Published October 24, 2020 Leave a Comment

Late last August, the Japanese arcade industry took a heavy hit as SEGA’s iconic Akihabara GiGo closed its door permanently. The news comes in the midst of frequent cancellations, postponements, and a whole host of lamentable announcements due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. SEGA hasn’t elaborated on whether or not the crisis had anything to do with this unfortunate move, although it’s hard to believe that the sudden stop of tourism coupled with the lockdown wouldn’t make it difficult to keep things afloat for the gaming giant.

The building was one of the most popular and iconic in Akihabara, and one of the most common tourist stops for those who visited the gaming, electronic, and anime capital of Japan. It had 6 floors, all chock-full of different arcade machines and amusements from all across SEGA’s lifetime. From claw machines and old-school light gun games, to the latest Street Fighter and other iconic SEGA titles, all of which were completely available for the locals and tourists to enjoy in their trips to the popular venue.

The news of the closure came suddenly, and initially without any formal announcement from SEGA. Early in August, the staff hung up a notice on the business’ front doors revealing that it would be formally closed on August 31. As mentioned above, there was no—and still hasn’t been—any formal reason for the action revealed, nor whether or not the closure would be permanent or if the business would be reopening when the pandemic passes and foreign travel is reopened across the world. Regardless, this is a sad outcome and yet another addition to the list of bad news from the pandemic.

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Published August 28, 2020 Leave a Comment

In the midst of the current pandemic, it’s no surprise that people are scrounging for things to keep themselves entertained during their extra downtime. While we’ve already shared a list of some excellent titles that could help to keep you entertained and that are easily accessible, perhaps you have more… particular tastes. When ports of old games in modern consoles aren’t enough to sate your thirst for retro classics, what better alternative is there than going straight to the source and reliving some of your favorite classics?

However, when it comes to gaming on the older consoles like the Nintendo 64, you’d need certain gear and paraphernalia in order to get the best experience. While those of us who had the joy of growing up with Nintendo’s line of consoles probably have them still tucked away somewhere gathering dust, with our games intact in another box, odds are that we don’t have the components for creating the best images. After all, outside of those with a dedicated game room, who has the space for a CRT TV in their home nowadays? You can’t really hook up an N64 to a modern display without the special cables. And even then, the image quality suffers when using a modern flat screen for these purposes.

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Published March 14, 2020 Leave a Comment

In just three short seasons on Netflix, Stranger Things has managed to enrapture fans across the world with its loveable and relatable characters, as well as its very dark storyline juxtaposed with the otherwise nonchalant town of Hawkins, Indiana. Beneath the calm exterior of a quiet neighborhood, in what would appear to be a simple slice-of-life TV show, lies a thick layer of dark fantasy where monsters from alternate dimensions attempt to cross to our world and the only thing that’s preventing it is a young girl named Eleven.

But enough about the show. The success Stranger Things goes far beyond the TV medium, considering that the show has trickled into the video game industry, spawning many titles across several platforms, including a collaboration in the hit slasher game, Dead by Daylight. Other games based on this series include Stranger Things 3: The Game on PC, Stranger Things: The Game on Android, as well as an upcoming title based on the show and set for publishing by none other than Netflix itself. It seems the streaming service mogul is not content to rest on its laurels as they’re making their way into the video game industry.

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Published January 23, 2020 Leave a Comment

In this month’s edition of Getting Good, we’re coming in hot with a two-part guide on one of the games that defined my childhood, in particular. As a ‘90s kid, I wasn’t really old enough to experience the arrival and boom of video games in the early ‘80s. I could only read about how games were back then while playing on my NES (my first console). However, I vividly remember playing a certain unlicensed game on a friend’s NES, a Sega game by the name of Fantasy Zone.

Back then, this game was a dream to play; an absolute fever dream, that is. Regarded as one of the so-called “cute ‘em ups,” which is a subgenre of regular shoot ‘em ups, these games are like your typical space shooters, but with a very adorable and colorful aesthetic. I recently ran into Fantasy Zone once again since, due to its popularity in Japan, it got ported both to the Wii and the 3DS, so I guess today’s as good as any day to write a Getting Good on this classic.

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Published January 10, 2020 Leave a Comment

The ‘80s were a wild time in video game history. It was a period where both good and bad ideas could either flourish or die in equal measure, which is, in part, what contributed towards the industry crash in 1983/’84. The release of those great titles that would become classics were marred by the launch of a plethora of low quality games, which led to a collapse and the bankruptcy of many game developers of the time. In the aftermath, only a few companies survived, which left the market ripe for the taking for those who still had that creative spark and the knowledge to put it to good use.

Granted, since the industry was still in “diapers,” even the simplest concepts and premises were considered innovative, which is why the first video games were very basic and rudimentary. Nintendo’s Excitebike, which is a game that consisted of racing on your dirtbike and getting from point A to point B, was among these titles that quickly became a hit among gamers of the time.

