In 1966 Sega introduced an arcade game called Periscope. This game was the first electro-mechanical arcade game. The game was a submarine simulator and a light gun shooter. The game used lights to shoot the ships and plastic for the waves. To play the game players put a quarter in and then looked through a periscope to aim at the ships and they then press a button to shoot a torpedo at the ship to sink it. In the game you get 10 torpedoes to sink as many ships as you can and if you get a perfect score you get an extra torpedo. The score was displayed at the back and lights up when you get that score. The game also uses sounds like a whoosh sound which happens when a torpedo is fried towards a ship and an explosion sound when you hit a ship. This arcade game was a worldwide success in Japan, Europe and North America.

periscope Periscope_machine2

In 1971 students from Stanford University created Galaxy game which was a coin-operated arcade version of the Spacewar video game. The Galaxy game is the earliest known coin-operated video game. The game was programmed by Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck. The game had a PDP-11 which was a 16-bit minicomputer and its display was a vector display. The game cost 10 cents per game or 25 cents for 3 games. The game was very popular on the campus and players would wait as long as an hour to play.


In 1972 Atari released Pong which was an arcade version of ping-pong. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney created Pong and put the machine in a bar to test how people would react to it. The guys got a phone call from the bar to say that the machine was broken because it wouldn’t allow anyone to play. When they went down to see what was wrong with it they found that it wasn’t broke but full of coins and that was the reason it wouldn’t work. Pong is known for being the game that set the gaming industry off.

pong pong machine

In 1977 Cinematronics released Space Wars. This game was the first arcade game to use vector graphics. The game was created by Larry Rosenthal. He created it based on the original Spacewars game and he used his own custom-made hardware and software. When the player inserted a quarter they could play for a minute and a half. Players than battle against each other shooting at each other’s spaceship. The game had 3 different game plays for players to choose from they could have “the presence or absence of a star in the middle of the play-field (which exerted a positive or negative gravitational pull), whether the edges of the play-field “wrapped around” to their opposite sides, and whether shells bounced.” .     This gave players an advantage or a disadvantage depending on their skill of playing the game.  

 space wars machineSPACEWAR

In 1978 Space Invaders was released in Japan. Space Invaders was created by Tomohiro Nishikado and was manufactured and sold by Taito. Space Invaders became very popular in Japan and within a year of it being released Japan had a shortage of 100-yen coins. Space Invaders became the most profitable video game of its era. The game produced in an average of 600 million dollar a year. Space Invaders was a shooting game where players control a laser cannon and move left and right to shoot the aliens up above. In the game you have 5 rows of 11 aliens and each time you shoot an alien they get faster and the music also gets faster to match the aliens speed. The aliens shoot back at you and your only protection is the 4 bunkers but each shot at them will do some damage to the bunker. Occasionally in the game a big UFO appears and if you hit that UFO you get bonus points. If you are hit by a bullet from the alien ships you lose a life and you only get 3 lives. The game ends either if you defeat all the aliens or the aliens reach the bottom of the screen or you lose all your lives.

space invadersspace-invaders screen

In 1979 Atari released Asteroids. Asteroids was the first game to introduce real-world physics. Players could play Asteroids either on their own or with a friend. The game starts off with a small triangle in the middle of the screen surrounded by asteroids. The player then shoots the asteroids to score points. When the player hits a big asteroids, that breaks into medium asteroids and when they are hit, they break into small asteroids. Then when you hit the small asteroid, the asteroid disappears.  The object of the game was to get as many points as possible while avoiding being hit by an asteroid or spaceship.

A quote from the developers of Asteroid about how it felt to work on this game:

Lyle Rains : ‘In the course of my work I have always found that there are times during the development process when the project gets to me in such a way that I’m eating, drinking, sleeping, and breathing the project. When I close my eyes the images of the screen are there and I dream about them at night. There is something just very intense when you live with a project like that day and night, for months at a time. When we were working on Asteroids, I would play Asteroids for a number of hours in the evening, then I’d go home and I’d close my eyes, and as I was drifting off to sleep I’d see the asteroids floating around the screen.’.

 Ed Logg : ‘I was shooting the asteroids all night long; I’d just play the game over and over and over in my head, just as if you were playing it in real life. To a certain extent, I play a lot of the games in my mind long before I ever write them because you have to get all the interactions down pat before you can start programming. I know what it’s going to look like before I even get there.’.”

A player of Asteroids who worked for Atari quoted how he found the game the first time he played it:

“Rich Adam recalled his own first encounter with Asteroids : ‘I’ll never forget going into the lab and seeing that game for the first time. It was like an adrenaline rush. I’m out flying this spaceship and it’s the miraculous escape. I’ve got this situation where I’ve got tons of these boulders flying around the screen, I have almost nowhere to go. I get to blast my way out of it and cheat death one more time; that’s a good fantasy, you’ve got all these things flying around and yet you’re able to survive.’”

The game was so popular that people started to compete to get the highest score ever. The record for the highest score is held by John McAllister who scored an outstanding score of 41838740 on 5th April 2010.

