Smart Devices Give Old-School Arcade Games New Life

Smart devices are giving new life to old-school arcade games, and the reason why makes a whole lot of sense.

Some games just aren’t meant to be played on a phone or tablet. Not only can the limiting size of the processor make it blatantly impossible, but even if the technology does allow, a small screen just can’t do some of the graphics justice.

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On the other hand, however, there are some that couldn’t be more perfect. Old arcade games, the ones once made for machines the size of your refrigerator, are ideal for even the smallest of today’s devices.

Recently celebrated at the Pittsburgh Retro Gaming Expo, classic arcade games are making a comeback. Although though they no longer hold the title for the most advanced forms home video entertainment, arcade games of the ’80s are essentially the equivalent of apps in today’s gaming world. The fewer expectations usually associated with apps—limited graphics, basic or no storyline, and simple gameplay—closely mirror the design of old arcade games. As a result, many companies are wisely making the classic games available on smart phones and tablets.

An article from Verizon Wireless says that mobile devices are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to play old-school games such as Ms. Pac Man, Asteroids, and Centipede. Companies have even engineered ways for gamers to recreate that nostalgic arcade feel. They cited ION Audio’s iCade as a prime example. When an iPad user connects their device into the iCade, it “transforms the tablet into a miniature arcade cabinet complete with a multidirectional joystick and eight different action buttons.”

It used to be considered a luxury to have one of the large gaming cabinet in your home, but that was back when it was one of the only mediums available for playing the games. Now, with the price of a Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Class of 1981 arcade cabinet going for upwards of $3,000 on Amazon, many people find that they’re more partial to the option that allows them to move their gaming device without the aid of a forklift.

Many mobile devices aren’t equipped to provide the adequate graphics and seamless play that newer console games require. However, for those of us who still enjoy the classics, being able to whip out a phone when the mood strikes to play some retro Donkey Kong is pure heaven.


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