Why We Love ’80s Arcade Games

We get plenty of work done here at Revel, but we also really like to have fun. It’s a pretty integral part of our office atmosphere – and, you know, an excuse to goof off a little during the workday.Our biggest and most favorite toy is our office arcade machine, an awesome piece of technology that holds something like 15,000 games (though there are some duplicates in there). With the massive list of games we have, it means that we have basically every sweet ’80s game ever … And for us, it doesn’t get any better.

Why ’80s games, though? What’s the big deal?

Well, for starters, a lot of us are ’80s kids! These are some of the games we grew up on and probably what got us started down this road of design and technology.

But ’80s games have their own merits; it’s not just our nostalgia that makes them incredible. Think about it: they are beautifully simple, and that simplicity makes them ultra-addictive. Half the time you can’t even tell what your character is supposed to be! But it never mattered to us back then, and it doesn’t matter now, because these are some of the most fun, easiest to “pick up and play” games ever created.

First off, everything 8-bit is awesome. It’s the beginning of so much of the CGI we know and love today, and it has always had a certain charm to it. That’s why companies and artistsstill make 8-bit games and artworks today (like all kinds of modern Flash games, Steam, and mobile-friendly games, and the longstanding popularity of NES games, emulators, and arcade machines like ours).

Some of those iconic 8-bit images – like tiny Mario (the world’s most athletic plumber), the laughing Duck Hunt dog, Contra multi-flips, or the Mega Man dash – are among the most memorable in all of gaming history. They were so cutting edge at the time, so instantly recognizable, they’ve remained
embedded in the cultural consciousness for the long haul. At the time, they perfectly matched our mullets, neon tracksuits, and BK high tops. (Our producer John wearing a suit from the Miami Vice After Six collection)

But here’s the real draw:

The games are HARD.

It’s not today’s “multi-chapter, open world, endless options, sandbox” kind of game.

Nope, not even close.

It’s much more like “jump over the gap to get to the boss, and you better do it right because you only have 3 lives, and you better hope you brought the right item because we didn’t remind you … and you can’t go back.”

This kind of difficulty has two big advantages: 1. If you lose, you can move on (in our case, get back to work); and 2. If you win, you’ve got bragging rights forever.

One of our partners, Don, is upsettingly good at BurgerTime. It makes all the younger employees around here angry that this dad is better at video games than they are. His high scores put everyone else’s to shame, and that’s the kind of clout you have to earn around here.

We love modern technology, but we think it’s mighty important (and mighty fun) to take a look back sometimes. Just because there areshiny PS4s out there, doesn’t mean Pac-Man isn’t legendary, or that the original Street Fighter isn’t an epic work of gaming art.

The world doesn’t have enough joysticks these days, but we’re keeping the dream alive right here in our office. So, if you want a little Galaga time, or if you’ve always wanted to show off your Rampage skills, all you have to do is stop in.

The machine is always on, and we love new challengers.

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