Pixels 34 – VR babies and man crushes

On this episode we discuss:

  • Nintendo and mobile games
  • VR delays and hopes
  • Blizzard corner
  • Quantum Break, Stardew Valley
  • And more…

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  1. I live in South East Asia and there is an arcade game called “Initial D Arcade Stage 8” that I play, which is a racing game with a pretty high learning curve. One of the things you can do is play online and we are connected to the Japanese servers. For playing this game for over two years (and another four years before that on Arcade Stage 6 and 7), there are hundreds of Japanese arcades with this game (we know because we see the name of the arcade our opponent is playing in when we play them). Compared to most other countries, it’s a pretty vibrant arcade scene.

    In addition to that, I was in Japan at the end of 2014 and I’m pretty sure there are a lot of “gamer” games still in Japanese arcades, especially relative to the rest of the world. There some games pretty interesting games that I have seen, including this one game which is sort of like a hybrid between a third person brawl game but with light gun elements. As an arcade enthusiast, it was pretty damn nice to see that Japanese arcades are still innovating. Of course there are plenty of other things like UFO Catchers and Pachinkos too.

    Whenever someone pictures arcades these days, they usually imagine just a machine with a coin slot. Compared to its haydays in the US some decades back, arcades have brought in a lot of innovation seen in other parts of gaming especially Japanese games. Many games such as Gundam vs Gundam, Mai Mai, Tekken, Midnight Tune, Initial D make use of cards and even use of online features.

    As someone who is a “normal” gamer and an arcade gamer, I feel that nothing is able to replicate the arcade experience and even in my home country, arcades are pretty full on weekends. Initial D for example have subscription service that allows you to get some cool online features like being able to create teams and all that and the latest version even brought in microtransactions, which strangely enough was handled pretty well IMO (some people might ask how microtransactions work on an arcade game game, I guess it might be too complicated to explain). Though some of the reasons why people still go to the arcades is because these games are “exclusive” there and hence you cannot buy and play them on consoles minus some exceptions like Tekken and Gundam vs Gundam. Sega for example, have not released an Initial D game for the home console since Version 4.

    For the record, I don’t think what Patrick said about “gamer games” being in decline is wrong, I can imagine that happening as mobile games get more popular. However, I thought the way he framed it in the discussion was that they were no longer there which I’m pretty sure is not true (I don’t think he meant anything by it, I’m sure he’s just saying what he sees much like how I am doing the same thing). The Japanese arcade industry is in decline, and I have even heard that Namco has temporarily stopped all releases of new arcade games in February because machine sales are down a lot but “real gamer games” are still there I’m sure – for now at least. The future might not be so good for the arcade industry unfortunately.

    I also lived in the US for a few years in the US (and even had a trip where I travelled to a lot of cities and checked their arcades), so visiting Japan as well as knowing how the arcade scene in my home country and contrasting all three was interesting. From what I see, the “non gamer games” thing in arcades is more prevalent in the US than it is in Japan. For some reason, a lot of US arcade game makers have gone it more though I guess from what Patrick is saying, Japan is starting to pick that up as well.

    (Shameless plug: Initial D Arcade Stage 8 is the best arcade game I’ve played and have easily spent hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars on it and I am also someone who plays the big popular racing games on consoles. Sega gets a lot of flak for their game development in recent times and rightly so but the development team behind this series is just great because the entire series except no 4 has been great racing games in their own right and how they can revamp the physics each entry and make it feel fun and challenging is great. Please continue to make more, Sega. Let me give you my money!)

    Also Patrick, you are my favorite DTNS contributor. Really missed you on the show last week as well as Pixels. Keep up the good work.

    • You’re right, I might have overstated it a bit. There are certainly “gamer” games in the arcades, but it is a shock to see how much *fewer* there are now compared to a couple of years ago and even more 15 years ago. There are even giant entertainment centers with nothing but those pesky UFA catchers and rhythm games… But yes, I was a bit inaccurate for sure. Thanks for the correction!

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