Published September 20, 2019 Leave a Comment

Alright, we know we’ve been pretty heavy on the Tetris news lately, but trust us when we say that, for the past few weeks, the popular franchise has simply been the gift that keeps on giving. Nevertheless, we promise we’ll keep it short this time around.

The game about dropping blocks in an orderly fashion is on its 35th anniversary, which is a nice number for the franchise to reinvent itself. And what better way to make a comeback than by adding battle royale mechanics?

The battle royale genre is arguably the most popular type of multiplayer games of the decade, with bangers such as PUBG and Fortnite taking the PC world by storm. However, if we were asked to guess which game would adopt these mechanics around 7 months ago, Tetris would’ve been our last guess. In fact, Tetris wouldn’t have even crossed our minds in the slightest. While it’s true that the game has a multiplayer component in some iterations, a battle royale approach is miles away from the core charm of the franchise.

Nevertheless, the folks at the Tetris Company and Nintendo definitely made it work as Tetris 99 is a huge hit. The Switch exclusive title has around 3 million downloads at the moment of writing. While the number of downloads pales in comparison to the 500 million+ total sales that the franchise has made since its inception in 1984, it’s a very decent number of downloads for a standalone game. Even today, you can boot up Tetris 99 and find a match in less than 5 seconds, which is a testament to the game’s quality.

Published September 14, 2019 Leave a Comment

Here we are once again ready to dive into the granddaddy of block-stacking games, Tetris!

Last week we went over the fundamental aspects of the game, including the matrix, the seven available “tetriminoes,” how the scoring system works, and several basic features such as piece holding, ghost pieces, and the next piece panel. When used in conjunction with each other, these features make up the core aspect of any Tetris match, whether against the PC, against other players, or when playing by yourself in endless mode.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s focus on the fun part: actually playing the game!

Filling the Well

As we mentioned before, Tetris is all about filling your board or matrix with blocks in an orderly fashion, and as fast as you can. It’s important to note here that the board goes by many names, including “well,” and “matrix,” and we’ll be using them interchangeably throughout this article.

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Published September 6, 2019 Leave a Comment

Yeah, yeah; we know. Tetris is on every platform under the sun, but bear with us just this time. Tetris was originally designed and developed by Russian AI researcher Alexey Pajitnov in 1984 as a method for testing the AI of the times. Pajitnov created this simple game in order to test the skill of his machines. However, the game became so famous among his colleagues, that they ported it to the IBM PC, which started the game’s snowball into both history and culture.

Now, Tetris is like the Mickey Mouse of gaming. Even if you don’t know who Pajitnov is, you will most certainly know about this game. Throughout its lifetime, the game about stacking blocks has become the most sold piece of gaming software in history, dwarfing even Minecraft’s sales. In total, Tetris has sold over 500 million copies across all its versions and iterations, though some would argue against counting certain versions in the grand total. Regardless, this simple-yet-popular piece of software has sold tons of copies.

Various Arcade versions of the concept have made their way to the market, originally being handled by Atari Games for the West, and Sega for the East. Other official variations have been created by an array of different companies, with Tetris: The Grand Master series culminating in the most “hardcore” display of block dropping madness ever witnesses.

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Published August 31, 2019 Leave a Comment
Published August 28, 2019 Leave a Comment

I know we’re a little bit late to the chase with this one—but hey, we’re arcade gamers before we’re Switch players!

In any case, Nintendo released their subscription-based online service back in September 2018, where users could pay a small yearly fee to gain access to the online features of their Nintendo games. Aside from gaining the ability to play with other gamers around the world using Nintendo’s servers, their online service also brought several freebies, including access to a pre-curated NES Software library with over 30 classic titles available to play. Thanks to this service, it allowed developers to offer “Free-to-play” (F2P) online games. One of the first high profile F2P games to be made available for Nintendo Switch Online came in February of 2019 with the all-new and spiffy Tetris 99.

As its name implies, this title is a homage to the classic block-stacking game originally developed by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, which also happens to be the highest-selling title of all time. The cultural mark left by Tetris is absolutely massive, having sold over 70 million copies throughout its lifetime in physical releases. However, once you factor in the most recent mobile adaptations and the sales as downloadable software across multiple platforms, this number is actually closer to 500 million copies sold. This number dwarfs even the hugely-successful Minecraft, which has only sold around 176 million copies to date.

