Why Do People Still Play Classic Arcade Games?

(Above) A vintage snapshot from the collection of Jim Miller

by Jonathan Imberi

If you are wondering why classic games are making a comeback, there’s no one simple answer. The fact is there are a lot of reasons why classic games are returning to the spotlight, but if I had to name one specific reason for the resurgence of interest in these classics - I would have to say that it’s the playability/fun factor!

Today's arcade, console and PC games are so wrapped up in realism, making the graphics so awe-inspiring that the playability/fun is lost to many players. Realistic graphics can only go so far if the game is not any fun to play. When a game focuses too much on realism it starts to cloud the line between fantasy and reality, and ultimately undermines the purpose of a good game: to help us briefly escape our reality.


Before anyone gets upset, I want to mention that I have nothing against the games or gamers of today. There are a lot of current titles that I really enjoy playing, but I truly enjoy the classics. Even though I haven’t played them in long time, I am still able to play them without a learning curve.


Many of today's games require you to learn so many commands in order to just play them that it distracts from the fun factor. The simplicity of classic arcade games makes them just as enjoyable now as they were when they first appeared in the arcades. However, just because classic arcade games are simple does not mean they are easy. Take for example Pac-man, which took over 19 years for someone (Billy Mitchell) to finally complete with a perfect score.


Classic arcade games are making a comeback for another reason - they allow you to relive part of your childhood. In the words of George Bernard Shaw “We don’t stop playing because we grow old… We grow old because we stop playing.”

In today's fast paced and hectic world, we sometimes need to just slow down and have a little fun. Classic arcade games provide the perfect outlet to get in touch with your inner child and… have FUN! Everyone needs a break once in a while, and playing classic arcade games gets my vote.

So even if you haven’t played a classic game in years, it’s never too late to start.

Until next time… Wocka! Wocka!

First Published May 2005