Writing a paper on the downfall of arcades

Hey there, I’m writing a paper for my social theory class. Basically, I have to take something about the social world that puzzles me. I chose to talk about the downfall of arcades as a way of social gaming.

As part of my research, I want to ask what SRK thinks about this(since many of it’s members still frequent arcades). Basically, I just wanna ask you guys why you think that arcades have been on a constant downslope since the mid 90’s. Is it the fact that you can get home systems that provide experiences that are technologically superior to arcades? Is it because of online gaming? Why is online gaming so popular?

Thanks for any ideas you might have.

yeah i think you got it right, online games, and better ports of games on consoles, there are tons on threads that disscuss this do some searching youll find the info you need.


It’s like this. Street Fighter was dope. Then Mortal Kombat 2 came out and killed off Street Fighter. Then Mortal Kombat 3 came out and killed itself. Then there was nothing left. At least that’s what it looked like to me.

Someone already said everything that needs to be said on this issue.

An excellent post that comes from a WAY BACK thread I had asking why Japanese arcades are allegedly top tier. It’s a little indirect, but by seeing how it works in Japan, I’m kind of hoping you can get a grip of why it doesn’t work well here.

The basic answer to your question is that American culture is screwing arcades into the ground. Video and video game entertainment is only gaining more momentum towards that “get it at home” convenience. Consoles started on that route by exceeding arcade graphics long ago. Every new console released every 3-5 years talks about graphics and improved specs pre-release. Online features too. The arcade version of a fighter nowadays offers nothing but MAYBE another person to fight. For most people, that’s a big MAYBE.
The arcade scene is here is alive, but you only need a heartbeat and bodily functions intact to be considered alive. Then you get to “alive and kicking,” which is FAR from the scene here.

It depends on where on your point of view. If you’re looking at it as an American, then yeah, arcades are in the shitter, but, if you’re Japanese, arcades are doing fine.

I guess there are no consoles and no internet in Japan, and that’s why arcades still survive there…

I agree that arcades are dying, a couple arcades in malls around me have closed down and malls bring alot of foot traffic.

There is one great arcade on campus though. 5 marvel machines, 2 tekken, SF alpha, soul calibur… well the point is they still have a ton of games and they get a ton of business.

But that’s on campus of a big college in a very densly populated city, arcades are still alive but they’re an endangered species. The few arcades that are still in business do get alot of attention though, everyone flocks there because it’s the only one around. Great environment, I wish they were more popular.

I would also like to add, that a lot of these dumb ass kids nowadays just didn’t have arcades when they were growing up.

When I was growing up, i knew of at least 4 places within walking distance where I could play anything from SFCE, ST, to MK. Arcades were a part of my childhood and I always made sure to know where I could throwdown for some SF.

So thanks to the console that arcades are practically non-existant so most new gamers today don’t actually know what they missed out on.

Also, in regards to that good post about japanese living. It was way too general. I know people that DRIVE two hours just for school, except that we in the US don’t really have dedicated centers for entertainment. Japan is also pretty small, along with an excellent train system.

blame shitty arcades/arcade owners. they really don’t give a fuck about making an enviornment that people would want to return to. they just worry about lining their pockets, which is fine, but youre going to turn off a lot of customers with shitty money making tactics. and then when games are released at home people tell you to go screw yourself :karate:

some also believe that

HF = ST = A2 = A3 = NG = 2i = 3s = CVS2

or mine does at any rate. fucking guy.

Arcades died when consoles started having arcade games put on them. Now, instead of waiting a half hour in line to spend 90 seconds playing SF2 which they had to pay for each round, they could just get an SNES and play all the SF2 they want. Want some comp? Invite a friend over. That started it. Then comes the Saturn, 'Cast, PS1 and there you have more games. Lets not exclude the fact that the console versions are consistently better than arcade versions.

True to some extent. But I recall reading about an arcade owner that used to posdt here in texas. He kept everything in his arcade in working order. Continuely fixing and making sure all the buttons work. However outside of a small nitch of friends that he had to come by, practicely no one came in so after a couple years it had to close down.

So while in some cases arcade owners can be blamed for driving away business. The players have to take blame as well for not supporting existing arcades that are trying to meet their demands.

Probably another problem is that the general public just don’t know if any arcades exist anymore. At every place I work, we tend to get into a talk about sticks/arcades and how they said that all of the ones that they went to closed down and if there was one open that they’d goto it. that said, he was not aware that there was an arcade about 25 miles from him that he could goto until I told him about it two days ago.

