Review: Midway Arcade Origins reminds us of a time when games were meant to kick our a**
I've always said video games need to be harder. Aside from a select few titles, many games these days opt for a more narrative, story-driven approach and less of a difficulty approach. Thankfully, WBIE has provided us with Midway Arcade Origins, a game that bundles 30+ titles that were released from the early '80s through the mid '90s, to remind us of a time when games were designed to kick our a**.
The collection gathers 31 different classic arcade games, of all types and genres, into one simple bundle for $29.99. The games range from iconic titles like Joust and Rampage to some that may be a little more obscure to the casual gamer (Root Beer Tapper anyone?).
Needless to say, if you are getting this game, it isn't for the in-depth gameplay and marvelous graphics as seen in today's era of video gaming. Rather, if you are picking up this title, you're likely getting it to relive these classic experiences all over again - or perhaps for the first time.
Although I consider myself a fairly experienced gamer (hey, I do this for a living don't I?), some of these games were completely new to me. Playing the very games that served as a foundation for what we play today was a fun experience, even if the gameplay itself wasn't.
Many of these games I've read or studied about in school during game development and design courses. As simplistic as they may appear, there is innovation to be found in them. For that reason alone, anyone who considers themselves to be a gamer should play them - at least once.
I'll admit, many of the games I found to be boring. For every game I enjoyed, I found a few that were just completely unappealing to me. Still, this is one of the better bangs for your buck than if you were to try to purchase each of these titles individually.
Midway Arcade Origins does add Trophy and Achievement support, giving you something else to aim for aside from just a high score. But are Achievements and high scores really all gamers want? The problem Midway Arcade Origins faces is that today's generation wants a bigger overall experience. Many of these games, not to their fault, just don't deliver on this. As I said, these games are the foundation, but with so many newer, flashier titles to choose from, I find it hard that anyone who didn't grow up in the '80s and mid-90s would have interest in this. Why would someone play Arch Rivals, an unintentional hilarious take on a 2-on-2 basketball game, when kids these days can play NBA 2K13 and play as the famed Michael Jordan - or Justin Bieber for that matter?
There are some other things that WBIE does to try to appeal to a younger generation. They've added online leaderboards which you think would serve as a platform for online play. Many of the games support local co-op and multiplayer gameplay (just like if you were at an actual arcade), but in today's generation it's almost impractical to not have some sort of online gameplay. No online gameplay is probably this bundles most glaring omission, but perhaps the price didn't allow for it.
The simplistic nature of these classics are a thing of beauty which, unfortunately, can be lost when playing on a modern console. Playing these games on an old arcade machine is one thing, but when attempting to relive them on a console that now plays games like Halo 4 can be a bit underwhelming. Those really suffering from nostalgia of '80s and '90s gaming should definitely pick up Midway Arcade Origins, but I do warn not to expect the same jolt of energy as if you were playing in an arcade. There are some things WBIE attempt to do to recreate that arcade experience - like allowing you to change the side panels - but ultimately it still falls flat.
For those born during the newer generation of gaming, I do want you to play this - if only for the fact that I know you will get your a** kicked. It's what these games were designed to do. They were designed to make you lose and put in more coins. Thankfully, Midway Arcade Origins allows you to experience these games for as long as you please (or can take without smashing the controller) for just a one-time fee.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]