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Published August 23, 2019 Leave a Comment

other occasions, we’ve talked about fighting games and how they’ve, in a way, shaped the state of modern arcade gaming. At the very least, it’s fair to say that these games have created their own niche and fan following based around their mechanical complexity and tough-yet-rewarding gameplay. Not to mention the prizes and recognition that the player gets from winning one of the bigger tournaments like EVO.

However, it wasn’t always this way. In the earliest days of the genre, fighting games were often clunky, at best. The idea of stringing combos together or performing complex move sets simply weren’t a part of the equation. But they still could be fun, with a basic formula for pitting one human character against the other making do with the tech of the time. Karate Champ is one product of its era, a veritable pioneer of the entire genre.

Developed in 1984 by Technos Japan, but produced and distributed by Data East, this game was among the first of its kind. It consists of fights where two characters face off in one-on-one regulated battles. The enemy could be either a CPU or another player, much like modern tournament fighting games. However, this is where the similarities with other fighting games ends as Karate Champ is a beast of its own kind.

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Published August 15, 2019 Leave a Comment

Back in the late ‘80s when arcade gaming was still reinventing itself after the market crash of 1983, there was a genre of games that breathed life into the entire industry, fighting games. As we’ve mentioned several times already, it was titles like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat that saved the arcade gaming industry in the West back when it was headed down the slippery slope of obscurity. However, as the business became more profitable for developers and publishers in the West, along with improvements in technology, they started to venture into bringing new genres and prototypes from abroad.

The Origin of Rhythm Gameplay

Japanese developers have generally led the way in this genre, although it was the West that toyed around with the concept of playable music games first. Atari would release a pseudo-interactive music product called Atari Video Music in 1977. This took the input from a stereo and “visualized” it into graphics; a concept that would become fully interactive almost twenty years later when Atari included the Virtual Light Machine in their Atari Jaguar CD add-on. In 1984, they were prototyping an idea for a music dancing arcade game simply called the Atari Dance Machine. By the prototype footage found, this beast of a machine would have sported 3 monitors, two of which would have shown a music video, while the central display would have shown the dance moves you were supposed to copy. It would have used a camera to detect the movement of a user’s body – all this being thought about almost 30 years before Konami launched Dance Evolution Arcade.

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Published August 8, 2019 Leave a Comment

Mother’s Day came and went last week, and what better way to commemorate it than by writing about the first major game that had broad appeal to women? Co-designed by Dona Bailey and Ed Logg, Centipede’s release in 1980 became an instant hit due to many reasons, including it’s simple gameplay and vibrantly detailed cabinet art. By borrowing some elements from Space Invaders, and adding a wide slew of new mechanics, a classic was born.

The objective of this game is to take control of a movable turret (described in the flyers and subsequent media as a magic-wielding gnome) and shoot at a centipede that’s making its way down to the bottom of the screen. The brutish insect takes it time zigzagging down through a forest of mushrooms, giving the player ample opportunity to strike it with several well-placed shots. However, if the centipede makes it to the bottom, then death is all but inevitable – albeit a good player can still survive. Furthermore, our multi-legged friend is not alone as he has many bug cohorts to assist him in his task.

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Published August 1, 2019 Leave a Comment

People visit arcades for a variety of different reasons. Some go just to kill some time and play; some go for the social atmosphere, while others have the sole intention of taking on a serious challenge – that of setting highest possible score. This can come from either a ”You Vs. the Machine” or a world record breaker mentality, both serving as central motiviations in scorechasers everywhere. There’s something about placing your initials into the top slots on that coveted “high scores” screen, a feeling that drives many a gamer to hone their skills. However, there’s a new feature hitting the modern arcade scene that might give an extra incentive for players to set and share their own high scores, at least where Raw Thrills games are concerned.

Most games developed by Raw Thrills, such as Slither.ioNERF ArcadeSuper Bikes, and Cruis’n Blast, among others, feature their own QR codes in the after-game results screen. At this point, players could use their smartphones to scan the codes, and then share their legitimate and verified high scores in any social media platform. Imagine having a “high scores” screen not limited to the arcades, but available for anyone to see directly on their Twitter or Facebook feeds. However, while this feature was nifty, at best, it catered exclusively to the aforementioned hardcore gamers. Meanwhile, the most casual users would simply opt out, leaving the service unused.

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Published July 31, 2019 Leave a Comment
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