So with that, another problem is that of the arcades that do exist, they aren’t well known enough to the public to draw in the crowds. So the people that would go, don’t cause they just don’t know that they exist.

Lining their pockets with money or not, its a business, and if the only way to actually keep the arcade profitable is to neglect the quality of it, you’re better off with a dumpy place that has fighting games and people who play them than nothing at all. Do you have the numbers these guys do? How much would it cost to keep machines in tip-top condition and get new games constantly?

The arcades I go to are merely hangout places for people done doing some clothing shopping or just loitering around, and frankly, most of these people don’t give half a shit about the actual quality of the place as long as the games function without major issues. If the joysticks suck, 5 people will continue to care.

For an arcade to be profitable, unless they hit a jackpot location (cheap, center of a large population), they probably can’t hold onto the place for 5+ years at this point, let alone keep it in the best of condition and importing games.

It’s probably justified that arcades are dumps, it’s sad, but really, what else can you do besides lose money?

Because of the cultural in this country, you’re stuck with shitty arcades and online play, or living in Japan. There are some areas where arcades can in fact, do decently (New Jersey, Cali, Texas), are all places that have a very large population in extremely dense areas, and aren’t ridiculously expensive (like New York).

Now, I’ll talk about why online gaming is extremely popular: We are ingrained with on-demand functionality, the country runs on it. People are lazy and live far away from places, Online gaming gives you access to opponents in seconds, something we are very accustomed to. Fast food, Walmarts, all cater to the people who are in need of a fix without putting in a lot of effort. Walmarts make shopping central, fast food gives you a quick bite when you’re on the road. In other countries, people detest the concept of fast food, yet it works here for the same reason arcades fail: We want what we want now, for little effort, at the cost of paying some more money.

Oftentimes it is poor maintenence that kills it.
The arcade at the theatre here had a CvS2 machine, but somebody broke the P2 side joystick like a few weeks after we got it. They didn’t fix it for like 4 fucking years, even though people kept bugging them about it and then they wondered why it wasn’t profitable and had it removed eventually. Everytime someone tried to bring it up, management was basically like “Yeah, uh huh, we’ll get around to it”.

People also complained about the DDR machine that had one broken speaker and another with very low volume, and they never fixed that either. The fuck’s the point of having a DDR machine if you can’t hear any of the music?

Theres a difference between required maintenance and the small details. If they don’t fix something thats downright required for their business model to function, it will fail. If the machines are run down, the place smells like old people and one of the pinball lights went out, that’s not something that needs to be fixed.

some of it has to do with the US audience. They only car for 3-D games, first person shooters and all of your Halo bullshit. Plus, in the days they had arcade games that were just simple fun to play liek Final Fight, TMNT, X-men etc. Which were also big. All we got was NES port which was ok for Turtles and a shitty SNES port for FF unless u own a Sega CD. Whiel Alien V.S. Predator was never released to home consoles. Donno how to explain it, but it seems that most side-scrollers even got a decent/shitty home console port or none of all. Thus the reason those games were played. However that genre has died. And then to CAPCOM and SNK, sorry but we gotta bring them up. Yes people were happy with the gameplay but outdated graphics rerererererecycled sprites to max, same ol 2-D yadda yadda etc bullshit u know what I mean. Meaning US gamers care more for graphics than gameplay if ya ask me. And most ppl who played in the arcades in 80’s/90’s as kid a grew up and find the arcade kiddy like ya know. And some places in america have arcades but not in the best locations. I live in STL and we have one in North County. North County has a higher population of blacks than whites. About a hour’s drive away from me or more. Not to be racist at all but your average nerdy white kid will go to the arcade more than a brotha at home playin Madde 07 on his X-Box ya know. I know we have liek 2 other arcades but in remote regions with not many people there. So some of it can be blamed on location ya know. Espically with gas prices today haha.

But dont forget to mentions the evils in online game play. Lag, Lag abuse, cheaters, people who automatically drop the game when they realize they are goign to lose, and no competition, for example in SVC a player picks SHin Akuma, throws back-to-back super fireballs, anticipating a jump for a anti-air Super SRK.


To me, it was always the US mentality towards having to go outside to play a inferior game (aside from the fact that console technology bit). Not to mention, when it comes to fighting games, why constantly pay for games at the arcade, when you can just buy it, invite some friends, and therefore you don’t have to worry about not being serious and can just mess around. Add the fact that most people don’t like playing fighting games anyways nowadays since they are rather hard to learn.