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ATP Podcast Episode 24: Arcades Are Not Dead

It's been a while but we're back with another podcast. This time around, MYK and I have Rip on the show to discuss the current and future status of arcades in America, as well as some thoughts on TTT2. I'm pretty sure this is the most worked up I've ever gotten on a podcast since this topic is very important to me. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy it. 

As always, If you have any questions or suggestions, don't hesitate to leave comments or contact us at






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Avoiding the Puddle Episode #24 Arcades Are Not Dead

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Reader Comments (139)

I'm living in Germany and we have like not even one Arcade here in our country and it SUCKS. I really would like to have the Console Ver of games come out faster, but there are to many positive sides of Arcades, like balancing the whole games out, etc.
I so wished we had Arcades in Germany...Playing online can be very frustating..Playing Online is like playing they can lame the shit out of you..I had one Kazuya player who seemed to only know u/f+4...and he had a statistic of sth like 1000 wins and only 100 loses...And even though I punished the shit out of him, he kept doing u/f+4...
I guess no one would play so emberassing at Arcades

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterYozakuraKuchiki

miga-oh: here's the problem with you and everyone else who's given up on arcades...

1) show up to an arcade
2) see no one
3) go back home

you could find people who may want to play. talk to them and see if they know anyone else who wants to play. create a scene. hang out with them. become a scene. promote your scene. get the word out. invite people out to play at said arcade. people show up and play and have fun. they compete and get better. good players get noticed and you get more exposure. people then want to come play with you.

now you have an active arcade scene. you'll have friends, enemies, unknowns, people testing themselves. you'll grow social skills, have interpersonal relationships, gain a place to hang out, and have experiences in real life. not many of those things you can really attain at home behind a console.

instead of being proactive, you just show up, its not how you want it, then you go home and sit on your couch. that's just lazy. anyone can sit and complain about a situation and not do anything about it. we don't need those people in the tekken community. we need people who see something it wrong and they do something to fix it so they can be satisfied.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered Commentersubt-L

Yessssss! Long live Arcades everywhere!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterIMFAMOUSMINDED

I don't usually post here but after hearing aris get pretty emotional about the topic of arcades and the fate of competitive Tekken I feel like I need to weigh in my own opinion:

Fist of all, as far as competitive gaming goes, Tekken has always been dead. Sure, you can find competition if you live in Japan, Korea but outside of these countries you are a looking at playing with a very small community and remember you are only as good as the people you play. Sure, you can play Tekken in your garage with the 20 other people that play Tekken in your city but the fact of the matter is, the scene is incredibly small compared to Street fighter. Every now and then a new Tekken comes out and there is a few months where the scene revives among the veteran players. It then goes back to being dead. This whole idea that the arcade or online scene will be as big as SF or marvel is pipe dream. Tekken players are better off moving on to games with a bigger competitive scene where the fun and pay off is.

Aris, Namco doesn't neglect the US because they are asses. There's just no money to be made over there. There are no arcades left in the US. The biggest thing Aris is not acknowledging is that Tekken is NOT for competitive gamers like you. Namco caters to casual gamers, that's why they don't care about the arcade scene in America. Why do you think Namco makes things like scenario mode and put things like rage in the game? It's to cater to casual gamers because that's where the money is at. Of course a good competitive scene helps keep the game alive in places like Japan where the arcade scene is still doing okay but other than that Tekken caters to casual people and that's where most of the money is made on.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered Commenter??????????

Let me say that, while I have no personal interest in the competitive scene, I respect this podcast for giving some interesting points of view on the arcade debates. May I offer these points for consideration:

- Is anyone actually saying let all arcades "die", international or local? I doubt this heavily; I think that, while many would disagree about the necessity of the American scene, surely they would know that the Asiatic scene is integral to the life of competitive fighting games, even if it is a downsized version. My stance is, I don't think the US arcade scene can survive for financial reasons, but I would never say let them go and fail, nor would I say let that social aspect whither.

- I think it wise also to remember that the US arcade scene needs the console/online scene too. A fighting game's viability on console is major factor for a game company to consider; remember, these are Japanese companies, and they are taking a significant extra risk every time they release a game overseas (to us). If Namco, say, is going to release TTT2 in a country that has a piddling arcade infrastructure, is it going to release an arcade version first in that region, or at all? Highly unlikely. So the console version has to do well in these regions; and an integral part of console success is online competence. If you have online/console success in an arcade-weak region, then a game company will feel more comfortable taking the risk of giving arcade machines to that region, because of the higher possibility of making money. Tekken seems to be slightly different here, but not so much that this point no longer stands.

- A lot of people here have noted that there is a 3rd choice in the fake ultimatum of "arcades or online, choose", and that is the local, offline console scene. And, to be honest, the difference between this and the US arcade scene seems a small one. From what I've seen of arcades - which, admittedly, is not much - most arcades seem to have maybe 3 max Tekken cabinets. How this is different from having a few people bring consoles and decent monitors? And it's hella cheaper than running an arcade - it takes time to build that . It can be just as social, for infinitely less money. You can get the same tension and drama, only now sitting on a couch instead of a shitty stool and some annoying punks playing fucking Guitar Hero 2 in the background or something.

