I hadn’t thought about this much as frankly speaking, I’ve actually not been paying too much attention to the classics I grew up with until recently. They can take care of themselves in terms of their familiar gameplay and assorted visual styles holding up, but things are certainly a lot more grim on the technical side. Nostalgia is indeed wonderful when it does what it does and makes you smile, but today’s gamers are getting the shorter end of the stick despite having better, faster (and yes, more expensive) ways to play games.
Sure, today’s fast-moving technology is great and all, but sometimes “vintage” is more acceptable for some things for a few very key reasons. According to a press release I got from the fine folks at Dream Arcades yesterday, the lack of new CRT’s is probably going to affect their bottom line at some point (and sooner that they’d like) and will probably signal the death of another central core of vintage gaming history…
“We have only about thirty Vision 29 arcades, which come with the CRT monitor, in stock. After that, there will be no more big-screen CRT arcades,” says, Michael Ware, Founder & “Head Geek” of Dream Arcades. “By the end of the year, we’ll be forced to discontinue using CRT monitors all together, even in our smaller cocktail systems.”
This is due to the fact that in recent years nearly every major CRT manufacturer has gone out of business or moved to newer technologies, meaning the days of CRT monitor are numbered.
Besides the old-school feel, there are other benefits of CRT technology over the newer monitors. “For retro gaming the advantages of CRT over LCD are numerous,” Ware says. “Refresh rate, supported resolutions, and pixel blur are just the big ones. LCD monitors just weren’t made for retro gaming.”
Of course, modern tech as well as the folks at Atari, pinballarcades.com and Zen Studios would disagree, as they’ve made money by getting classic pinball tables and arcade hits from the past onto mobile platforms and handhelds for a while now. That and the more expensive OLED screens and now Apple’s iOS only (and more expensive) Retina Display combined with better emulation techniques could deal with the lousy fuzzed out/mushy look most older, non HD “remixed” arcade classics take on when viewed on LCD or other higher definition monitors. The huge caveat here is cost, as tablets, phones and handhelds require a bigger long-run financial commitment (and eventual replacement too often in this era of one device doing it all, then getting dumped before it’s ACTUAL lifespan is over).
Granted, Dream Arcades’ makes custom standalone arcade machines or “cocktail table” sized units that are more for home use (or bar owners with VERY careful clientele) and yes, will require maintenance at some point down the road. But as you can probably guess, there’s a huge difference between a stand-up or table arcade game and a pocket sized screenie-weenie that’s going to destroy your eyeballs if you keep squinting into it. Sure, I love my classic games and yes, I love when this generation of too-jaded “gimme it for free or a dollar!” gamers sees that they’re cool on iOS, Android or other mobile formats.
That said, there’s NOTHING like playing an arcade game in its ORIGINAL format with a bunch of buddies around to share the fun. For all it’s trendsetting and cash cow ways for some people who just see it as a means to make money hand over fist (before the bottom falls out again), there’s a certain “soul” missing from a part of the industry I can’t put a finger on. Eh, then again unless they’re self-publishing or aren’t letting themselves be stomped on by some bean-counters, game developers seem to get the same treatment no matter what era it is. At the end of the day, you can take your modern mobile, social and Wi-Fi gaming and shove it in a trash can. Which is where it ends up whenever the internet goes down (or hell, people finally and hopefully start getting tired of giving up their privacy rights just to get their game on when they want to)…