Tough-To-Emulate Arcade Games – Vidjagame Apocalypse 412

There’s something about the arcade experience that’s tough to capture at home – especially for games that involve ridiculously bespoke hardware that would be impractical to set up in a living room. This week, we welcome back Dan Amrich for a look at five of our favorite arcade games that just don’t translate to a home setting, after which we’ll touch on Balan Wonderworld, Immortals Fenyx Rising – Myths of the Eastern Realm, PlayStation Store axing three platforms (sort of), and the OG Xbox games or series you think are due for a comeback.

Question of the Week: What’s your favorite game that can’t be easily emulated, whether for hardware or other reasons?

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6 thoughts on “Tough-To-Emulate Arcade Games – Vidjagame Apocalypse 412

  1. QOTW: I don’t think games come much harder to emulate than Namco’s 1991 light gun shooter “Golly! Ghost!”

    The game incorporates electro-mechanical elements and a reflective pane of glass to create the illusion that you’re shooting pixel art ghosts projected in front of a diorama of a Victorian era mansion. The whole machine is controlled by the game’s driver board which uses solenoids to slam doors, fling open chests and drawers and even raise and lower a toilet seat as cartoon spooks come bouncing out of them. Yes, this is a ticket redemption game where you can shoot a ghost back into a toilet.

    There is a MAME version of the game but it doesn’t really do the game justice without the Pepper’s Ghost effect. In fact the unique build and pinball machine dimensions of the game made it such an arcade rarity that I spent years believing that my chance encounter with it at a Celebration Station some time in the early 90s was a dream or hallucination. Honestly I think the only way to properly emulate this sort of game involves re-building it in VR where things like physically rendered materials and depth of vision can actually recreate the special ghostly effect originally developed by John Henry Pepper in 1860.

  2. (that name is for you Mikel) Only fringe elements of modern consoles come to mind all thanks to internet servers shutting down. Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U had an interesting way to communicate with players online by drawing on the Wii U gamepad. Mostly people would just hand write “Good Game” messages or crude drawings of their favorite characters, but I recall spending 30 minutes or so drawing as detailed a picture as I possibly could for his online ID to send out to opponents. This sort of minimally social digital ecosystem may have started on the Wii with Miis, but it seems to be dead and gone now in the Switch generation. I really miss the ephemeral nature of these comic strip style messages including one that comes to mind of a majestic sunset behind a hill with a grave stone and a sword leaning against it as a fairy floats over head thinking, “He should have listened…”

  3. I have to say my favorite game that you can’t really emulate the experience outside the arcade machine would have to be “Silent Scope” , because it’s such a unique machine with the little monitor in the scope (which the light gun peripheral for the PS2 port of coarse didn’t have) , and honestly now a days I mostly try to find new arcades that have these type of distinctive experiences that you couldn’t recreate on mame or a console port.

  4. QOTW: We had a lot of fun with the strap-in flight simulators at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC and the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton Ohio. You can fly upside down and even do a full barrel roll. My brother and my son had a blast in the simulator in Dayton 2 years ago. My son was the gunner and got something like 13 kills while my brother flew the jet. They came out laughing and it was a real bonding experience which is cool b/c they don’t get to see each other much. They have also had fun in VR together on Oculus which I think goes back to them bonding in that simulator.

    In terms of dark rides, there was a really cool one called Funk Blast in Seattle. The place used to be called Experience Music Project, but has rebranded to Museum of Pop Culture. Funk Blast featured a 20 foot high pink boot that moved and a motion platform. During the motion platform part of the ride, they flew you through a funk tornado ‘into’ the music of a Funkadelic concert. It’s long gone but was super cool while it lasted.

    Love the shows! Thank you! Maybe bring Dan back to talk California Extreme? We have a great pinball and arcade show here in the pacific northwest. Looks like the June show is a scratch again but maybe next year…

  5. This may not fully comply with the QOTW, since there is no Vidja in the game, However “Ice Cold Beer” is one of my favorite arcade experience that will never be truly emulated. I heard Jeff Gerstman talk of this game in length several times never hearing of it, much less seeing one. I finally got to play the game last year at the Pittsburgh ReplayFX convention, they had not one but two of the arcade machines. You guys can explain it better than I, but the simple premise of moving a rod up and down to guide a ball into the holes seems easy, I could only reach hole 6 of the 10 targeted holes. The game brought nothing besides fun frustration.

    Covid has claimed the life of this yearly convention, the assets have been sold off.. I sometimes sob quietly to myself that I most likely will not be able to put my hands on one of these machines again.

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