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September 2015 Retro Gaming Article


September 27, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After playing arcade ports at home, I needed a real-deal arcade game reminder

I loved the 2-player dynamic of Wizard of Wor. It was the first arcade game that I experienced in which 2 players could play simultaneously and decide how the co-op would work. You could team up to clear the dungeons or treat the other player as an enemy.

This dynamic is why I also loved playing Joust. I could play with a friend or random stranger. The longer the game, the more likely the opponent-dynamic would change. You might start as a unified team, but once your buddy shot you (accidentally or not) it was now a survival game for one and all. Not too many games let the players change roles in that manner. Good times were had when these arcade games were the backbone of all our local arcades.

Wiliams' Joust arcade game Out of curiosity, I went through my console games to see how many Joust games I had on different platforms. I was surprised to discover that I can play Joust on the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, 800, NES, GameBoy, SNES, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, PS2 and PS3. That's a lot of Joust options! I'm surprised I ever leave the house (aside from grocery shopping), but let me tell you why I'm glad I do :)

Arcade console ports are great, but don't match the real thing!
A local arcade added Joust last fall, which led me to drop a lot of quarters even though I can play eleven variations of Joust at home. As much as I love console ports, there's something magical about a joystick in-hand and a fire button (or Flap button) with an audible click. Hearing the regeneration-sound blaring from an overhead speaker in the cabinet is tremendous as are the crisp graphics.

It's the sort of experience that can not be replicated on a home console. Even though the later ports may be exact replicas of the game play... there will always be a missing component. I say this based on an individual title, but when you mix in the entire arcade experience of the early 80's, there's nothing like it. From the mixture of attract-mode sounds and bright marquees to the day-glow carpeting and vibe of excitement in the air, playing at home pales in comparison.

I'm thankful to be able to play these games at home, but I'd love to see the surge in retro and barcades bring back some of that after-dark awesomeness of video game arcades! If nothing else... it's a good reminder that Spy Hunter arcade games had crazy-cool steering wheels along with a gearshift and pedal. :)

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