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What's the definition of Arcade game?

03-21-2011, 03:05 AM
#1
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1
What's the definition of Arcade game?

I am a junior level game player and don't know many of the professional term of games. Recently I have met a term called Arcade game which I don't know the definition, I have searched it with Google and the definition in Wikipedia is •An arcade game is a coin-operated entertainment machine, usually installed in public businesses such as restaurants, public houses, and video arcades. Most arcade games are redemption games, merchandisers (such as claw crane), video games, or pinball machines. But it's still not easy for me to understand. Anyone can explain this more simple and straightaway? Thanks so much.
03-21-2011, 09:33 AM
#2
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 305
Hmm, the definition has certainly changed since the rise of home consoles and portables, and it has come to mean more than just actual 'games that are normally in an arcade'.

I think the term now encompasses games that have in general short playtimes, during which one can see a good amount of content, and which have good replayability. For example, something like Fruit Ninja- each game can last a few minutes, during which you see pretty much all the game has to offer. Subsequent replay value is gained by trying to beat highscores, and unlock various secrets. Then look at Street Fighter IV- you can play through tournament mode in less than 10 minutes, however challenging different difficulties, and mastering all the characters provides a large amount of depth, but it's still based on a fundamentally short core playtime.

This contrasts with something like RPGs, particularly those that are grind-heavy, where you can play for hours and level up your character, but without advancing 'through' the game, so to speak.

TL;DR: Arcade game- short playthrough, high replayability, easy to pick up and play, but good ones are difficult to master.

It's only my opinion, though- perhaps other gamers have a better and more thorough definition.

03-21-2011, 11:51 AM
#3
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
I sort of agree with DusT_HounD, it's definitely open to interpretation. Though personally I would call simple games with short play times 'casual' rather than 'arcade'. I usually reserve the term arcade for games that still have the same kind of retro vibe, maybe by having a lives system or being inspired by an actual arcade game of old like Space Invaders or Dig-Dug. Casual and arcade are probably interchangable for a lot of people though, and some games undoubtedly fall into both categories.

Actually if you want as good an answer as you'll ever get...

arcade-like. Jargon. A game that emphasizes quick action and reflexive response over deep strategy.

casual game. An easy-to-learn game targeted at and/or played by people without extensive videogame experience.

Taken from The Video Game Style Guide and Reference Manual by The International Game Journalists Association

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03-21-2011, 12:41 PM
#4
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
my definition of an arcade game - "pick up and play," quick to grasp with minimal tutorial (and therefore not much in the way of complicated mechanics on the surface, at least), usually something bright, colorful, and action-oriented which should be designed to last for anywhere between a few quick rounds, or several hours.

I would not consider something like Bejeweled to be an arcade game, since it leans much more toward casual (the user is encouraged to take his/her time playing it)
03-21-2011, 01:44 PM
#5
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 305
Ah, good points all round- there is certainly some blurring of the lines between arcade and casual these days.

I'd partly disagree with the videogame journo's association's definition of arcade, though. Do they mean that Virtual On, Tekken, etc. are not arcade games? Both examples have extremely deep strategic play, but are firmly rooted in the arcades. I understand what they are trying to get at, but don't think their definition is that well- suited.
03-21-2011, 01:55 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by DusT_HounD View Post
Ah, good points all round- there is certainly some blurring of the lines between arcade and casual these days.

I'd partly disagree with the videogame journo's association's definition of arcade, though. Do they mean that Virtual On, Tekken, etc. are not arcade games? Both examples have extremely deep strategic play, but are firmly rooted in the arcades. I understand what they are trying to get at, but don't think their definition is that well- suited.
That's probably why it's listed as "arcade-like" and not just "arcade". Fighting games have almost been on consoles for as long as they have arcade machines, so they're more loosely-tied than the likes of earlier titles such as Pac-Man.

Either way, I think the Video Game Style Guide is pretty widely used as a standard, so when you see articles or reviews referring to it they're probably going by that.

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03-21-2011, 03:09 PM
#7
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 305
@MidianGTX:
ya, good point, and it's also important to note that the arcade scene itself is changing too, what with players being able to have cards that store their profiles in games, so they can take their data with them- they're more like console experiences themselves, since you can have a persistent profile- just gotta pay each time you want to play!

Personally, I reckon the golden age of the arcade was back in the early 90s, where the home consoles weren't yet quite powerful enough, so the only place you'd see an arcade game, with huge sprites and special effects, was in an arcade.

Sorry- hijacked the thread with a nostalgia trip there...
03-21-2011, 03:19 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: The distant future year 1999
Posts: 999
I tend to think of "arcade games" as ones that are simplistic, action oriented and accessible. If it feels like something you'd find in an arcade between 1980 and 1993 then it's an arcade game. It's not something that has a hard definition, it's more of a "you'll know it when you see it" kind of thing. "Arcade" racing games or "arcade" sports games are a different story completely, in those cases it's about capturing the essence of the activity without being hindered by realism.
03-21-2011, 08:52 PM
#9
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Brazil
Posts: 609
Arcade Game = Opposite of a Simulation one.
03-21-2011, 09:51 PM
#10
An arcade game is a coin-operated entertainment machine, usually installed in public businesses such as restaurants, public houses, and video arcades. Most arcade games are redemption games, merchandisers (such as claw crane), video games, or pinball machines.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcade_game