Even to this day Asteroids is still a very popular classic arcade game with many consoles and phones having this game available on those devices.

asteriods game screen asteroids

In 1980 Pac-Man was released in Japan. Pac-Man was created by Toru Iwatani and was manufactured by Namco. Toru Iwatani thought of the idea for Pac-Man in 1979 while he was eating a pizza and staring at the box which had 2 slices of pizza left. This image of a pizza with a slice missing became the character known as Pac-Man.  Pac-Man was originally called Puck Man because in Japan puck-puck is their word for munching. Namco changed the name to Pac-Man when it was released in the U.S because puck sounded too similar to a swear word in English. The game was intended to get more girls playing so they created one that appealed to girls. Apparently the developers thought that girls liked food so they created a game which was based on food. They also added little cute ghosts and some funny sounds. This game didn’t just appeal to girls, boys also liked it which is what made Pac-Man the icon for games in the 1980’s.

The object of the game is to collect all the dots and avoid the ghosts. The dots in Pac-Man were originally cookies but they lost their look when the game came to the U.S. You start the game with 3 lives and as you start playing the game and eating the dots the ghosts start moving around and come after you. When you eat a big dot the ghosts change colour to blue and start moving away from you. This is your opportunity to eat the ghosts and send them back to the box they start in. In the game there are cherries which you can eat and earn bonus points. The game has 226 levels and despite how much people have tried, no one could complete the game. Until 1999 when Billy Mitchell completed every level except for level 226 because the screen is jumbled this makes it impossible to complete that level, making it the end of the game. Billy didn’t just complete the game which took him 6 hours to complete but he also completed it using only one life and achieving a perfect score of 3,333,360.

Pac-Man is still a well-known arcade game and even today many people still play it. Pac-Man can be found on the internet on different websites like Google, it can also be found on varies different consoles and mobile phones.

287623-arc_pac_man_1 pac-mans-arcade-party-home-cabinet

In 1981 Donkey Kong was released in Japan. Donkey Kong was created by Shigiru Miyamoto and was manufactured by Nintendo. Nintendo assigned Shigiru Miyamoto to create Donkey Kong by converting a poor selling arcade game Radar Scope into a game that was more appealing to gamers. Donkey Kong was originally going to be called Monkey Kong but due to a mistake made in the translation between Japanese and English the game became known as Donkey Kong even though Shigiru Miyamoto denies this but many people don’t believe him. When Donkey Kong was released it features a little man in dungarees called Jumpman. This is the first known game that has Mario in it. Jumpman’s name officially changed along with Lady the damsel in distress when Donkey Kong Jr came out. Their names changed to Mario and Pauline. The object of the game was to save Lady from Donkey Kong. Jumpman had to jump over rolling barrels thrown down by Donkey Kong and avoid other enemies to get to the top and save Lady. Jumpman could get additional points by collecting varies different items that Lady dropped on her way to the top. The game ends when you either lose all your lives or when you get to the final level and remove all the riverts in that level. The game then restarts with an increased level of difficulty. But when you get to L-22 the game ends because the timer goes to fast for you to complete it. The record for the highest score is held by Hank S. Chien on 27th February 2010 with a total of 1061700 points.

Donkey-Kong screen Donkey_Kong_arcadedonkey kong drawing

By 1985 arcade games started to lose interest, this is because home consoles were getting popular and many players would rather spend money on a console game then a few hours in on an arcade game.

In 1998 Dance Dance Revolution was released in Japan. Dance Dance Revolution was developed and published by Konami. Dance Dance Revolution was a game that got players to dance to popular songs to get the highest score. This game allowed players to compete against each other and it even got people who weren’t dancing involved by getting them to encourage the dancers and cheer them on.

The object of this game is to get as many points as you can by stepping on the arrows in time to the beat of the song. When the game starts players choose a song and then have to step on the arrows on the floor that match the arrows on the screen.

The most impressive video I have seen about the Dance Dance Revolution machine is that of a one legged player who danced on the machine and showed other people that no matter if you have one leg or two, a good dancer or not anyone can play this game and have fun. If you would like to see this video, click on the link below. It’s really impressive.

Dance_Dance_Revolution arcade_machine Dance_Dance_Revolution arcade_machine screen

In 2012 Dream Raiders was released by Sega. Dream Raiders is a two player game where players ride the dream ride and raid as many treasures as they can. The players also have to fend off attacks from different enemies with their dream blasters. This arcade machine has a wind feature and also has seats that move while you play.

While arcade machines are still being released they aren’t as popular as they once were. Many players would rather pay to buy a game for a console rather than spend their money in an arcade. The one thing that arcade machines have that other gaming devices don’t is the 4D effect where you feel the wind at you or you feel the movement in the game from the seats moving.

dreamraidcab dream raiders screen

Check out my arcade game timeline.

Arcade timeline


One thought on “Arcade

  1. Amy, this is excellent. It is hard to make any critical comment about it – the only one is possibly one you are not expecting……. maybe there is too much detail! I only say this in that there are only six hours of class time to get the rest of the pages completed. On other pages pick the “big movers / top changes” for that area. The references, links and quotes are excellent and ensure you will, if you maintain the quality achieve the highest order grades for the assessment. Well done! Paul 15/09

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