Bring back the awesome video game peripherals, briefs

A few days ago I had a pleasant revelation. Or maybe the disclosure is a bit strong. I’m sure you know the feeling – I felt something I already knew deep inside me crystallize into a much more easily articulated opinion. That is: I miss special play equipment.

Now, of course, we always have some kind of “special play equipment”. We have consoles, dedicated PCs, returns and more. But actually I’m talking about something else; where we had very game-specific add-ons, add-ons, or even entire machines designed to provide a specific game-specific experience.

Is VR considered dedicated gaming hardware? Yes.

I’m talking about things like small arms and dance mats. I’m talking about arcade machines that rolled out mega-special hardware, from the infamous Street Fighter pressure-sensitive buttons and wrecking hands to the Game Boy Camera. I’m talking about Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I’m talking about those stupid GameCube bongos.

This idea was formulated in a curious place: in Las Vegas. I love gambling and although my heart is always with the tables, I love slot machines. I especially like a well-engineered licensed car that fills the senses with waves of nostalgia for a movie or TV show. I enjoy researching new cars based on franchises that I enjoy as they are not very common at home in the UK to be honest.

These nostalgic vehicles are even entering the game now – on this latest trip, I discovered slots based on Resident Evil and, incredibly, House of the Dead. The latter is particularly amusing, as I still haven’t seen the House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn shooter in the wild outside of Japan, but spin-offs from the game can now be found in almost every major Vegas casino.

Raise your hand if you miss arcade shooters.

Anyway. I like a licensed car, although they supposedly have a slightly worse return, taking into account license fees. These machines are often the most wicked work of a game designer, producing dopamine releases that are, of course, designed to lower your inhibitions and keep you playing until you have nothing left. This is terrible shit, really dangerous and should be tightly regulated by governments – although as a person who controls everything and leaves without any problems, I like it. For me, it’s not so much about winning (although it’s still nice), but about the machine that works when it hits a feature. I love the show, as I love any well thought out game.

This recent trip to Vegas was my first trip in four years. This city is changing at an incredible rate, but I have noticed an interesting and sad change: many of the most bizarre and complex slot machines are disappearing. This has undoubtedly been happening for some time, but it was on this trip that I really noticed it. This was noticeable not only in large hotels on the main street, but also in small establishments.

The functionality is still there, to be fair. There is a really great new Willy Wonka car that will keep an Oompa Loompa song in your head. But now everything is controlled digitally. Areas of machines that once had a unique shape, shape, and design are now just giant screens. The machine, which at some point would have had the grand spectacle of a large Ferris wheel above the player that glowed and rotated to perform a function, is now just a giant screen displaying a Ferris wheel.

In fact, casino floors are pretty permanent these days. You’ll see the same five or six “designs” of machines, some of which are made by regular gamers like Sega and Konami deployed with other software running on them. Those House of the Dead and Resident Evil slots I mentioned earlier? They both worked on the same cabinets. Machines with truly original equipment, where the physical cabinet and the game intersect and exist in symbiosis, are rare. Those that remain are usually old and slowly decompose. Soon they won’t be there at all.

The same is true in arcades. We don’t have many new Light Gun games right now, but the ones we do like, like the arcade games Halo and Jurassic Park from Raw Thrills, follow a strict template that makes the cars relatively uniform. Video Pinball is no longer just a game you play on your TV to replicate the arcade experience, but a real pinball category where all that tactile joy is replaced by a bloody screen showing the exact same action.

Yes, it is important.

And, of course, the same goes for home video games. We’ve gone through a time when the plastic tattoo was so common that I couldn’t wait for the trend started by Guitar Hero to end – but now it is, I’m mourning its demise – and the death of other peripherals from the long-ago bubble burst took away with this one. .

We don’t have gun games anymore. Even Nintendo, the king of crappy random props, has cooled off a lot lately. We had a really good idea with Ring Fit Adventure and a bit of a rough idea with Labo, but it really feels like that era is over. More shockingly, Harmonix still releases the Rock Band DLC almost every week, but it’s literally impossible to buy new Rock Band hardware.

There is an exception, of course. We have a specific and expensive gaming material: virtual reality. But I don’t see these helmets that way, to be honest. They are more like consoles and platforms in their own right. It doesn’t have that glorious specificity that I loved about certain accessories as a child. I miss this. I don’t want another temporary crisis in VR; I want a real new Time Crisis with a bloody GunCon. I don’t want another fucking stationary arcade shooter – I want something weird and weird, like Konami’s 24/7 diving police.

Maybe I’m just an old man yelling at a cloud. But I feel that a sense of artistry and creativity has been lost in today’s seamless nature of gaming equipment, whether it’s slot machines, casinos, or our living rooms. I really hope that in the coming years we will be able to return something.

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