Tales Of The Arcade: Bunneh’s Dream Barcade
Growing up as a gamer during the 80’s was an exhilarating and unique experience that is hard to explain to this generation. With consoles and PC rigs with the power that they have today along with online coop and multiplayer, video game arcades have all but become extinct. As you’ve probably read in my previous Tales Of The Arcade articles, there were moments (or games more specifically) that would throw arcade regulars and kids into a frenzy with pockets full of quarters.
Unfortunately, we all live in an age here in the US where arcades and the gaming community typically come together only in a digital sense. Organized tournaments are spotty and/or only set up near college campuses, because…well, only college kids seem to have the time or desire to attend. Even modest attempts like Dave & Busters and Gameworks have limited success when it comes to reviving the arcade atmosphere.
In that model sits the promising idea of barcades. Considering that the ones who even remember the arcade are probably going to be the first to warm up to the idea, barcades mix the social aspect of bars with gaming.
I’ve always longed to be the owner of a Gameworks or an arcade of some sort. The one thing I’ve noticed in my time is that arcades are hard to maintain and difficult to make THE place to be. A proper mix of a variety of games is the only way to attract all types of gamers and even make non-gamers able to have a good time. So, here I’d like to map out my all star picks for my Bunnehcade.
As I said in the Gameworks themed Tales of the Arcade, Virtual Bowling is one of those visually impressive and simple to play kind of games. Bowling is an easy game to understand and this game was a solid remix of a classic game with imaginative boards that keep things interesting.
This is a perfect bar-cade styled game that allows multiple players to get in a hilarious arm workout and still be able to hold conversations along with trash talk.
The Pac-man coin op games are all classic. The sound effects are an instant time machine for anyone that’s ever. In a way, Pac-man was the ‘Candy Crush’ of its day for those who weren’t around in the early days of the arcade. Hitting those high scores with the ease of only using a 4 direction joystick is an inviting challenge to any casual or core gamer that can’t be denied or ignored when it comes to MY barcade.
While the size of my barcade will ultimately decide how much gaming I’ll be able to place in the venue, one of the easiest and most critical in my barcade will be pinball machines. To this day there are still a number of US companies that jockey for licensing for popular TV shows (like The Walking Dead) or movies (like The Wizard of Oz or The Lord Of The Rings). With the appeal of using music from these efforts as well as sound bites and effects, the appeal of pinball machines as well as the simplicity of playing them will always draw in the casual onlooker.
Fighting Game Rotation
Let’s face it. Fighting games are intense and typically visually pleasing even to someone who doesn’t know what is going on. The health bar always clearly shows who is winning and who is losing and then the finale shows who took the crown. Staples like Street Fighter variations as well as Mortal Kombat are the usual suspects here in my rotation. Occasionally I would try to bring in other titles as well such as Injustice or even Tekken and Soul Calibur.
Here’s my dilemma. Driving games are almost always a staple for arcades and placing one in a bar is probably questionable. Fact of the matter is that all bar-goers know how to drive and watching their friends try to race each other could be hilarious. Still, if someone plays and wins all while they are drinking, it may give them too much confidence to try and drive home afterwards. No joy here.
Custom Rock Band / Guitar Hero Stage
So the highlight of my bar would be this custom Rock Band / Guitar Hero bundled karaoke stage. It would be big enough to keep all four performers and have a projection screen behind them as well as individual screens in front of them to get their cues. The intent would be to have them play the song and at least attempt to have some kind of showmanship as they do so. Most of that would come from the vocalist but there would be opportunities for the drummer, bassist, and guitarists (and even the key-tar player) to do things but that usually would only happen if they are good at playing the game.
As with other bars that have tried this before, the key would be acquiring instruments that could stand up to the abuse that drunken players would put them through. These have been made in the past but are kind of expensive. Still the appeal of these games I feel would be undeniable with the right DLC songs.
I know, I know. This is an odd little mix of games and I’m certain if I did this again a month from now, this listing would probably change. The fact of the matter is that anything with an arcade of any size in it requires a healthy rotation of new blood in it. Star features that wouldn’t leave would need to be either arcade-only experiences (like the Virtual Bowling) or something where the cabinet styled nostalgia is hard to pass up on. As always, the key would be getting mostly games that are not complex to play so that ANYONE could hop on and enjoy the ride. Still, Bunneh’s Barcade is an idea not far from reality as many have already popped up around the nation.
Maybe one day my friends. Maybe one day…