Monday, August 1, 2011

Run, Coward!

In 1982 I must have spent roughly $3,486 in quarters playing Sinistar. Readers of a certain age surely remember the game with its loud roar, iconic phrases, evil skull-like space station that ate your ship if you got too close, and chaotic game play.  Next to Centipede it took more of my time and money, with Xevious coming in a distant third.  I played this game so much that my dad actually fired me from my job at his bar.  It's the only job I got fired from in my life, and he did so because all I did was play "that game."  It was his fault for having it in the bar.

Later on in life I got a version of it for the Super Nintendo and the PSP, both on those museum pack games. Playing on a small screen and/or with less-than-desirable controls took away some of the fun, but it was still a joy to hear that all-too-familiar roar and, "Beware, I live."

Wander into a standard arcade today and you notice quite a few things.  One: less pedophiles.  Two: less kids (hence less pedophiles).  Three: less games like Sinistar.  I know the reasons for this.  As games became more advanced, so did gamers.  They demanded more out of their games, and games like Sinistar just didn't cut the cake.  With the rise of games for mobile phones, however, and the success of things like Bejeweled, games like Sinistar have their place once again, and I think arcades could benefit by pulling in a few of these classics.  They do well when they are stocked at bars, mainly due to a nostalgia factor.

Good games never lose their appeal, but they disappear because there are no venues to play them anymore.      I know if I passed an arcade and heard the roar of a completed Sinistar, I'd be sinking some quarters.  As of now, though, all I hear are sounds of games in demo mode that I have little interest in playing ... and due to the fact that they're in demo mode I'd say that other people feel much the same way.

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