Reader Submission #107 – Arcade Atrocities

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The years of immensely popular coin-operated arcades may be firmly behind us, yet a small but dedicated group of virtual drivers still love to spend endless hours in front of these mammoth setups, plugging away at the likes of OutRun, Initial D, and Wangan Midnight. And just like sim racing, these communities are ripe with drama, tomfoolery, and generally absurd behavior which serve to detract the fun from what should be lighthearted video games in an open bar setting. A Reader Submission which landed in my inbox at the beginning of June but has been neglected until now, we’re about to take a look at a world not a whole lot of sim racers are familiar with – yet the content will fit right in here at PRC.net.


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Hey guys. Please keep my name anonymous on this one. I don’t want to get stalked or some shit.

We have seen that some (or many) sim racing communities can be quite toxic on a regular basis. But what about the arcade cabinet communities? It depends, as we are yet to see some drama from, say, a Daytona USA community – if one even exists – and I heard that arcade communities in North America are quite small and insignificant… So let’s move to a territory on the other side of the globe: Southeast Asia.

A bit of an info dump, for those who have never heard about the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series of arcade racers. It’s a racing arcade cabinet based on a Japanese comic meant to rival Initial D. It features many popular JDM cars – aside from Honda – that you can collect and save to a physical ID car, as well as a customization system that some find superior to the Need for Speed Underground games. It’s pretty cool for an arcade racing cabinet. The only problem is that you need to grind out a lot of time behind the wheel to unlock both visual and performance upgrades, on a per-car basis. Yes, you’re essentially asked to waste several hundred dollars to upgrade your vehicle of choice, and doing a bit of quick math, it can eclipse even the steep costs offered by iRacing. What’s worse, is that it uses a level/rank system, so you need to rank up to unlock a part like in Call of Duty.

The fifth and most recent version of the game rectified this a bit by replacing the rank system for the money system, so you only need to grind just a bit less than before to earn enough credits for your desired modification. Unfortunately, this system is only featured in the Japanese version of the title, but not the international version, which is essentially a title update for the fourth version. Regardless, the rank system is one of the reasons why this cabinet is very popular in Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately, this causes many egotistical assholes to burst onto the scene, and obviously they are the ones who end up ruining the communities.

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My friend made a post on Facebook complaining about some arcade cabinet community. He went to chill at an arcade center for a few hours to kill some time once his trip to the mall had ended, and discovered a Midnight Tune 5 cabinet was on location. Sadly, he discovered someone was hogging the whole machine to himself, and the reason was simply to achieve a milestone reward. Not only that, the machine had actually been chained off, and upon inquiring with the staff members, employees of the location had said the random Midnight Tune 5 player had actually rented out the machine for the entire day. Midnight Tune 5 is a machine that charges one dollar per race, and the guy was there from opening to close, so we’re talking a fee of several hundred dollars just to grind out an arcade cabinet. So my buddy, he makes a post on Facebook – and I’ll translate it for you guys:

“Mate, just because you have a shitload of money, doesn’t mean you can be a dipshit. It’s a public place after all, give a turn to other people, no matter if it’s quiet there or not, no matter if the person is a casual player or not. It’s like when you’ve pre-ordered every copy of a game from GameStop – that’s just pathetic.”

Everything seems fine, his friends agreed with him, until…

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Again, I’ll translate this one for you, PRC.net. The guy hogging the machine himself actually found my friend’s post and commented on it. Apparently, he’s a member of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune community. He admitted that he paid the manager of the arcade center to hog the whole MT5 cabinet for himself, and told my friend to find another arcade center that has MT5 cabinets.

I mean, for fucks sake! You hogged the whole machine for yourself, and told other people to go to another place? It’s not that easy man… But take note of the likes. That’s actually his team members circlejerking over him. Oh, and that comment section went from peaceful into full shitstorm tier. Many of the community members insulted my friend in that post, calling him a peasant because he only plays MT5 on a casual basis, while the hardcore MT5 community members regularly spent upwards of $1000. They even PM’d my friend on Facebook outright insulting him. I told my friend to stay away from that community and that certain arcade center in the future, just so he didn’t run into these clowns in person.