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Published December 27, 2019 Leave a Comment

A few months back, we went on a Tetris writing spree where all we posted on this blog was about Tetris. What can we say? As sellers of arcade cabinets and amusements, as well as operators of FECs ourselves, we’re always hyped for all things retro and competitive. And when it comes to these two aspects, you really can’t go wrong with Tetris.

On one occasion, we talked about the 2018 Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC) and how the 7-time reigning champion Jonas Neubauer was finally bested and a new champion took the crown. However, the most baffling part about this is not that Neubauer lost his winning streak, but that it was taken by 16-year-old newcomer Joseph Saelee. The young competitor had never even set foot in a competition as important in the Tetris scene as the CTWC, but that didn’t stop him from going all the way and taking the glory.

It goes without saying that the 2018 finals were intense and chaotic, with sparks flying as both finalists went all out in a struggle to surpass each others’ scores. You didn’t even have to be a Tetris connoiseur to know that both contestants were bordering on superhuman in terms of reflexes and performance, all the while under the extreme pressure of possibly claiming the title of best Tetris player in the world. The fact that Neubauer was a 7-time champ didn’t take away from the intensity in his expressions during play, but Saelee wasn’t going home that day unless it was with the title of champion.

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Published December 20, 2019 Leave a Comment

The rivalry between Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic “mascot” characters is the stuff of legends. As the protagonists of their own platforming games, they drove sales for their respective game consoles and were the center of many schoolyard arguments throughout the 1990’s. While Mario games have an emphasis on precise, slower jumps, Sonic games were always about memorizing stages so that the player could maintain speed and finish them in record times. Regardless of your preference, each game had something different to offer everyone, which is why gamers were so torn between the two.

In my experience, me and my friends always leaned towards Mario and Nintendo, mostly because Sega wasn’t very prominent back where I grew up. However, there were a few people I knew that owned Sega consoles along with a few Sonic games. Even though we were never truly acquainted, we immediately loathed each other based on our decisions in gaming. Guess it was a sign of the times. Sonic and Mario fans were like dogs and cats; you couldn’t put them together!

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Published December 13, 2019 Leave a Comment

Once again, it’s that spooky time of the year and, with the Halloween vibes ever so close, what better moment to talk about some good ol’ creepy games? In today’s article on Getting Good, we’re going to discuss a game that you probably haven’t heard about; a title that goes by the name of Nightmare in the Dark.

Released in 2000 by Gavaking, this obscure title surfaced in a time where these type of platformer arena games were phasing out and giving way to other games with more “modern” gameplay. In a sense, you could say that Nightmare in the Dark is homage to those old-school titles where the gameplay was as easy as ever to pick up, but tough as nails to master. Furthermore, in true arcade game fashion, the idea was to complete all the stages while also collecting as many points as possible. In this regard, Nightmare in the Dark feels like a classic car that’s been given a modern paint job.

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Published November 23, 2019 Leave a Comment

When it comes to video games, Virtual Reality (VR) has been around for quite some time, with varying degrees of success. Most past attempts at making VR go mainstream have resulted in failure, but thanks to a big push from a variety of hardware and software development producers it appears that the revolutionary technology is here to stay. Furthermore, as time passes, this platform only gets more advanced and complex. However, this tech stills comes at a price, and while it’s still prohibitively expensive for all but the most committed gamers, there are some developers that are experimenting with VR to create truly unique experiences for their users.

One of such developers is Universal Space, better known as “UNIS.” UNIS is a designer, manufacturer, and seller of many different types of arcade games and amusements, as well as the creator of several unique games. While this company has a sturdy lineup of more traditional machines such as alley bowlers, basketball games, and a whole slew of redemption games, they also have a line of unique titles, including the Crazy-Taxi-inspired Crazy Ride, which we wrote about a few weeks back. For today’s blog, we are highlighting one of UNIS’ many VR efforts with Ultra Moto VR, their unique take of a motorcycle racing game with VR support and a bunch of other features to maximize the player’s immersion.

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Published November 14, 2019 Leave a Comment

Whenever we’re not on top of the latest happenings in the arcade and amusements and gaming industries, we’re probably fawning over the cool stuff that some users create in their spare time. Case in point, we’d like to take a hot minute to talk about this artist that dedicates his time to creating scale models of some of the most iconic arcade cabinets in existence.

This person is from Japan and is called Osutora Kamen (@ostraking on Twitter). Kamen is a hobbyist modeler that pours much of his soul and creativity into developing many products, including the aforementioned miniature arcade cabinets. While portable arcade cabinets aren’t anything new (mini arcade machines have been around for a while), only a handful of users around the world can make the bold claim of owning regular cabinets, scaled down to fit on any shelf. This is exactly what Ostraking does; painstakingly recreating some of our favorite games with amazing detail.

Using the marvel of 3D printing technology, steady hands, a lot of patience, and the versatile Raspberry Pi, this genius is creating impressive renditions of popular arcade games. Just take a look:

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Arcade Nook