as the technology in the home console market plays catch up at a rapid rate; why go out when you can stay home to play games like Asteroids and Street Fighter? You no longer need to insert one dollar in to the coin slot to play for a few minutes when you can play for hours at home. Atari and Nintendo became house hold names, releasing their own consoles they changed the way video games were played with new concepts such as role playing games and first person shooters, getting a high score was no longer the main factor as game development became more complex. Over time arcade centres slowly disappeared and so did the arcade cabinets. Those that still cared started to collect arcade games to preserve history, but sadly a lot of the cabinets ended up in landfill causing a lot of games to be sought after by many which put their prices up year after year. Chinese bootlegs and MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) started to show up along with people selling bootleg game boards and passing them off as the real deal. Homemade arcade cabinets loaded with 5000 pirated games are being sold to people with no knowledge of what they’re buying, there is a good and bad side to this: the good side is that a lot of games can be had for a low price due to owners converting their arcade machines in to a dedicated MAME machine, while the bad side is that people are destroying and butchering the real thing to put in custom control panels with thirty buttons and eight joysticks. I don’t condone or encourage this as you’re destroying history, the value of the machine and making it harder for anyone that is looking for an original machine in mint condition.

In the end there are still people that have an interest in the classics, making their collections bigger, and saving games and the love of the arcade for future generations to enjoy. Arcade collector web sites such as ‘Killer List of Video Games’ have connected thousands of people from around the world; sharing information on repairs and trading games – people sharing the same passion act as a community to create the biggest arcade index on the internet. This is a hobby where technical know-how is a must, so do some research on the arcade cabinet or game you’re looking to purchase before throwing cash at it, because who knows you might be buying a fake. Inspect it from head-to-toe, ask questions, buy with your knowledge and keep it real.

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