Uh huh… Wasting $1000 on an arcade game. I’d rather blow that money on something useful. But money talks, correct? Now to be fair, my friend posted a photo from the back of the arcade, without the hogger’s consent, and he never physically went up to the hogger and asked if he could have a turn, so maybe what he did was a bit impolite. But let’s face it, with that attitude, we already expected what happened on Facebook. It probably wouldn’t have changed anything.

Is there anything worse than this?


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I never got to experience the glory days of coin-op arcades, as the only one that remained open and successful into the early 2000’s – Playdium in West Edmonton Mall, was shut down before I was old enough to venture there on my own. However, as a PC gamer dating back to the late 1990’s, I never really understood the point of them in the first place. I had NFL Blitz at home for my N64… why would I want to pay for every single exhibition game against the AI on a shitty board, when I preferred the feel of the N64 controller? Why would I want to drop change on a play through of that 18 Wheeler Game, when the home version for the GameCube was utterly trashed by critics? So the whole arcade cabinet craze, stuff like Wangan Midnight or Initial D… It’s all lost on me.

But as for this dude paying the owner of an arcade to rent a machine for the entire day… Like, why not just outright buy one? Is that possible? With how much money it costs to sit there for a day and grind out mundane bullshit, couldn’t you just buy your own as people are doing with the old school NBA Jam and Crusin’ USA cabinets? Hell, if you’ve got the cash to spend on sitting your ass in front of a cabinet for a day, how are these guys not hardcore PC gamers? I just fail to see the point in all this. Home consoles made arcade cabinets completely irrelevant, and basically everybody won in the end. Companies made enormous profits – as many more people wanted a copy of NBA Jam they could play eternally for a one time fee of $60 than those who played NBA Jam in arcades, and customers quickly got their $60 worth from the title in a single sitting with their buddies – if not more.

So maybe I’m missing something, and I guess this is your turn to fill me in, but why don’t these hardcore arcade guys just buy a machine of their own? Connectivity problems? Why don’t they move on to home consoles? I’m admittedly a bit lost.

 

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27 thoughts on “Reader Submission #107 – Arcade Atrocities

  1. You are lost for good reason. All of these games would be better at home especially if you owned a wheel. Plus they would be cheaper .

    Most of the arcade racing scene sucks anyways. I’d still rather play Daytona USA.

    The one game that kind of follows the rules of these arcade games is Tokyo extreme. A very simple series but also quite a bit of fun in an odd OCD kind of way

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  2. Arcades only became irrelevant in the west when the home market caught up with the graphics of the arcades. This was around mid to late nineties. Before, you would go to the arcades because of mainly two reason:

    a) there was nothing at home with the same graphics

    b) it was the “multiplayer” of those times. At home you either played with brothers, friends, or maybe tried to put up with some shitty dial up connection. You wanted action against total strangers? Wanted to to see if you are the best around? The arcade was the only destiny, and dare i say it, to this day, nothing can surpass being in your face against a total stranger who you wouldn’t know if it was a newb or a god at the game.

    This last part is important. The arcades were part of a social event, it was a cultural thing at some point, and in the southeast asia it’s still going strong. Sure the money is stupid, and it would be hard to justify today spending so much money on them, but it apparently works. Speaking for myself, sitting or putting the coin into the arcade was an event in itself. The noise, the excitement, the fact that we are there away from nagging parents, surrounded by young people, and of course, trying to beat a player or some leaderboard score was all just a bit more color when tagged with the social aspect of it.

    Now onto the article itself, i absolutely despise the guy who was hoging the machine, and i remember some who did the same, altough not with the management consent, but i guess assholes never change.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I grew up in arcades so to some degree I get the obsession. I wouldn’t go as far as these guys, because arcade machines are best experienced as casual fun while out with friends.

    That said, few things compare to the days of standing at the Street Fighter II machine taking on anyone who walked up to challenge you. :p

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Has anyone of the arcade center users went and talked to the owner, saying that isn’t nice for the other customers that a game is locked for one person just because he rented it for the whole time?

