The Immersive Experience!
Celebrating Arcades in all their glory! Starting With: The immersive video game experience!
A beach, fish and chips and an arcade-that’s me sorted for a seaside holiday!
Yes, I am a big fan of the arcade. I went to them with my family as a kid on seaside holidays and have been going to them ever since. I realise that arcades are not only in seaside areas as many towns and shopping centres have them, but It’s at the seaside where I tend to use and enjoy them much more, and they are usually a lot higher in quality in these locations, in my experience
So, what do I like about arcades? The video game cabinets first and foremost! And yes you will be paying (these days) maybe £1 or £2 a play for a game that would very quickly work out cheaper to actually own, but of course it’s not just about that!
Yes, the joy is in discovering a good cabinet-the joystick, the buttons, the light guns, the big screen… Or sitting in a seat, steering wheel in front, immersive sound all around, making you feel a little more a part of the experience than just the standard video game routine.
One of my favourites as a kid was the moveable motorbike you actually sit on and turn to go left or right, which showed up on a lot of motorbike racers, including the classic Manx TT Twin Arcade Machine that was in so many arcades.
So, my point is that when it comes to arcades it’s about the immersive experience on a grand scale that most households won’t be able to mirror to quite the same effect.
In this first post celebrating arcades and what they mean to me I am going to focus on one of my favourite immersive arcade cabinets! I will be taking a look at others in the future, along with other aspects of the arcades I enjoy such as fruit machines and pushers. Let me know in the comments your favourite arcade attractions!
The Lost World: Jurassic Park ARCADE (1997)
Yes, so this is my first pick, SEGA’s offering of great fun, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. This title was a fast and furious on-rails shooter where you had to aim fire at all of the dinos from JP before they ate you or whatever they would do should they catch you (I guess it was mostly eat).
By this point, there had been several Jurassic Park games to hit the arcades (there had only been two movies, the second of which this game shares its name with, by the way, I’m one of those people who do think that The Lost World is a good entry in the series!) Something notable about this game is that it was the first ever to use Model 3 3D in a shooting game. Model 3 meant the game could operate at 60 frames and 100,000 polygons per second. Apparently, the development team had difficulty designing the game because of their unfamiliarity with Model 3, creating complications with the tight deadline given to them to have the game finished and released. I think they managed to do a good job overall, especially with this in mind.
I have played this one in Great Yarmouth arcades (various) and also in Hemsby, so in Norfolk. If memory serves, in Hemsby it sat in the Oasis arcade and possibly others. It was a common cabinet and I’m guessing a very popular one.
Hemsby beach By chriscnet – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30177186
As mentioned, when this game was released in 1997 there had been two other Jurrasic Park arcade games in the series, however, this was the one from the franchise that caught my attention the most.
You could hear its thundering sound from way off, and feel the vibrations when you got close (or maybe I am imagining that, but when you sat in that car, you could definitely feel them!) Plus, by 1997 the graphics were able to render the dinosaurs the best we had ever seen in a video game (to my knowledge). And I remember playing this way into the 2000s and still thinking it looked great. I know that is partly because of comparing arcade tech with home console tech but all the same it looked the part.
The gameplay looked good and from what I remember (it has been a few years since I last played) it was decent enough, with the light gun accuracy generally hitting the spot (raging dinosaur).
The channel UCqu1CzoNSMGZUfgV_vIhQLA has the above excellent video showcasing the whole of The Lost World Game. As I was watching the cut scenes I could feel and hear the thumping of the dinosaur feet, and remembered as a kid how effective it was as you sat in a replica of a vehicle used in the film. If I wasn’t playing the game I could watch the varied cut scenes over and over, because they were dramatic and a little scary without being too dramatic and scary (much like the original movie franchise).
The roaring sound combined with all of the above to make a fun movie-based arcade shooter that could be enjoyed by up to 2 players with a fast and frantic co-op mode available. This was a game that was definitely extra effective on the big screens it used, something that probably helped wrap you up in the game and not get so distracted by some not-the-best voice acting (heeeelllllpppp!)
Overall, an arcade classic in my eyes and a good job was done to help make the game a more immersive experience that made an arcade visit worthwhile. In the arcades I have been to in the last few years I haven’t come across this title, if you know of an arcade it is in let me know as I fancy playing it again! Back in the day, it was 50p a go I wonder if it’s been rigged up to £2 now?
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