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Aww time spent together...in competitive gaming trying to get the highest score.
My girlfriend and I are huge Dave and Busters fans. Food, drinks, and arcade games are a perfect
combination. We play traditional arcade
co-op from over the shoulder game watching to two player shooters, usually an
iteration of Time Crisis, to two player turn based gaming, notably hunting
games, to a head to head competition, one day I will beat her at that
basketball shootout. Sure, tokens are
replaced by a swipe of credits off of a preloaded card but tickets still pop
out of the game machines. We have gamed
together for about 6 years and have amassed roughly 20,000+ tickets on a shared
card. With our ticket riches we can
afford an Xbox 360 video game, most are about 13,000 tickets. I ask her if we can get a game each time but
we keep looking for an expensive ticket item that we both want, I vetoed the
collection of mini NFL helmets of all 32 teams.
Mobile to the very large HD screen is a new trend.
With the summer come new arcade games. Mobile games are now big arcade hits. This summer alone the new games included big
HD screens for Doodle Jump, Temple Run, and Cut The Rope. Doodle Jump is quite fun as a one life
platformer compelling an aspiration to greater heights by not missing a single
platform for a higher ticket reward. Temple
Run has the same limited fun for me in the arcade as it does on my smartphone
with its repeated turn, jump, and slide in our hero's never ending escape from
the temple's none too pleased denizens.
Cut The Rope provides a couple of rotating puzzles and tickets are
earned based on both time spent solving the puzzle and stars collected.
My girlfriend enjoys games but she is not an avid
gamer. She tinkers with her Nintendo DS
Lite, occasionally she tries for the achievements in Sonic 2 that I downloaded
on my Xbox 360 for her, she watched me play the entirety of Telltale Game's The
Walking Dead, we popped games in the Sega Genesis trading the controller
between turns and we passed an iPad back and forth playing The Little Inferno. The dual analog sticks of the modern consoles
remain intimidating for her. At our
latest Dave and Buster's adventures we noticed a slew of new co-op games
available or new to us at least. While
she may not entirely grasp why I sink hours into gaming from inventory
management (looking at you Skyrim) to dying multiple times on a boss only to
look up internet tips and try again (I am on my fourth attempt of the Grand
Staff boss in Lost Odyssey) at Dave and Buster's we get to play together.
The shark head atop the game is what actually convinced us to try the game out.
We found a reboot or due to the updated arcade cabinet, a
redesign of ICE's Harpoon Lagoon, an under the sea scene set up like a table
top board game with 4 sets of controls for simultaneous play by four
people. Each player has a set number of
harpoons and spears fish aiming for the highest weight amount total. The bigger the fish, the larger the weight
but the large fish such as sharks are surrounded by other teeny tiny fish. My gaming savvy zeroed me in on a florescent
jellyfish swimming in the screen's center around an open treasure chest and
surrounded by various fishes. With no
instructions, only the gaming knowledge to aim for glowing items in games, I
nabbed the jellyfish and won a 1,000 ticket payout. My girlfriend kept asking how "I knew" to aim
for the jellyfish. Gamer "pro" tip:
Items glowing as if infused with radiation are always important.
Large fish are guarded by schools of small fish but the jellyfish (not pictured here) was no match for my "superior" harpooning.
Two other people joined the game as the lights flashed
advertising my victory on the two remaining controls and one hooked the hard to
get shark for a 60 ticket payout. We
congratulated complete strangers because we are momentary friends while gaming.
Despite the grandiose arcade cabinet the interior is simply a booth with guns but the experience is fun time looking for buried treasure.
However, a new co-op type is slowly earning our attention,
the couple co-op game. These games can
be played with friends or family but are marketed towards a couple's
teamwork. This started with a pirate
game, Namco's Deadstorm Pirates, a booth that provided machine guns (that the
game characters used as pistols), a bench for sitting, and a wheel in between
the two gamers. Plus, the two on screen
avatars are a man and a woman with corresponding gamer reticle colors as blue
and pink respectively but I will not diverge onto societal stereotypes
regarding gender. We have played
Deadstorm Pirates previously to completion but felt ready for another
playthrough. We set a shared card loaded
with credits on the arcade dash so that we both had equal access upon a death
and settled in.