    Most likely the owner thinks he’s making more money from this one guy than from others that would play just casually. However, the owner needs to keep as most customers happy as possible, so that they continue to spend money at his arcade center, as he seems to only be looking for the short term profit while keeping the other customers unhappy just for that one user.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Arcade cabinet collecting is a major enough thing that I was initially thinking the issue was going to be in one of the collector groups.
    Short of some specific very desirable games and very rare ones, arcade game setups can be had used fairly reasonably, and a lot of the classics have emulators and kits to convert a home computer into a multi-game arcade cabinet.

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  6. Your friend is a casual peasant and he should keep away from MT5 cabients.

    The likes of your friend have destroyed arcades for the people that really care.

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  7. Asian people are so funny, and they are obsessed with shit and scat play like the germans, its a national pastime, the prize in this game is probably a Anime cartoon teen shitting on their face, thats why they are pumping thousands into it.
    Asian people always make me laugh.

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  8. Some company wouldn’t let you buy their arcade cabinets for personal use. Publishers such as Konami won’t allow this because they’re risking the cabinets being cannibalized. Mind you that most arcade games runs on embedded PC so it’s easy to move the game assets into a normal PC. So the only choice for these guys to “own” these machines is to make their own arcade chain and rent them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WMMT3DX+ was the last WMMT game an operator can buy rather than rent. Also, moving the assets to regular PC isn’t as easy as it sounds, due to protections such as dongles involved. (However, Taito Type X series hardware have been recently been cracked, allowing games such as Battle Gear 4 Tuned and arcade versions of Street Fighter IV to be played in a home PC)

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      1. Addenum: Because of those crackings, the Japanese arcade scene has opted to use the NESICA system, which means that games are downloaded from a central server and thus requiring the cabinets to be connected to the internet.

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  9. An exact translation of the screenshotted Facebook post, given that I am a native speaker of Indonesian: “BTW, I was the guy in the photo. I spoke to the Timezone [arcade chain] manager if it can be used for GBing? And I awaited approval from the central office and theey approved it.

    I GB’ed on weekdays, not weekends.

    In Bandung, there’s not only 1 WMMT machine, there lots of them, if you want to refill in a TZ, on normal days without bonuses – it’s the same frickin’ thing!”

    (I don’t know what GB is in this context and WMExpressway is down when I want to post this. Can anyone chime in what it is?)

    Speaking to manager to do this sounds like some thugs who hoard Hot Wheels (usually Treasure Hunt cars). There’s tales of it, it also happens in Indonesia (and from what I heard, the Indonesian distributor have rules against their salespeople hoarding Hot Wheels cars).

    And yeah, the whole thing sounds like the combination of Indonesian cosplayers (there are some “weeaboo cringe” pages on Facebook that deal with this) and SimRacingDesign drama goons combined (which turns 1 tomorrow, in PRC at least).

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    1. Asked people on my group chat about it, and turns out GBing (game boosting) means using multiple IDs (cards) to boost one ID. It’s perfectly legal, I’m told.

      Also, apparently most (if not all) people involved in this drama are weebs; in Indonesia, “Facebook weebs” are literally drama magnets.

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  10. wow that guy just shove in some cash and let the manager sucked his dick off and rented him the whole machines and he said it’s ok because it’s not even on weekends?

    somebody should have rented his whole life and make him a slave and say it’s okay because his life is fucking pathetic

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  11. Asian people are notoriously known the world over as very bad drivers, and with those tiny little 1/4 open eyes what do people expect?
    Theres a very good reason why they struggle to progress from arcade machines.

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  12. Arcade machines are extremely expensive. I remember back in the day, a Daytona machine was well over eighty thousand dollars. This was in the 1990’s. Back then the majority of the cost was the hardware.

    Mind you I was in year 7 when a Pentium 1, 100mhz was selling for $15000 at Tandy electronics.

    I’m guessing these days you would be paying for the name.

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    1. Because those machines are meant to be bought by arcade operators. Though, I did heard there were contests to win arcade machines in old game magazines, mostly fighting games.

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