Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 27] : I Thought I Smelled a Little Wasserman on You

Half-Glass Gaming Arcade Machines

This week, we escape the Minnesota cold by gathering around a warm mic and lighting up the toasty fire of conversation. We tell tales of Star Wars action figures, reddit arguments about plotholes, and Josh’s bad luck at picking checkout lines.

After the break, we grab some quarters and try to find a concrete definition of the term “arcadey.” Which qualities make a console video game similar to an arcade game? How much of the classic arcade “feel” still exists to this day? How did arcade cabinets encourage players to keep feeding them coins? Are mobile games the arcade games of the present? Is putting “ASS” in the leaderboards an essential part of the arcade experience?

We’ve also got some things to say about short-term vs. long-term gratification, face-scrapin’ in Yakuza 5, the downfall of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, The Reverend’s thematically appropriate choice in beer, wrestling games, and the return of that devious rapscallion Wasserman. (Remember that guy from Episode 7?)

Wasserman Troopers

There’s also much ado about the “Sticks to Snakes” spell from Dungeons & Dragons, and, of course, the never-dying “video games as art” debate.

Grab some Surely CynicAle and a pair of headphones; we’ve got a great episode for you, folks!

Want to chat with us about this episode? You don’t need to put in any coins to contact us on Twitter.

Josh (The Forward Thinker)

Rev. Rebecca Nathaniel (The Nostalgic Alcoholic)

Julian (The Moderator)

Mandi (The Lead Research Specialist)

To see a full list of games mentioned in this episode, visit the official Half-Glass Gaming website.

Plus, don’t forget to stop back next week: New episodes air every Wednesday.

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  • Jimmy Mamatas

    I really enjoyed this episode! I always thought SEGA did the best job of bringing arcade-style games to consoles. I know they still develop games now, but it simply isn’t the same as the SEGA of yesteryear. Many of my favourite titles could be described as “arcadey”.

    • Josh Wirtanen

      I had a Genesis as a kid instead of a SNES, so I hear you. So many great arcadey games on that console. Especially the crazy sports games. I looked it up after recording the episode, and the game I was thinking of with the puppy was Arch Rivals.

  • Jelly Genesis

    Wow, I could not disagree more with blaming art games for the lack of arcade stuff. In fact, lots of art games, like Anna Anthropy’s stuff, specifically try to use that old arcade feel. As for arcade sports titles, my favorite was always Mutant League Football.

    • Josh Wirtanen

      Yeah. I actually agree with you rather than the Rev. Take something like Binding of Isaac, which has a ton of super arcadey elements, but is still a very artistic game in a lot of ways.

      • Jelly Genesis

        Yeah, Isaac is very artistic and it definitely feels like an old arcade game. Random generation games remind me of arcade games a lot, actually.

      • Jelly Genesis

        Yeah, Isaac is very artistic and it definitely feels like an old arcade game. Random generation games remind me of arcade games a lot, actually.

    • Elizabeth Thompson

      I didn’t get to go into it in the episode quite as much as I wanted to, for a number of reasons. I wouldn’t say that it’s a direct 1 to 1 blame ratio, because very little is. Rather, I think there’s some people for whom a desire to seem “grown up” and “mature” and such causes them to dismiss more arcadey stuff without really giving it a chance, just based on “that’s for kids”. It’s the same reason you’ll have a lot of teenagers dismiss stuff they enjoyed as kids when they’re trying to prove how adult they are.

      Is it a direct cause? Of cours enot. Is there some aspect of it to the issue? I think so.

      – The Reverend

      • Jelly Genesis

        Making an artistic game doesn’t mean trying to be mature. Just look at Isaac, it’s full of poop. And it isn’t like sports games are trying to be art. I’m a big fan of art games and I think you have a completely wrong impression of them.

        • Elizabeth Thompson

          I think you may be reading something into my statement that isn’t there. I’m not saying that Because Art = Then Lack of Arcadey. If that’s what you’re taking away, then I’m communicating poorly.

          What I *am* saying is that, among the general gaming community, there seems to be a certain amount of automatic dismissal of games that are considered too “childish”. A really good example of this was when Wind Waker came out. People complained quite a bit about the “cartoonish” graphics, dismissing the game out of hand because it was, so some of the popular complaints claimed, going to be clearly “aimed towards kids”. It turns out that Wind Waker was not only a great game, but had a lot of really, *incredibly* dark themes and moments, rendering the complaints and fears about it being “too childish” rather wrong.

          I think there’s some of that happening, writ large. The community, in a general sense, tends to dismiss games they consider too “childish” or “made for casuals”. There are a number of different things that feed into that, so claiming there’s any one specific reason is going to be so simplistic as to be wrong. However, a lot of the things that tend to be connected to “arcadey” games also tend to be part of games that are dismissed as being too “casual”, and I think that a desire to insist how very grown up and mature we all are is part of what feeds into that.

          – The Reverend

  • Specter

    I never heard the word arcadey before this podcast and now I heard it 100 times, lol. Is Mandy sick, because she sounds quiet.

    • I’ve felt a little under the weather for the past few weeks, but I’m mostly fine. Mostly. Winter just isn’t my time of year.

      • Specter

        Well I hope you feel better soon you seem like your a sweet girl and I like to listen to you.

  • Thief921

    I think games lost their arcadey feel when they moved away from 2d games. The best memories I have are of games like Golden Axe and NBA Jam. I think indie games do the best job of that now.

    • I agree. The tool sets have advanced enough and decreased in cost enough that it is now possible for indie games to flourish in this market where it seems unfeasible for large developers to “gamble” on something that in recent years seems like an unsure bet. Or at least perhaps they are just unwilling. Smaller 2-D sidescrollers, I feel have especially flourished in this climate, beat-em-ups have found a new life in the indie or smaller development market. Runners as well, games like Ollie Ollie were infinitely more enjoyable than the latest “mid-budget(?)” Tony Hawk games. Which is unfortunate because THPS was one of the last vestiges of what I loved about arcadey styled games. And also Burnout as was mentioned in the episode.

  • mako33

    Personally, I think arcade games are still best in an cabinet. If I won the Powerball building my own arcade would be the first thing I’d do.

  • Tyrant Fluffy Pants

    You guys did too many episodes, I can’t catch up, lol. Anyways I never played arcade games that much I like games best at home.

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