Retro video game arcades: The comeback

Posted on 5 November, 2018 by Bailey Clarke

With all the nostalgia surrounding the 80s and 90s, it’s inevitable that a revival for retro arcades seems to be making a comeback.

Amusement arcade 80s 90s

The new generation with their smart devices and home consoles are now wanting to explore what past generations experienced.

Classic arcade games

Classic games were available on arcade machines throughout the 80s and 90s. For many teenagers, this was the only way to play video games as home consoles were an expensive purchase.

It was a place to escape and catch up with friends for many youngsters in the 80s and 90s, with neon signs topped with that nostalgic feel it provided great memories for adolescents.

There were various classic arcade games throughout the decades providing different challenges and stories for their players. Some of the favourites games include Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Street Fighter, Sega Rally, Donkey Kong, Doom and Time Crisis.

Retro amusement arcades

Even though there are still amusement arcades across the UK they don’t have the spark that retro arcades had back in the day. Many modern amusement arcades provide standard coin-operated machines as well as the classic coin pusher machines. However, the retro video game machines have a huge “good old days” factor and although some modern arcades include classic game machines they don’t have the same vibe.

As the younger demographic yearn for a connection to popular decades such as the 80s, many businesses are combining old skool video game machines within their venues. They may not be classic arcades but by throwing classic game machines into the mix a youthful past time lives on.

In Manchester, Affleck’s Palace is an emporium full of a diverse range of independent sellers. The stunning building oozes nostalgia and with old video game machines placed sporadically within the venue, this is one way to provide a retro experience for the customers.

Retro video game machines are no doubt popular with a wide range of demographics. However, vintage style amusement arcades are still a rare find in the UK.

Astro City in Southend on Sea is an amusement arcade offering loads of classic games including rare ones. It’s great to see some arcades have kept the classic arcade atmosphere but as other businesses progress many of them have started to include old skool video games within totally different surroundings.

Bars with video game machines

The progression of change for pub businesses has started to see bars adapting to create a social environment not just for drinkers. In London, there are video game themed bars that have become extremely popular with their customers.

The Four Quarters is an authentic arcade bar located in Peckham, London. Selling craft beer and other drinks the extremely popular bar has a massive range of arcade video games for any fan to delve into.

Attracting new people and creating a friendly social environment in pubs and bars is imperative. Going to a bar used to be just about sitting and drinking but now people want a new way to interact with one another. That’s why many game machine themed bars have that uniqueness that customers yearn for.

It gives people the opportunity to re-explore their youth by getting to play an arcade game from the 80s and 90s. By triggering youthful memories many bars include vintage games rather than the standard gambling machines. Maybe with video themed bars, there is hope to keep the classic amusement arcade alive.



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