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quantumpotato
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« on: November 19, 2016, 10:14:42 am »

What indie games exist in a physical arcade? And have they made  Hand Money Left ?

I know of:

http://killerqueenarcade.com/ which sells boxes for ~12k (wow).

Max Gentlemen was made for a Chicago Indie Meetup http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/3/14/4090234/community-service-the-story-of-chicagos-indie-city-arcade-cabinet and switched to Steam game

There was one about a guy trying to seduce a nurse in a hospital.. don't remember the name or details.

http://www.griffinaerotech.com/skycurser/ Skycursor uses some device they made to load onto JAMMA systems so you can use existing arcade cabinets. They are in a few cities in the US, selling boxes + game to arcade owners.

I saw a mini-travel log about arcade games in Japan -- super cool -- I'm looking for indie, low budget ones.

So, who else has made physical arcade games in recent years? Success stories? Failures?
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2016, 02:20:42 am »

I made From scratch a cabinet in the shape of the childhood classic Mortal Kombat, it houses all old console and arcade emulators and uses and old dell to run it. It's call Louis's Arcade after my son and I'm in planning stages of a sci-fi platformer with him as the character...

Onto the cabinet itself:
It wouldn't be hard to find a way to get it to boot up a game from a Raspberry or desktop

http://www.diyarcade.com/
Have a lot of gear to build one from scratch and you can find flatpack lowboy cabinets on Ebay for 300-400 bucks...
It kinda makes it a bit more fun to have that extra layer of work into game design, I recommend trying it at least once.
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Richard Kain
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 12:17:50 pm »

http://killerqueenarcade.com/ which sells boxes for ~12k (wow).

I'm not sure if you've played Killer Queen, but the size of the unit itself is titanic. It is a massive arcade, and requires two units by default. So it's big to begin with, and you always have to have it x2. 12K is actually quite reasonable when you consider how much material and construction goes into it, as well as the custom software running it.

In fact, you're going to see similar prices for most full-sized arcade cabinets. Thanks to the "death" of the traditional arcade, it is very rare to see actual arcades that monetize the games themselves. The margins on pay-to-play games are just too low for the amount of time being spent playing them. And the margins for arcade cabinet creators themselves are also quite low. The majority of arcades cabinets these days are usually produced in very small numbers, or are specifically commissioned, making them much more of a custom specialty item. Even a fairly generic MAME-style box would probably fetch no less than $2,000 USD these days. And that's just for a fairly standard-sized one with two-player controls.

Indie arcade development is possible, but it is far from common, and you will be hard pressed to find buyers for a more traditional arcade experience. You would be better off coming up with a local-multiplayer concept, integrating it with a different monetization path, and then producing a stand-alone version that can run in a specific location.
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Richard Kain
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2016, 09:56:05 am »

The problem with the arcades is monetization. Arcades were part of a different world, and you paid for them in a different way. Now the world has changed, and what used to drive arcades is no longer relevant. Hardly anyone even carries coins anymore. And no one wants to swipe a credit card to play a game. Thanks to their archaic monetization model, arcades were always designed around short-form, immediate gameplay experiences. The player was expected to play for a minute or two at most, before needing to shuffle in another quarter. Even the best players could beat a game in under half an hour, and would then have to pay again. But in this day and age that style of immediate gameplay is already handily covered in the mobile space. You can get a similar experience on the phone you carry in your pocket, at a fraction of the price.

There's still plenty of value in the actual idea of a physically located game. This is particularly true in the case of local multiplayer, experiencing games together with friends and strangers in a shared physical space. That has always been a powerful experience, and a game tied to a physical location provides a focal point for that. But in order to take advantage of that focal point properly, designers will need to distance themselves from the arcade's original monetization model, and all of the limitations that came along with it.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 08:32:00 am »

http://killerqueenarcade.com/ which sells boxes for ~12k (wow).
Indie arcade development is possible, but it is far from common, and you will be hard pressed to find buyers for a more traditional arcade experience. You would be better off coming up with a local-multiplayer concept, integrating it with a different monetization path, and then producing a stand-alone version that can run in a specific location.

