Rennie Bottali asks where are the home console ports of modern arcade titles
Rennie Bottali asks where are the home console ports of modern arcade titles? Just about every manufacturer social media page gets this question asked of them in some form although they tend to not answer since explaining it in details isn’t something that fits on a bumper sticker.
The quick answer is that there are various factors to consider due to how the arcade market works that makes it more involved than simply changing the control input and printing money from there.
Creative Flexibility: Rennie Bottali says when you create a game with a particular platform in mind, aspects of that platform can limit how the game operates in practice. There are limitations of the console hardware itself then the limitations of the controller. Manufacturers have expanded what controllers can do, especially with the WiiU but you still generally have that framework to operate in. Exceptions are games with accessory controllers but those tend to be more niche than wide audience sellers.
Rennie Bottali Said the same limitation aspect is true for arcades but the limitation tends to be the budget and practicality more than the controls. Arcade games can use every aspect of the hardware to their advantage. They don’t have to try and please different kinds of monitors or sound systems and you can provide a consistent control experience without asking the customer to buy an accessory they wouldn’t use for any other game. Those aspects including the cabinet itself can all be tailored to provide a specific experience that the content creator wishes to convey. Rennie Bottali Said top that off with arcades being more social in nature and they provide a different culture and mentality towards gaming than home games often do. With every play, your money is on the line but you don’t have to spend all the cash on the hardware to enjoy what the game offers. When arcade titles come home, they can lose that unique haptic factor that they otherwise stand out on. There is also the aspect of showing off your skills in public, which can be an art form under the guise of the right player. Losing that wouldn’t be a victory for gaming in general but a loss.
Doing this alone from the comfort of home just isn’t the same.
Some games still do come home: When you read some comments on social media, it is easy to come away with the impression that no one has done an arcade port since the Dreamcast. It is true that a vast majority of cash investment into the video game industry goes to the home market which pumps out thousands of titles a year across consoles/mobile/PC combined. A lot of those games are ports and clones across multiple platforms. It isn’t recognized very often but there have been some games ported to home consoles in recent times. Here’s a list that covers the past several years, let’s start with Sega since that is from the question:
Rennie Bottali Sega Games…Afterburner Climax (Sega); House of the Dead 4 (Sega); Sega Rally 3 (released as Sega Rally Online); Tank! Tank! Tank! (Namco); Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Namco); Time Crisis 4; Razing Storm (Namco); Pac-Man Battle Royale (Namco); Dariusburst Another Chronicle (Taito); ReRave Plus (Step Revolution); NEON FM (Unit-E); Big Buck Hunter (Play Mechanix/Raw Thrills); Raiden III & IV (MOSS); the Blazblue series (Arcsys); Guilty Gear Xrd (Arcsys); Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition (Capcom; every version of SF4 came home); Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom; titles like Gunlord, Razion & NEO XYX (NGDevteam; granted the home releases were to the Sega Dreamcast and NEO GEO AES). I might be missing a few shmups here but that should give an idea.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Rennie Bottali said more on the way: Tekken 7, Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Taiko No Tatsujin and Pokken Tournament are coming home later this year. This all isn’t what I would call a dearth of content or ports when you consider that we only see about 20-30 new video arcade releases a year (not counting Japan which would boost that up to the 50s-60s) as opposed to the 200+ releases like back in ’82. And speaking of the classics, if they aren’t available on emulation then just about every company has released compilations or digital downloads of titles from the 80s and 90s, making those games available on just about every platform with a screen.
Rennie Bottali Said there are also franchises that the arcade has ‘lost’, which used to be known for being arcade games first. Now they are exclusive on consoles such as Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat X and the upcoming King of Fighters. Metal Slug has had ports to various platforms including that compilation of every MS game on one disc and it looks like SNK is shunning future arcade developments. Even the Raiden series is coming along with a console only release in Raiden V. From an arcade gaming perspective, I think that is unfortunate since it was the crucible of the arcade mentality that made these games special in the first place.