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Gaming - Leaving the House Again?

I've been reading the recent articles by Richard Gottlieb over at Global Toy News where he has been talking about pinball machines and how they may in some ways be seen as an allegory to the toy industry. He also clarified a long-standing question I had silently been asking myself, and he is in fact no relation to the Gottlieb pinball empire (of yore).

He discusses the sensory experience that one receives from a pinball machine, and how that total sensory immersion is so important to the experience. I've often had this same discussion, as I champion pinball as something that the home console gaming revolution was never quite able to vanquish - though sadly as went arcades in general, so went pinball as well, save for the odd bowling alley and laundromat here and there. The point is a great one, though, and speaks to things that the toy industry can remember to make a plaything really special, but also - as he says - to learn from the past but apply those lessons to the present and where we want to go. It is only with foresight that any industry, especially those which, in times of economic hardship, are for entertainment like arcades and toys, can grow and succeed.

My follow-on theory as pertains to the gaming industry, and I realize that it is an overly optimistic one, is that perhaps it is time for the resurgence of the arcade as a physical space. What with the explosive growth of 'social' experience tools online, which strive to bring people together, and the myriad apps that 'connect' you to others with similar interests, doesn't it logically follow that maybe people are tired of sitting in their dim living rooms playing xbox games, and are perhaps ready once again to have a shared experience with like minded people in a fun space? An interesting possibility, and something to watch over the months ahead.

Posted by charlie on July 14th 2011, 10:04 PM
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July 17th, 10:15 PM
I don't know that I would say people want to get away from their houses. Arcades worked because they were the only places to go to play games. Pinball is outdated - a thing of the past. It can't capture the nostalgia of the young because they have no connection to it - and older people don't care enough.

An old video game system is not a portal to the past for the young - it is a dinosaur. An 8-track player. They don't want arcades sucking down quarters when they can have the game forever on their X-Box live. How can Space Invaders compete with HALO? Batman Pinball is nothing compared to Batman: Arkham Asylum.

What I think you could get away with is a Funspot-type place that catered to arcade people, but make it like a Fight Club somehow. A secret place for people to go. You can only bring friends? Appointments only? I dunno. More likely it will continue to be the fragmented society that the toy collecting society is - pockets of deep collections, surrounded by smaller pockets and casual dabblers.
July 18th, 07:22 AM
You probably have a point. I do appreciate the voice of reason before I go and do something foolish, like open another arcade.

Unless I come up with a really killer combo sort of idea that is!

That's why I respect and enjoy Funspot so much - they've managed to really make the sort of facility that is large enough to provide something for just about everyone. Awfully hard to start something like that from scratch, to be sure.

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