What would a different monetization path be?
Upsilon Circuit (8 players limited seating, only 1 instance, played worldwide, spectators can spend $ to change gameplay) is exploring "pay-to-support" / "pay-to-troll", I could see that being run as a local event.

I've started developing a game that would be played by a group of people, only 4 active at a time with more queued. Very quick rounds and each time 1-4 players would lose and new ones would come back in. I think it could fit with a phoneapp as a way to buy credist & queue plays (each play could be cheap).. personally I think there's some value in players spending money to compete publically - impress your friends, perform for an audience, and there's something more at risk when you spend money -- taking it seriously as opposed to just goofing off at homeconsole.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 08:34:32 am »

I made From scratch a cabinet in the shape of the childhood classic Mortal Kombat, it houses all old console and arcade emulators and uses and old dell to run it. It's call Louis's Arcade after my son and I'm in planning stages of a sci-fi platformer with him as the character...

Onto the cabinet itself:
It wouldn't be hard to find a way to get it to boot up a game from a Raspberry or desktop

http://www.diyarcade.com/
Have a lot of gear to build one from scratch and you can find flatpack lowboy cabinets on Ebay for 300-400 bucks...
It kinda makes it a bit more fun to have that extra layer of work into game design, I recommend trying it at least once.


Cool!
You may like talking with http://spriteboxarcade.com/ - they want to build indie cabinets
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 11:58:38 am »

I think it could fit with a phoneapp as a way to buy credist & queue plays (each play could be cheap).. personally I think there's some value in players spending money to compete publically - impress your friends, perform for an audience, and there's something more at risk when you spend money -- taking it seriously as opposed to just goofing off at homeconsole.

A tie-in phone app was actually one of the ideas I was thinking of as well. People don't want to pay at a physical location, and they don't particularly want to pay in bite-sized chunks. But they are being increasingly trained to pay for things using their phones, and in games that come on their phones. Even if a phone app were just a type of front-end interface for an arcade game, it would still be a more appealing means of convincing people to spend money on your arcade game. You could make the base version of the arcade game free-to-play. But if a user wants to pair their phone-app profile to the arcade and get a ranking on the arcade, they would have to "spend" an in-app token in order to do it. And in-app tokens can be purchased from the phone-app.

If you're doing a 2-player style fighting game, anyone playing the game for free can be booted out of their game by a different player stepping up and putting in their in-app token. If the first player is currently playing a ranked play-through, such an action would result in an immediate "challenge" match. A record of all such matches would be stored on the local machine for a week or more, and would be placed into regular rotation for the "attract" mode.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2016, 05:40:44 pm »

I think it could fit with a phoneapp as a way to buy credist & queue plays (each play could be cheap).. personally I think there's some value in players spending money to compete publically - impress your friends, perform for an audience, and there's something more at risk when you spend money -- taking it seriously as opposed to just goofing off at homeconsole.

A tie-in phone app was actually one of the ideas I was thinking of as well. People don't want to pay at a physical location, and they don't particularly want to pay in bite-sized chunks. But they are being increasingly trained to pay for things using their phones, and in games that come on their phones. Even if a phone app were just a type of front-end interface for an arcade game, it would still be a more appealing means of convincing people to spend money on your arcade game. You could make the base version of the arcade game free-to-play. But if a user wants to pair their phone-app profile to the arcade and get a ranking on the arcade, they would have to "spend" an in-app token in order to do it. And in-app tokens can be purchased from the phone-app.

If you're doing a 2-player style fighting game, anyone playing the game for free can be booted out of their game by a different player stepping up and putting in their in-app token. If the first player is currently playing a ranked play-through, such an action would result in an immediate "challenge" match. A record of all such matches would be stored on the local machine for a week or more, and would be placed into regular rotation for the "attract" mode.

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear someone else thinking about this!
This is exactly the kind of system I think is the future of modern arcades..

I envision seeing a "queue" off to the side of the game, showing who's up next. With maybe icons for ranks or powerups. I think spectators should be able to purchase powerups for people playing and similarly, players should purchase powerups / customize their game before starting eg. selecting equipment loadout, spending persistent currency (in-game or cross-game) on powerups like an extra HP, special weapon.

