After my trip to the movies last night (see previous post) I went to Cold Stone Creamery to get some amazing ice cream and then to Broadway City, the only true arcade I have found in New York thus far.

While living at home in the Chicago suburbs I would often frequent Super Just Games (note: the link is to a Street Fighter competition page) quite often. Maybe once every couple weeks at high points. In college, I pretty much stopped going because there was nothing convenient and I didn't have any close friends who wanted to go (or maybe I was embarassed to ask). Now, I did find one in NYC but it is in Times Square and is amazingly expensive. (The cheapest games were $.75 and those were Galaga, Ms. Pac Man, and Metal Slug 4.) Where have all the arcades gone?

Sadly, I know the answer but I don't want to admit it. Arcade games are expensive to produce and don't have a great rate of return unless they're at an amusement park. Just look at my current favorite game, Time Crisis 3, and how much it costs. $15,495. Granted this is a shooting game with two screens, but it is an example of how much new games cost to produce. So, the neighborhood arcade is gone because kids would rather stay at home and play games from their couch.

What we lose is the sense of community that comes from playing people that you don't know. Even though fighting games aren't my forté, nothing can beat waiting in line to play the reigning champion of the game. Even though you don't know him/her, the two of you have a both a rivalry and a common bond already there. In a more basic way, we also lose to the ability to just hang out with like-minded people. I am not as obsessed with games as some people, but it's nice for me to visit that world and chat with people who know what they're talking about.

Another reason to keep arcades around is for games that can't be recreated on a PC or console. Racing games, gun games and Dance Dance Revolution cannot be recreated in the home setting. It is impossible. Now the only place to enjoy these games is at amusement parks that charge at least $1 per game. I don't expect things to still cost a quarter but I know that price can come down. I paid $1.75 per game last night and some of the racing games were $2.50. That is ridiculous.

The only thing that has come close to replacing the arcade is the converted movie theaters. (In some places movie theaters are being converted to LAN gaming areas.) You do get to bring back some of the community, which is nice, but you still lose the variety of games and some fun nostalgic factors.

I don't know if I'm ever going to get my arcades back but I do know that I can't be alone. There must be others out there who long for the arcade experience. I just hope that we are able to find some happy medium where I can play my games without dropping $30 per session.