Arcade machines are largely perceived to be a dead form of gaming, but nothing could be further from the truth. In Australia, especially, these classic gaming systems are experiencing a resurgence of popularity and are more desirable than ever. Let’s look at some evidence of arcade gaming’s popularity, and consider why this trend has been gaining traction with Aussie gamers.
The Growth of Arcades in Australia
To see how arcade games have grown in Australia, you need look no further than the PAX Australia conference. This gathering has been held every year since 2004 as a way for Aussies to come together and celebrate their favorite aspects of new and classic video games.
While a large part of this conference is all about showing off the latest consoles and new titles, an equally large portion of the event is centered on both competitive and casual arcade gaming. During these parts of PAX Australia, gamers will either play arcade games with friends or compete for prize money against some of the most talented arcade masters in the world. This is a huge conference and draws thousands of people every year by appealing to arcade gamers alone, but why are arcade machines suddenly becoming so popular?
Here’s the thing about arcade gaming: it never really went away. While the public eye may have moved on, developers have kept creating new and exciting releases for arcade systems, and gamers have been eating it up for decades. 2016 alone saw huge releases like “Luigi Mansion Arcade” and “Ultra Race” that each sold thousands of copies across the world, and hundreds of those went to Australia.
It isn’t just about the new content, though. Many people who grew up playing arcade games have become disillusioned with the modern gaming scene, and view new online co-op modes and high-resolution graphics as useless filler with no real place in gaming for entertainment. To these people, arcade gaming is the last bastion of the childhood fun they remember, and they’re not about to let go of it.
Of course, there are some additional grievances that push Aussie gamers into the arms of arcade gaming. Not only do most new video game releases cost an arm and a leg in Australia, thanks to publishers artificially inflating the prices, but plenty of these games don’t release in Australia at all or, if they do, game publishers charge higher prices to Aussies for online services. It’s an unfair system that has, for the better part of a decade, made the idea of conventional gaming completely repelling to plenty of Aussies.
Games for arcade systems, on the other hand, are one-time purchases that, while not exactly cheap, have a limitless amount of replay value. Instead of purchasing a new game every month, Australians can use a local arcade console for a fraction of the price.
The Future of Arcade Gaming in Australia
It’s hard to predict the future, but arcade machines have been gaining traction in Australia for years. As conferences like PAX Australia continue to offer arcade-focused gaming and new, exciting games are released via arcade consoles, it seems inevitable that Australia will become the home for this new wave of arcade gaming.