The pink and blue health bars and reticles are matched with the "appropriate" gender character, gender stereotypes live on.
With much talk nowadays about the Oculus Rift much is said
imagining a true virtual reality experience.
Huddled in a booth with my girlfriend, we were in the experience
together, we shouted encouragement and calls for help, laughed and high fived
after a successful boss battle that required coordination and teamwork. We were not connected via online avatars but
physically able to pat each other on the back for a successful level
completion. The wheel required that we
either work together or designate one of us to navigate our ship, raft, or mine
cart but required that we turn the wheel in unison due to the strength required
to avoid crashing the ship. We compared
our gunfire accuracy scores and played to the end despite a typical throwaway
arcade story to keep the experience going until the very end.
A new booth game sat in the middle of the floor constantly
with a couple either inside and another couple waiting that we always wandered
to another game while we waited. My curiosity
about a new arcade game that was not a mobile game port was piqued and finally
we parked ourselves as second in line.
The booth's curtain hung so low that we could not see even a glimpse of
the screen; all we could view was the calves of the two gamers.
We spent the entire evening trying to peek into the booth like a pair of weirdos.
The game was Namco's, Dark Escape 4D. We were unsure what we would experience once
we sat down. The game was advertised as
4D. Sitting in the booth, we put on 3D
glasses, picked up a gun peripheral that measured our heartbeats to assess our
state of panic, bursts of air hit us both in the face and in the back of the
neck as the undead horde attacked, the seat vibrated, and the booth had
surround sound for both players. The
experience was definitely fun.
Co-op play requires trash talking the person who got the most panic attacks.
We spent most of our credits on our replay of the Pirate
game but we played through an entire sequence of Dark Escape 4D. The four levels are based on different fears
Necrophobia, fear of the dead, Achluophobia, fear of the dark, Agoraphobia,
fear of pursuit, and Entomophobia, fear of vermin. We chose fear of pursuit. Now and then, usually corresponding to jump
scares, our panic levels were measured and displayed on the screen with a large
exclamation of "PANICKED" as your heartbeat challenged your corresponding
exclamation, "I was not scared!."
This is a screen from the fear of the dark level. If those creatures are in the dark then yes, I am very scared of the dark.
The most memorable moment was a zombie appearing from above
and vomiting on our heads with an accompanying blast of air that felt truly
gross. Again, teamwork shooting skills
are required and each level end shows a count of how many times each player
panicked. A bit of online research
reveals that the game even has multiple endings, a good and bad ending, depending
on how "well" you play the game. We left
laughing and dedicated to a complete playthrough on our next visit. Even wearing 3D glasses we were in the
experience together commenting on each other's panicked moments and laughing as
the other one shrieked.
Not only home consoles and mobile devices are experiencing a
reinvention, the arcade is competing as well.
With most of the new arcade games mobile ports I had made my peace with
the game types populating the arcade and still enjoyed roaming the arcade floor
with my girlfriend. Apparently, some
arcade titles will aggressively court the more "serious" gamer to put down
their controller at home and grab a significant other, friend, or family member
for that in-person arcade experience. For
my girlfriend and I we will be back at the arcade this summer, the only
question is when and what ending will we get in Dark Escape 4D.
Also, sometimes my schedule prevents me from reading and
commenting on GIO as much as I would like but here is a quick shout out to
those reviving the 31/31 challenge. Your
blogs have been great, keep it up and the end of the month will be here all too
Thanks for reading all.
Do you visit the
arcade nowadays? Who do you go with?
What is your favorite
game now when you visit the arcade?
Do you still collect
tickets for wildly overpriced prizes?