I hadn't thought about F2P & then paid players booting others out - that could be a good compromise for allowing people to play + encouraging payment.
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 10:40:07 am »

Not mention that you could also have a pop-up message come from the phone app when someone in the queue's turn has come up. So they wouldn't have to be standing in a line waiting to play, they can put their digital coin on the machine for "nexts" and then their phone will just automatically alert them when their turn to play has arrived. Anything you can do to make the player's general experience smoother and more pleasant is good.

It's unfortunate that more people aren't exploring this type of gameplay experience. There's a much bigger up-front commitment in terms of resources and space. But bringing people together in a physical space represents all sorts of opportunities for unique interactions that just don't happen on-line. The potential is staggering, and not just for superficial "party" games.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 11:56:48 am »

Not mention that you could also have a pop-up message come from the phone app when someone in the queue's turn has come up. So they wouldn't have to be standing in a line waiting to play, they can put their digital coin on the machine for "nexts" and then their phone will just automatically alert them when their turn to play has arrived. Anything you can do to make the player's general experience smoother and more pleasant is good.

It's unfortunate that more people aren't exploring this type of gameplay experience. There's a much bigger up-front commitment in terms of resources and space. But bringing people together in a physical space represents all sorts of opportunities for unique interactions that just don't happen on-line. The potential is staggering, and not just for superficial "party" games.

 Hand Clap

Yep. Another possibility is that of players affecting a shared space. I think Chainworld did this? But the designer told the players not to talk about the game IIRC.

Better example is Nethack on a LAN or with Hearse - players share bones files and can come across levels that other players died upon. I think you could do something like this for an arcade game like.. have a boss with a million hitpoints that's optional to fight. Players continuously whittle it down when they fight it and eventually, weeks or months later, defeating that boss opens up new sections of the game for everyone at the arcade.

One thing that concerns me is the need for an internet connection at the arcade site, but I think those are fairly reliable these days.
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2016, 01:48:14 pm »

One thing that concerns me is the need for an internet connection at the arcade site, but I think those are fairly reliable these days.

If you just need to establish a connection between a dedicated location device and a mobile device, an internet connection is not necessary. There are several different options, all with differing levels of convenience. You could pair the mobile device to the arcade via Bluetooth. You could install a WiFi router to the arcade and connect to the established wireless network from the mobile device, even if no internet was involved. And if you just need to transfer some data, you could install an NFC reader on the arcade, and have people place their mobile device on a pre-determined panel. There is actually quite a bit of flexibility here. WiFi routers are way cheaper than they used to be, and much smaller as well. If you could streamline the network selection, possibly through the app itself, this would be one of the better options. (as virtually all mobile devices have a WiFi option)

Of course, if you're doing monetization, that WOULD probably have to be done through the internet. But for that you can basically assume that the user will rely on their own mobile internet data connection. And the actual data that you would need for performing those sorts of interactions would be minimal. Data for the transaction and spending of a digital good would have to go over the internet, but the local processing for the game itself wouldn't.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2016, 09:11:40 am »

One thing that concerns me is the need for an internet connection at the arcade site, but I think those are fairly reliable these days.

If you just need to establish a connection between a dedicated location device and a mobile device, an internet connection is not necessary. There are several different options, all with differing levels of convenience. You could pair the mobile device to the arcade via Bluetooth. You could install a WiFi router to the arcade and connect to the established wireless network from the mobile device, even if no internet was involved. And if you just need to transfer some data, you could install an NFC reader on the arcade, and have people place their mobile device on a pre-determined panel. There is actually quite a bit of flexibility here. WiFi routers are way cheaper than they used to be, and much smaller as well. If you could streamline the network selection, possibly through the app itself, this would be one of the better options. (as virtually all mobile devices have a WiFi option)

Of course, if you're doing monetization, that WOULD probably have to be done through the internet. But for that you can basically assume that the user will rely on their own mobile internet data connection. And the actual data that you would need for performing those sorts of interactions would be minimal. Data for the transaction and spending of a digital good would have to go over the internet, but the local processing for the game itself wouldn't.

