Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Learning from the Arcade Classics

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 23, 2011

There are a pair of great articles from Ben Garney and Eric Hartman about learning game design from the old arcade games (via MAME) . These are pretty insightful articles — at least they were for me. They made me think a little. They could be narrowly interpreted to only include action games, but I think that there are general lessons that can apply far more universally than this.

Learning From the 3000 “Classics”

Mame Mine: Wacky Sports

One of the great things about the arcade era is that it was a time of great experimentation. Yeah, it was a time of incredible cloning and derivative gameplay too – that’s never changed. But the games were (relatively) inexpensive to make and had a a popular distribution method – virtually every shop that had a bubblegum machine also had an arcade game in the corner.

You know what that’s kinda like? Sounds a little like indie games today, huh?

Anyway, this wildly experimental arena with entire generations of games coming out in less than a year meant there was a lot of lessons learned in rapid succession. While game design today is largely built on the foundation built by this Darwinian dogpile, a lot of the details have been obscured by time and tradition. I think there’s still a lot to be learned from these old games, even if they were built in the infancy of the craft.

Filed Under: Design - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • WhineAboutGames said,

    As I think I said at the time, it’s hard to take that first article seriously when it sets itself up as “hyuk hyuk hyuk” at the very top like that. What was the point of that screenshot? I suppose _maybe_ it was intended to demonstrate that many arcade games were crap? Or overly similar? Or something?