|Download Quicktime 33Mb
||They don't make 'em like this anymore.
Almost all shopping malls had them. Usually hidden away from the heavy traffic areas where all the electronic bleeps and screaming adolescents couldn't disturb the regular shoppers. Walk down the long hallway passed the J.C. Penney's, the Hickory Farms, and even the Sunglass Hut. There was the arcade. A small room bursting with the sights, sounds and even smells of technology, innovation and entertainment. A social atmosphere where a generation of kids who grew up in the late 70's/early 80's spent their time, allowances, and hard-earned fast food paychecks.
It was a place of innovation. Each week less profitable videogames were being replaced by new games with new ideas. The videogame industry was still in its infancy and the tried-and-true game formulas of today were just being developed. Quake was slowly blasting its way into history from its humble beginnings as Berzerk. Donkey Kong was slowly climbing the evolutionary ladder to Tomb Raider. The road trip from Pole Position to Gran Turismo was just picking up speed. And still other titles like Pac-Man, Q*Bert and Tempest defied easy categorization.
Names like Atari, Williams, Midway and Namco were king. The Atari 2600, the dominant home videogame system, successfully captured much of the gameplay of the arcade titles but lacked the flashy presentation of the arcades. The best the home computer market could offer was the Commodore-64. Playstation, Game Cube and XBox were still decades away.
And there was more than just video games. Televisions hanging from the ceiling were tuned into the latest Van Halen and Michael Jackson videos. Speakers blasted the newest sounds from bands like Journey, Styx, Def Leppard and The Police. Mechanical crane games were stuffed with Bloom County toys, Pac-Man keychains, Rubik's Cubes and other icons of the era. Blue Jeans jackets stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the game controls and the only thing taller than the backlit game marquees were the hairdos.
Take a trip back in time
Thanks to the efforts of talented programmers from around the world many of those games are now playable on our home computers for free with programs like MAME, the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. But sitting alone in front of your PCs monitor is a poor substitute for the classic arcade experience.
Arcade '84 is my attempt at recreating the atmosphere of the classic arcades. It's a 3-minute+ trip through an imaginary arcade circa 1984 entirely rendered in 3D computer graphics. The arcade is filled with more than 30 unique games presented in their original cabinets and decorated with their original artwork and animated game graphics. Video games, laser disc games, pinball games, crane games and even change machines are all included. A video wall in the rear of the room displays actual clips of music videos from Van Halen, Michael Jackson, Blondie, Devo and more. Actual game sound effects can be heard from all corners of the room while Journey's "Stone in Love" is playing on the radio over the arcade's audio system. Across the hall from the arcade is a record store displaying popular album covers in the window and a movie theater is showing "The Empire Strikes Back" and the first popular movie to feature computer graphics, "Tron."
The Quicktime version of Arcade '84 includes some interesting interactive features:
Not a Journey fan? No problem. Click anywhere in the left half of the video window to disable the music track. Click the right half of the window to enable the music track. Movie sound effects are unaffected. Insert a music CD in your computer, turn off the built-in music track, and play the movie with the your choice of music while still hearing the game sound effects.
Quicktime 5+ users will also have access to the chapter list menu. Instantly jump to any section of the movie by selecting it in the chapter list.
Special thanks to Nathan Strum, Zakk, Dave Weston, the MacMAME message board regulars, and the rec.games.video.arcade.collecting newsgroup for their input in the creation of Arcade '84.
Thanks to Jeffrey Carl at ServInt for providing the space for CinemArcade
All content © Dave Dries unless otherwise stated