“We are now missing the classic arcade style games,” says Tak Fujii, producer of Konami's forthcoming Frogger 3D game.
It was a sentiment that we heard a lot at E3 last week. Game developers, who are arguably the biggest fans of video games themselves, frequently lamented the loss of arcades that has occurred over the past few years. Some mentioned their favorites that have since shuttered, like Pak Mann Arcade in Pasadena and Southern Hills Golfland in Orange County.
“There's something that you don't get from playing online,” says Mike Zaimont, aka Mike Z., who co-created fighting game Skullgirls. “You don't make actual friends from it.”
He also mentioned that, by playing in arcades, people have the benefit to learn from other players.
Ironically, though, as arcades seem to be growing obsolete, there was quite a bit of arcade-inspired fare at E3. From modernized versions of old favorites to new games that hint at the past, here are a few of our favorites.
Frogger's back, or rather, it will be back soon. The early '80s arcade game has been revamped 3D-style for Nintendo's 3DS. We spoke with producer Tak Fujii at E3, who said that he was hoping he could “do something for the 21st century” to keep a classic like Frogger alive.
Frogger 3D puts the little frogs into unusual situations. When you're playing it, you'll try to avoid getting squashed by a car on a city street or getting struck by a missile as you make your way across airplanes. But, if these situations are still too new school for you, don't fret. The original game is included in this updated version.
“We named this the Frogger Forever mode,” says Fujii. “The journey won't end.”
Skullgirls is the sort of game that would have thrived in an arcade, a fighting game in the vein of the Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom series. This fan-friendly game, created by fighting game champ Mike Z. and artist Alex Ahad, is still in development with an anticipated release later this year for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. The development team has been taking the demo to various conventions, trade shows and fighting tournaments.
Read more in “Skullgirls: The Next Big Fighting Game?”
Centipede: Infestation is an updated version of Centipede set for release on Nintendo Wii and 3DS later this year. Armando Soto, a designer and director for the forthcoming Atari release, said that it was important to keep the “arcade feel” of the original. The gameplay won't be quite the same, it's a 360 shooter now, but some elements of Centipede will remain. Infestation will feature both the gun and centipedes from the classic game.
Skulls of the Shogun
In Skulls of the Shogun, a renowned general is slain in battle and arrives in the afterlife only to learn that someone has stolen his identity. The strategy game, which was part of the IndieCade exhibit at E3, won a good amount of critical acclaim during the three-day show. Ben Vance of Haunted Temple Studios, the indie team that's developing the game, said that Skulls of the Shogun is inspired by arcade games, in addition to vintage anime and vinyl toys, saying that they liked “”the idea that you see something that looks kind of fun, you walk up to it and just start playing.”
If the name Warlords sounds familiar, that's because it is. Atari is currently working on an updated version of its vintage arcade title for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. Brand manager Austin Beer says that this revamped version is still pretty similar to the original game. New additions include little knights called Snoots, the ability to fix your walls and an option to play with a third-person isometric view.