Electron Dance

Discussion: Insert Coin

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Once I had paid tribute to the digital god, the machine would respond with the magical phrase CREDITS 01. The attract mode was likely to continue playing - but the machine was aware of my presence now. It was waiting.

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  1. My thoughts about this tweet about projekt can be found here.

  2. Ha, ha. I never twigged that it’s Matt W territory.

  3. I think the slot machine comparison is very good. I think there are slot machines that have a little bit of “game” to them, but the key point is that nobody would pay to play those games if they weren’t hoping for the chance of a payout. Coin-op games don’t have the addictive random payout and you’re only paying for more time playing the game, not some extrinsic reward (unless maybe you count putting your initials on the scoreboard as extrinsic).

    Were there coin-op video games where you could could have a drastically different experience depending on random factors? The closest I can think of would be novices playing pinball who might luck into a long, high-scoring game on one quarter after several quarters of shorter games. But then we start sliding down the slope to pachinko and slot machines. I suppose somebody has made an evil slot machine version of Peggle by now.

  4. Uh, careful what you wish for….

    Although to be frank there’s not much “Peggle” here???

    I recall only the early generation of arcade games and while there was apparent randomness in many of the titles, the randomness was just meant to provide variety over rote repetition (when are the invaders going to shoot, where do the tanks spawn in Battlezone). Then again there’s Tutankamen which I thought was cool at the time but was a fairly horrible design – the horizontal-only shooting would lead to these “quick rush” moments up vertical corridors and that’s when randomness could kill you. I think a sense of unfairness, at the time, would isolate a game. I believe rail shooters like Operation Wolf and Space Gun, while hard, still succumbed to memorisation.

  5. Growing up in the 90s, my memory of arcade machines was that they absolutely were bandit boxes that had obvious unfair difficulty spikes laced in to rinse you for extra change.

    But they were bigger, louder, and better looking than home video games (although only just at that point), and you probably didn’t own many games because nobody owned many games, so the spectacle and variety still made the arcade an attractive place to waste your pocket money.

  6. Hey CA.

    My interest in the arcades has always been about childhood. The particular period when arcades had limited colour palettes and all 2D experiences evoke the feels in me. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Defender, Qix. I was still in awe once we got ourselves a home computer because we just couldn’t match the look. But after awhile, it started to feel the game design just wasn’t that interesting and they began moving towards 3D; rail shooters didn’t interest me much and the polygonal graphics of something like Virtua Fighter felt like a step-back, an admission that consoles were catching up.

    So in the 90s, I was always looking for the *older* games, that bust-up version of Scramble or GORF languishing in the corner, with little interest in new titles.

    Thus I am wary revering the good-ol’ arcade because it is seems inextricably tied to my age. The only way to make the most of your coins was to concentrate on particular games and replay. But I was flighty. I wanted to play everything. Result: lots of coins spent, no games mastered.

  7. Take care of yourself, Joel!

  8. What Shaun said!

    Also I followed a link from your Twitter feed to User Inyerface which I finished in 8:47. You will be receiving an invoice for that much of my life.

  9. Thank you, Shaun & Matt.

    Also not sorry for getting you stuck on userinyerface :) that’s about how long it took me

  10. Wait, minutes or hours?

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