- The "arcade is real, online is fake" argument will only hold temporarily. Over time, as the technology gets better and better, and the developers of games focus more and more on console-readiness, there may well be a time when the exact opposite statement is true. Gamers of the future may one day be able to argue, "the developers did not intend Tekken 8 to be run on some arcade board - it was designed to be played on PS4 and optimized for high-speed broadband, and international play. To play T8 on some hard-to-find hardware is a novelty at best, and fake at worst". I'm of the opinion that words like "fake" and "real" are entirely subjective, and don't mean terribly much anyway.

- This I'm less sure of, but aren't modern arcade boards usually modified forms of console technology? So if the hardware isn't that different, and you can get authentic-style arcade sticks, then the only real difference is that the controls aren't hardwired to the arcade board. I can live with that if it means I can have multiple styled sticks and controllers for different games (and I can play multiple games on my console - a classic argument in the arcade-console debate).

- How much good do you think is done by speaking about the US arcade culture to a Japanese game company? They know about the arcade scene - their country had immensely successful arcades for way longer than the US has, or ever will. Duh they get all the points you guys on the arcade-enthusiast side offer - they had to deal with them decades ago. The problem is the business side of things. No matter how hard you wish it, you said it yourself, "there's almost no money in running an arcade".

I've got more, but they're really just extensions of the thoughts I've already expressed. It seems to me that the attachment shown to arcades is a respectable one, but entirely emotional, and should be expressed as such. It's just not an attachment that's going to end happily for the arcade enthusiast. But, I say, keep on fighting for them anyway.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheSuna (TheBetta)

Good shit as always Aris, nice to see the podcast back after the brief hiatus

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterrinoH

I'm not complaining, that's just how it is. There's already a scene in Northern Utah that occasionally meet, but I'm not interested in joining it on a regular basis as it's full of younger players who have probably only ever played on X-Box. The fighting game boom back in 2008 brought with it a lot of dick-riders and too-friendly types. Hell, my time on my PS3 has decreased to about two hours or less a day since August. I've got other shit to do, and that's how things are going to be for me. I'm not interested in seeing the fighting game scene grow. I just want to watch it until the time when, or if, it fades away again, or shrinks considerably.

A little add-on: I'd disagree with the advice for online console players to give up on Tekken and play Starcraft or Counter Strike or whatever on their computers. Those online console players are keeping Namco in business, and once they stop buying and playing Tekken Inferior Mode... there might not be a Tekken 8.

I didn't give up on arcades, the game developers did, and I've got much less free time than I did when I was 16. Home consoles became the dominant market for fighting games, and the guys that made the games followed the money and the path of least resistance. I would love to play at the arcades if they were closer to home and attended by more than a handful of people on a Friday night, but all of the arcades within 10 miles were either closed or torn down. Now that I think of it, the arcades I did frequent didn't have very many players to begin with.

As for actively recruiting other players with "you wanna play?" Nope. Back in the day, the off the machine asked the guy on the machine for a match, or didn't ask at all and just popped their quarters in. I wasn't there to make friends, and neither were the people I liked to play against. Those are the kind of players I would have liked to challenge again. But they grew up and had kids or whatever it is people do after video games.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMiga-Oh

I don't give a shit about the arcade.
I give less of a shit about online play.

I'm all for community, and gatherings at people's houses are the way to go.
I'll be damned if 'Tekken' comes from the arcade. Bullshit. Most players play on console.

Grab a grill. Make some burgers. Invite some friends over. Play some tekken. Quit dicking around near the ticket redemption machines and the whiny children that come with them.

F8ck the arcades. It gives players a bad reputation. No employer thinks thinks positively that you're an arcade hero. But you tell them you're a f*ckin civil war re-enactor then you're quirky. If the goal is to get the public to view the game as a legitimate hobby, play with friends, and stay out of the children's funhouse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterlingmassacre

Yo it's fucking sad reading these comments from certain ppl on here who are ignorant to the fact that there would not be Tekken without it being in Arcade. Were lucky that for the past 15+years it gets ported to console. Just bc certain players have not had an emotional attachment to Arcades doesnt mean that ppl who do are going to stop supporting Arcades. I'm here in NY and even tho CTF closed down the NY scene still stayed dedicated and through blood sweat and tears we never gave up and now look Next Level is up and running and is stronger than ever. New players will never understand that "online" is a novelty. We have to stick together as a whole and support arcades because there would never be Tekken without it. Fuck scenario campaign people. People saying Arcades are dead makes me feel sick to my stomach. Negetivity wil never keep Tekken alive.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterIMFAMOUSMINDED

At one point, Tekken needed the arcades. That was ten years ago. I was seventeen. It was a great time.