So if a player buys a powerup on their phone, how to let the arcade machine know? Include some encrypted message or a hash to send over and say "Hey, Richard Kain bought the Silver Armor"?
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2016, 09:55:58 am »

So if a player buys a powerup on their phone, how to let the arcade machine know? Include some encrypted message or a hash to send over and say "Hey, Richard Kain bought the Silver Armor"?

If the arcade is reading the data off the phone, no real encryption is necessary. The only area where you need security is between the phone and the on-line store. Trying to "charge" from the arcade is where you start running into issues. So don't do it. Just have the transactions take place on the phone. The arcade can simply be reading profile information from the phone.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2016, 08:38:04 pm »

So if a player buys a powerup on their phone, how to let the arcade machine know? Include some encrypted message or a hash to send over and say "Hey, Richard Kain bought the Silver Armor"?

If the arcade is reading the data off the phone, no real encryption is necessary. The only area where you need security is between the phone and the on-line store. Trying to "charge" from the arcade is where you start running into issues. So don't do it. Just have the transactions take place on the phone. The arcade can simply be reading profile information from the phone.

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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2017, 09:57:29 am »

Well, my diversion to PICO-8 development got me into PocketCHIP and Picade. And Picade, although a single-player tabletop system... kinda got me going on this sort of thing. Arcading was always more a social thing, anyhow.

I've seen the ones that do thrive here in the PNW are often becoming bars now. Or dedicating 60% of their floor space to becoming ticket-game casinos for minors, basically.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2017, 10:53:42 am »

Well, my diversion to PICO-8 development got me into PocketCHIP and Picade. And Picade, although a single-player tabletop system... kinda got me going on this sort of thing. Arcading was always more a social thing, anyhow.

I've seen the ones that do thrive here in the PNW are often becoming bars now. Or dedicating 60% of their floor space to becoming ticket-game casinos for minors, basically.

They're becoming bars after success or the bar makes them thrive?

Those tickets.. I've seen those at grocery stores, it's disgusting. Spin the roulette wheel for $1.00 and get tickets that can be redeemed for a cheap toy or some crap.
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2017, 09:31:05 am »

The transition to bars was an obvious choice. The mark-up on alcohol is far better than what you make off of the arcade machines themselves. And the older clientele that a bar attracts now have serious nostalgia for older arcade machines, which are easier and cheaper to acquire, and cheaper to maintain. (usually less specialized equipment, potential for emulation, cheap PCBs, etc...) I personally don't favor this kind of approach, but I don't particularly care for loud, crowded spaces.

This weekend, while we had some family in town, I had a chance to set up a game of Fibbage with 6+ people. This is one of the games in the Jackbox Party Pack. It uses several of the social multiplayer techniques that I've been wanting to try in my own designs. It was a rousing success, everyone enjoyed playing, and even asked to play again the next day. And pretty much everyone that I conducted this experiment with was 50 years old or older, and didn't have a history of playing video games. Providing a low barrier to entry and simple social mechanics is a great way to handle local multiplayer.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2017, 06:57:01 pm »

The transition to bars was an obvious choice. The mark-up on alcohol is far better than what you make off of the arcade machines themselves. And the older clientele that a bar attracts now have serious nostalgia for older arcade machines, which are easier and cheaper to acquire, and cheaper to maintain. (usually less specialized equipment, potential for emulation, cheap PCBs, etc...) I personally don't favor this kind of approach, but I don't particularly care for loud, crowded spaces.

This weekend, while we had some family in town, I had a chance to set up a game of Fibbage with 6+ people. This is one of the games in the Jackbox Party Pack. It uses several of the social multiplayer techniques that I've been wanting to try in my own designs. It was a rousing success, everyone enjoyed playing, and even asked to play again the next day. And pretty much everyone that I conducted this experiment with was 50 years old or older, and didn't have a history of playing video games. Providing a low barrier to entry and simple social mechanics is a great way to handle local multiplayer.

Great data point, thank you! And glad ya'll had fun.
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