Video arcade

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A video arcade (also known as an amusement arcade in the United Kingdom, game center (ゲームセンター gēmusentā?) in Japan, fliperama in Brazil or as an "arcade") is a venue where people play arcade video games that are housed in colourfully-decorated cabinets. The cabinets consist of a video monitor, gameplay controls (often a joystick and buttons), computer hardware and software, sometimes including sound hardware and a coin-, token-, or magnetic card-based payment mechanism.

While most classic 1980s-era video games such as Space Invaders and Donkey Kong are played in tall upright cabinets, some games such as Ms. Pac-Man are played in smaller boxes with a flat, clear glass or acrylic glass top. As well, some car racing games such as Daytona USA and flight simulation-style games include a seat or enclosed area for the player.

In addition to video games, arcades may also have other games, such as pinball machines, redemption games, merchandiser games, or coin-operated billiards or air hockey tables. In some countries, some types of video arcades are also legally permitted to provide gambling machines such as slot machines or pachinko machines.

Video arcades started springing up in the late 1970s and were most popular during the golden age of arcade games, the early 1980s. Arcades became popular with adolescents, which led parents to be concerned that video game playing might cause children to skip school. Many video arcades began closing in the late 1990s, as the technology of home video game consoles began to rival and eventually exceed that of arcade games. However, video arcades remained popular in Japan, where they are called game centers (ゲームセンター).


Types of games

The video games are typically in arcade cabinets. The most common kind are uprights, tall boxes with a monitor and controls in front. Customers insert coins or tokens into the machines (or use magnetic cards) and stand in front of them to play the game. These traditionally were the most popular arcade format, although presently American arcades make much more money from deluxe driving games and ticket redemption games. However, Japanese arcades, while also heavily featuring deluxe games, continue to do well with traditional JAMMA arcade video games.

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