By now we all know the convention of the modern arcade is dying–mostly thanks to consoles and new ways to play games like Facebook and phones. If something is dying out, we should let it, right? That’s how natural selection works, the better system lives on. In this case, the “better system” of consuming games is better for the companies and not for the consumer. Sure, we can get our games now without ever leaving the house or constant updates or expansions to download, but we are missing out on the things that weren’t being sold to us in the first place.

The Arcade Community

“Arcade Community” sounds like an oxymoron! The arcade is a place where a group of people gather to get lost in individual games by themselves. Playing “head-to-head” used to mean playing against someone with your head next to theirs! This inspired conversation, comradery, and/or rivalry! I became a member of the Dance Dance Revolution community in Phoenix and I met, befriended, and even dated people from all over the city and the southwest. Rarely did someone throw their hands up in the air and quit, mid-game, spouting a string of slurs and profanities to the face of their opponent, but this is now a common occurrence in the world of online gaming. Also, rarely in the arcade did someone walk up to the uncommon female playing a game and drop such sexy lines like, “tits or GTFO”. The shift has happened and the image of a “gamer” has gone from this

Quit camping on Robotron!

or this

My hand is stuck like this from all the “joysticks” I handle

To this

 

It leaves so much to the imagination! I can’t even read the cartridge titles!

 

These communal techno-churches of family friendly fun and entertainment are starting to shut down in favor of a new era of games. Instead of the local flair and flavor we have opted for a global market. Why? Because this new method requires

 Less Risk

Less risk of getting my scrawny-white ass kicked if I trash talk and rage quit. Less risk when if hit on women disrespectfully. These are examples of risks that used to scare us into being polite or doing the right thing. It appears that the shift has really been led by the international corporations who have less risk when distributing a game digitally directly to households instead of shipping cabinets to thousands of arcades and bowling alleys. This less risk for them allows them to churn out “shovelware” and remakes/sequels (that are just expensive roster updates or expansions) instead of focusing on making new or innovative games.

 

Tits or Madden 2014!

 

Risk and consequences are what keep us in line and help us makes those decisions that are the “right thing”. We might not be able to save the arcade business model, but maybe we can salvage what’s left of the community by continuing to be cordial to our fellow gamers. Perhaps we can strike up a conversation about gaming strategy or trends with a female teammate instead of inquiring about the visual appearance of her mammary glands. We can possibly trade-up from a local community of gamers to a global society of players if we can somehow foster mutual respect even without the risks and consequences associated with inappropriate social behavior.

 

Maybe not today

 

Or tomorrow.

But eventually.

 

-Will

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