November 24, 2016
Most successful gaming machines of all time
In the days before games could be played at home on consoles, or from any location on a mobile phone, people would have to visit specialist arcades if they wanted to experience the latest games. These arcades would always have a wide range of gaming machines on offer, and this piece will look at some of the most successful machines that have been produced from the arcade era to the present day.
One way you can tell whether a game was one of the true classics of its era is if people are still talking about it, and playing it, now – which is certainly true of Space Invaders. This was born in Japan and launched in 1978, pretty much giving birth to the games industry. One of the reasons for its huge popularity was the relative simplicity of the idea – you scored points for shooting and killing the invaders of the title. During its initial Japanese release it proved so addictive that the country experienced a shortage of the coins needed and it proved an enduring hit in other countries throughout the 1980s, essentially saving arcades and the games industry in the process. Not that it was alone in achieving such iconic status however, as Pac-Man proved its equal. This game emerged during 1980, after a two-year fallow period of weak Space Invaders rip-offs, and became the next phenomenon. Lighter in tone, Pac-Man was a round yellow sideways head with a huge mouth ready to eat everything within the maze. Essentially a whimsical chase-game, Pac-Man was the first video game to capture the hearts of girls and well as boys, with this cross-gender appeal proving key to its success. Even creator Toru Iwatani was amazed by its popularity and by 1990 it had made $3,500,000,000 in revenue, with 400,000 cabinets sold.
Pac-Man is the most successful arcade game ever, but 1981’s Donkey Kong is another that hit the heights. This game put Nintendo on the map and introduced legendary character Mario – here required to save lovely Pauline from the clutches of Donkey Kong. The innovative four-screen game play won over gamers at a time when maze-chase and outer space shooters dominated, becoming the first real platform game hit – a genre named for the fact that the action involves manoeuvring the characters over platforms. Both Mario and Donkey Kong went on to further games in the future, and the original went on to sell 132,000 cabinets and make $280,000,000.
Of course, we can’t forgot the fruit and bingo machines which lined the walls of all arcades back in the day. These both became wildly popular genres of games, with both having survived and been dragged into the modern era in the mutated form of online bingo and slots. Bingo has stayed popular by their ability to connect thousands of players from around the world, allowing huge games with massive prizes. On top of this, bingo promotions have enabled companies to cater to a whole generation of player ensuring their customer based constantly regenerating. Slots however, have taken a different direction. Choosing to diversify their games offering rather than focus on ways of brining more customers together into one game. An example of this is Cleopatra Slots, which takes the classic five-reel format of old fruit machines and adds an Ancient Egyptian theme – including Cleo, the Sphinx and hieroglyphics on the reels. It first appeared in the ritzy casinos of Las Vegas, where it was one of the very first video slot games ever made, and has remained massively popular in the years since – eventually becoming a fixture in the online casinos of today.
These are some of the most successful gaming machines ever produced and when you play them you will understand why.