Tekken can be great without arcades.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterlingmassacre

the scene is less entertaining without villians. you don't invite villians into your house. the scene has moved from the arcade to your house, and there are people you don't want in your house.

now you're at an age where conflict isn't necessary, but this young pussy ass generation of new kids are going up soft as fuck, and have the steadfast resolution of a paper bag in the wind. everything is butterflies and rainbows, everyone just wants to do good and shake hands and GG each other.

tekken scene will never be great in the home. just like the marvel will never be great again. we can fake hype and pretend we're good. but the amount of pride you have to have in the arcade will galvanize people into good players and spit the incompetent out. you can kick back and chill, but the new generation will not gain anything from it and can continue to have no resolution, no stories, no conflict, and no fun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered Commentersubt-L

You know Aris, this podcast was more profound than I initially was ready for. I must say though it really put things into perspective for me. I guess you could call me an aforementioned "online warrior", and I definitely agree with you that online is nowhere near the same as offline. I don't want to go all my life and be just some random decent online player. I am a huge fighting game fan, and I've always wanted to have that lively, competitive arcade experience.

That said, this podcast and EWGFridays have inspired me to have that experience. I am planning on spending some time in Japan later this year and I will be all over those TTT2 cabinets learning everything I can. I know I will get blown up by the players there, and it will be totally worth it. Awesome podcast, keep doing what you do Aris.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatthias

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRarelessAltima

^^^I'm really happy to hear that dude. I hope you have an awesome time. I deffinetely want to go to Japan one day. And to Ling Massacre. ........No one said that Tekken can't be fun on consoles bro. Listen to the podcast again, It's about ppl in this community saying that Arcades are dead when they themselves are not even trying to keep it alive by starting something on their own. The resources are out there like TZ for example. kinda sorry to here you say that bc I know that you started in the Arcade too.If arcades die then Tekken dies. And you can't say im wrong.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterIMFAMOUSMINDED

Any business that has to beg or guilt people into using it isn't successful or anything to be proud of.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat

"I'll be damned if 'Tekken' comes from the arcade. Bullshit. "

I have no idea wtf youre trying to say with that. #1 - Tekken started in arcades.. sooo it COMES.. from arcades #2 - if youre talking about the community aspect of it all, that started at arcades too, THEN moved offline. So yes, it still COMES from the arcade..

Maybe 'Tekken' just means having bbqs with friends over.. in that case.. I think youre confusing your terminology but you should probably look up Jim Ross


All have played in arcades. Hell, even Anakin started in arcades. There probably isn't a single top player in this country who has never been to an arcade even though most are pad players! So yes, lets drop arcades and then our tournaments can be dominated by all of the never-been-to-arcades who are also never-placed-in-offline-tournaments.

Separately, for the offline vs arcade argument - there is a key difference here as well. Paying for each game. You can play me offline 5 games, and I really won't care how much I win/lose unless youre destroying me. Put me in an arcade, and within 2 straight losses I'm going to try damn hard that 3rd game. Arcade breeds real competition because theres always something on the line.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRip

Fucking good post.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 7:36 PM | Registered CommenterAris

I'm with some of the others here that have said screw "online is the only option". Find one friend and teach them to play. That's 100% better than online. Play decent offline comp then move to online and you will hate it. I'm in the middle of no where and I have one friend that loves the game as much as I do. I would take that over online every time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarstow Mike

Bottom line is we have to support Arcades bc that is where Tekken comes from.It's meant for the Arcade. Without Arcades Tekken,Street Fighter,and so manyothers would not be sucessful. We have to suppoprt our game. I hope SC5 doesnt abbandon the Arcade market. That would be a bad move. Just look at SC3,and SC4 for example.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterIMFAMOUSMINDED

Here is the problem with having a communities without any active arcade scene.

"I'm all for community, and gatherings at people's houses are the way to go.
I'll be damned if 'Tekken' comes from the arcade. Bullshit. Most players play on console.

Grab a grill. Make some burgers. Invite some friends over. Play some tekken. Quit dicking around near the ticket redemption machines and the whiny children that come with them."

Did you read what you just wrote? ... INVITE some friends over.

what if you AREN'T friends with some of the local players? ... what if there are good players that you'd rather not have at your house? ... what if you live in a community where people really just don't have the SPACE to hold 10+ people and 3-4 setups? .... ever thought about that?

the biggest issue regarding that quote is the word Invite. With an arcade scene, arcades are not invitation-only. people come and go as they choose, you can setup a big gathering or tournament anytime ... and most importantly, people can walk in an out of an arcade when they choose. if I have an urge to play tekken, I don't want to be stuck at home on a friday night because X player cannot host for the weekend... I want to walk into a place where they can be people there playing at any given time.

arcade TTT2? yes please. if there is an arcade that gets it, I KNOW there will be people playing at any given time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPane

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