And then, there was magazine coverage
It’s been a while since arcades got a lot of attention that they deserved in mainstream gaming magazines. I have tried to combat that a little through articles I have written for HardCore Gamer Magazine and for a while (their most recent issue includes a review for Primeval Hunt that I wrote not long after ASI) they have been one of the very few voices willing to give arcades a fair shake (which reminds me, I need to get another article written up for them) but unfortunately they are now only publishing once every quarter so it’s not something you’ll run into that often.
Anyways, in several recent game magazines that have hit store shelves you might be surprised to find a bit of arcade coverage in them. I’m not kidding! It might not be exactly what you would expect – most of it just discusses Street Fighter IV while leaving out any mention of the fact that there are several companies producing brand new coin-op games, several of which are exclusive to arcades – but it is a start, almost like a nice drizzle after a long drought. We’ll have to see what happens here in a few weeks when manufacturers start showing off new content. IMO it would be wise for arcade makers to make a demo disc to send out to the media, with footage of the game in action or something to perk interests in the media but that’s just me.
Hit the post break below for the rundown
First off I noticed this trend in the most recent GameInformer (Issue 185) magazine. The first mention I found was in their e3 coverage where they profiled their top 25 games of e3. Sitting in at 23rd is Street Fighter IV and it’s obvious that they were talking about the arcade version and not the console versions of the game. Then in the very back of the issue in their classic GI section they take a look back at two old arcade titles: Street Fighter (yes, the 1st one) and Strider.
Next up is GAMEStm, which features Blanka from SFIV on the cover. GAMEStm actually reviews the arcade version of SFIV and they gave it a 9/10! The high scores for SFIV do seem to be consistent with what I have heard elsewhere so no worries from a backlash on that front but I wish more people would take Capcom to task for forcing operators to buy two kits or cabs to play the game as it is meant to be. Still, seeing an arcade title take the front cover of any magazine is a rare occurance anymore.
Next up is EDGE magazine with an 8-page spread on the Funspot Classic arcade in NH. I have not read this one yet but it’s very cool that Funspot got this amount of coverage. I still hope to visit Funspot one day and experience it for myself.
Ironically magazines like GAMES and EDGE have kept the ‘arcade’ label on their list of things that the magazine covers, even though such coverage has been rather sparse until recently. Hopefully the trend of writing about arcades continues and I do give these magazines kudos for this favorable coverage they are handing out but I think there is more to be done. If I am being critical of magazines it is because they have ignored the arcade scene for such a long time now, preferring instead to cover shovelware crap that comes out on the Wii or other ‘beloved’ console and it will be telling to see how they react to arcades once SFIV has come and gone. As we were told by Kevin Williams of the Stinger Report, the popularity of the arcade version of SFIV has shocked a lot of editors and they are a little uncomfortable in regards to arcades since it’s not the norm for them to write about it. Of course it’s not like SFIV is the only popular arcade game out there, games like Golden Tee, Silver Strike Bowling and the Big Buck series have hordes of fans that play these games all the time but you would never know it by picking up a mainstream game mag.
This is why I think now is a good time for other arcade manufacturers to get on the ball and send things out to the mags. Unfortunately you can’t just release a game and expect it to be covered, to get magazine coverage you generally need to send journalists ‘schwag’ to get their attention, not just a press release. Where arcades are concerned, mainstream game mags only go out of their way for them when a particular game of arcade center has already been deemed very popular. Of course here at Arcade Heroes we haven’t needed that and have given arcades the most favorable media coverage anywhere in many years but that is because we love the arcade scene and the games produced on them, not because we’re looking to be bought out and we’ll continue fighting for arcades as long as is necessary.
Enough rambling for now, feel free to continue on with the comments or the forum.