Real-life Time Machines: Arcade Cabinets What is the first thing people think of when people think of video games? Modern-day gamers would think of Fortnite, the Xbox 360, and other small gadgets that help play extremely detailed games that fit in one small disk. However, if we ask someone from the 70’s, and 80’s, they would say the classic arcade cabinets. In 1909, the first ever arcade game made was Skee Ball, invented by J.D. Estes in Philadelphia.
5 years later, the alleys were sold to the outdoor amusement industry. Each one measured about 36 feet. In 1928, the size was reduced to 14 feet long, for a more diverse crowd of people. (Wired.com) In 1931, the first coin-operated arcade was created in Chicago, with the name of Baffle Ball. Since it was coin operated, it was considered gambling.Two years later, Pinball was invented.
These machines had no flippers on the bottom that you controlled, therefore, the machines were banned, or heavily restricted, because they were thought to be organized with gambling and organized crime. In 1947, Pinball machines were beginning to be made with flippers, to make it seem more family-friendly, although most machines were found bars and porn shops.(Wired.com) In 1971, Galaxy Game was the first ever coin-operated video game installed in Stanford University in September. It cost $20,000 to build, and the inflation price was $115,000. The next year, Pong is released, becoming the first commercially successful coin-operated video game. Pong being developed by Atari, it sold eventually 35,000 units. 3 years later, Gun Fight was released, being the first game to use a microprocessor.(Wired.com) In 1978, Taito Corp released Space Invaders which took about Tomohiro Nishikado to develop.
The next year, Atari released Asteroids, which became the company’s best-selling game, selling over 70,000 cabinets. In 1980, Pac-Man, the mother of all arcade games, was released. The game, developed by Namco, sold 350,000 arcade cabinets, and brought in 2 billion dollars in revenue, or 3.4 billion dollars with inflation. This year, Atari released Tempest, the first game to use high-resolution color vector graphics.(Classic Gaming cc.) In 1981, Donkey Kong was released. In its first year, it sold over 60,000 cabinets and earned over 180 million dollars. 2 years later, too many similar games were being produced, therefore a moral fight broke out between video games and parents. This fight nearly killed the industry, going from a 12 billion dollar industry in 1982, to a 100 million dollar industry 3 years later. Another thing that hurt the industry was that in 1985-6, the Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Sega Master System were released, therefore the industry turned to making at home gaming systems.(The Verge.com)
Although the era of arcades may be over, one can still find arcades in many places. Some places have many arcade cabinets, and some are completely dedicated to arcade machines. As long as one has a quarter, they can still play arcades, If they can find them.
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