Bwa-ha-ha! My master plan has been working perfectly! Since I have three weeks worth of articles already written and scheduled on Wix, I have so much more time to write! When I can schedule articles that aren't dependent on time (like reviews) on Mondays, I can easily write up a time-dependent commentary article like this one on the fly and publish it on a Wednesday! It’s genius, I tell you—genius!
Anyway, here’s some crud I wrote about indie arcade games. Read it. Thanks.
Tipsy Raccoons is really cool, but it needs a coin-operated release, too.
If you’ve been following ArcadeHeroes.com lately, you probably stumbled upon this very recent piece of news. Yet another indie arcade game developer has cropped up, but this time, they’re doing things a little differently.
Tipsy Raccoons is a brand-spanking-new indie arcade game being developed by Glitchbit. It’s a six-player party game in which players participate in a series of randomized minigames and trivia questions. To keep things simple, there’s only one button and one joystick, so that players of all ages can participate. The most interesting part? Players “insert a credit” by inserting their bottled drink into a cupholder. Apparently, Glitchbit’s even got a patent-system that identifies whatever drink you happen to set in the machine. This bottle drink credit is something completely new and different from anything we’ve seen in arcades before. This credit system is also extremely interesting, if you ask me.
But heck, even without the bottled drink credit “gimmick”, Tipsy Raccoons still looks like a darn fine game. Like many other indie developers, Glitchbit has chosen the tried-and-true pixel art style. Furthermore, Glitchbit has brought back a genre to arcades that has been sorely missing for a long time: party games/minigame compilations. It’s a genre that works beautifully in the fun, competitive, social environment of arcades, and it’s so good to see the genre back in action. (As Adam Pratt points out in his article, you don’t really see minigame compilations in arcades that much anymore.)
Tipsy Raccoons seems to nail the party game genre in all the right ways. It’s a bright and colorful game packed with plenty of humor. From the gameplay footage I’ve seen, it looks like it plays pretty well, too. I’ll have to try it myself, of course, but it definitely looks like a game you wanna drag your friends out of their houses to play. (Interesting tidbit: The game prompts the losers to take a sip of their drinks after each round!) Overall, Tipsy Raccoons looks very exciting. I'm glad Glitchbit went the humorous route, because it's not a tone we see enough in the arcade industry anymore.
If you weren’t already sold on Tipsy Raccoons, here’s even more good news: New minigames and content will be added every week through wireless online connection. Ain’t that just the niftiest thing? Once again, indie arcade developers have embraced modernity far more that Raw Thrills, Sega, and Namco will ever dare to.
So, Tipsy Raccoons sound great, doesn’t it? Lemme answer that for you: Heck yeah. Unfortunately, I just have one problem with the game. With no coin-operated version currently in existence, Tipsy Raccoons will have a very hard time spreading out further than just the barcade market. I’m willing to bet that the vast, vast majority of arcade venues out there still rely on the coin-, token-, or card-based methods of recouping the money spent on arcade games. Barcades and free-to-play arcades are certainly an ever-growing sector of the arcade industry, but they still aren’t the norm. If Glitchbit wants Tipsy Raccoons to have any chance of truly reaching “all ages”, then there needs to be a coin-operated version of the game released. The drink-operated gimmick is really cool—it is! I absolutely love it. But unfortunately, it’s definitely not the way to go if Glitchbit wants to land the game in a traditional arcade or FEC.
Also, not really a fault of the game, but I rather dislike barcades on principle. Why would we want to lock arcade games behind a 21-and-older age restriction? The games should be made available in venues where any kid—or adult—can come in and play. I and people my age won’t even have a slight chance of getting to play Tipsy Raccoons if a coin-operated version isn’t released. Imagine how cool it would be to play a party game like this with all your friends at Dave and Buster’s! Maybe it could be a Tapper/Root Beer Tapper situation, ya know? The coin-op version could be Dizzy Raccoons or something, I dunno. Still, the fact remains. By not offering a coin-operated model, Tipsy Raccoons will be missing out on a huge sector of the arcade market, no matter how cool those admittedly very cool cupholders are.
I will admit that the concept of a drink-operated game is very neat. Though we may not see this game in FECs and traditional arcades just yet, I think there's a very high chance that Tipsy Raccoons will find itself in restaurants (not just bars) all across the country. I don't often see arcade games in many restaurants anymore, and I sure hope that Tipsy Raccoons can help the industry expand back into those sorts of venues. It's a cool game!
The Cosmotrons 2018 update further solidifies the game’s awesomeness.
I’ve covered Cosmotrons in the past (look no further than these two posts), and I’ve always spoken positively about it. Luckily for me, in another very recent post, Arcade Heroes gave us the low-down on the newest update to the Cosmotrons game, which I get to write more stuff about another cool arcade game.
In this new update (which has been crafted with player and operator feedback from the Arcade Summer Tour in mind) there are quite a few interesting changes. Now, there are these weird British voice-overs that you’ll either really like or really hate. (Sorta like the DDR announcer, heh-heh.) I think they’re okay, personally. It certainly gives the game more character, but I would’ve enjoyed a less grating voice. There is also a new gravity indicator and call-outs for fuel. According to Adam Pratt, there has also been a very slight change to the button layout. The most substantial change to gameplay is perhaps the humans that fall out your ship when you or other players die. Once you respawn, you can pick up your little dude to earn a bonus like an extra bullet. Furthermore, opponents can shoot your little dudes, and little dudes can fight back. It’s a pretty intriguing addition, if you ask me. Of course, it makes an already complex arcade game that much more complex, but there’s nothing wrong with demanding a little more thought out of players in the increasingly casual-leaning arcade industry. Here's some footage for ya:
Am I excited for this update? Absolutely. I’ve been totally hooked on Cosmotrons (and pretty much any indie arcade game) since day one. I can’t wait for the game to come out so I can finally play it! We shouldn't be shying away from making players think. Arcade games should embrace just a little bit of complexity. Not too much, of course. (Games should still be accessible.) Here's to more Cosmotrons updates and more "complex" arcade games in the future.
As we’ve all been witnessing for about a year now, indie developers are growing into quite the force to be reckoned with in the arcade industry. Of course, we’ve still got a long way to go—Dave and Buster’s and other FECs apparently can’t be bothered to support indies. However, things are looking up, and I can’t wait to see what other exciting indie offerings pop up this year.
Before you go, can I get off on a little tangent? Don’t answer that. Listen, people: I get that it’s cool and all to call small arcade developers “indie”, but I really feel like it’s a misnomer in the arcade industry. Every developer (for the most part) has to design their own games and hardware, so why would a small team be any different from, say, Raw Thrills? Both indies and Raw Thrills are doing the same thing; the games just look different. I dunno. It just seems weird to me. Then again, slapping the word “indie” on a new arcade release always generates more interest than other arcade releases do, so maybe we should keep the term around just for the extra exposure.
Anyway, keep it real or whatever. I just figured I’d write a short article on two little news blurbs to keep my blog topical. I think my first true commentary article of the year turned out pretty okay, if I do say so myself. I know I don't usually post on Wednesdays, but Wix tells me it's a good day for me. It's good, I guess. Also, I got this article out just a day after the Cosmotrons news, which makes me feel special.
Get. Go away now.