Throughout my gameplay at The Quarters, I felt that I could vicariously participate in the arcade games of my parents’ generation in a meaningful way. I am perilously addicted to Space Invaders, Galaga, Pac-man on my android smartphone; however, playing these games in their original formats was a delightful experience that I hope to repeat in the near future. Moving an avatar by swiping on a five-inch touchscreen is enormously different than guiding a character through the motion of physical joystick. Moreover, seeing my actions determine the events on the large screen of a decorated machine was infinitely more exciting. Although it may appear to be a small achievement, I was thrilled to nearly reach the high score of the Pac-man machine at TheQuarters. While luck may have contributed to my relative success on this particular day, I wish to believe that my countless hours playing on my smartphone also allowed me to succeed.
Pac-man contains deep nostalgia in modern American culture, as many Super Mario games include the Pac-man and Ms. Pac-man avatars, which many millennials grew up playing this series on platforms such as the Gameboy and Nintendo DS. While Space Invaders and Galaga achieved immense success during the 1980s and 1990s, Pac-man remains shockingly relevant in gaming today.
The Quarters also encouraged me to interact more closely with other members of the class. When a fellow classmate offered detailed advice in various games, I learned that he was an avid fan of arcade games. Although we had very little in common and had rarely spoken to each other beforehand, I felt a strong sense of companionship with my partner as we advanced through several rounds of Rampage.
Would most people who play games on smartphones enjoy playing the same games in their original forms? As most smartphone games are free or require a one-time payment, does the pay-per-play feature of many arcades change most players’ level of satisfaction and pleasure during gameplay?