The Future Of Insert Coin ArcadeJune 25, 2007
Hello. I’m Seven Shikami, owner and designer of Insert Coin Arcade, and all the games within. Now, let’s get down to business.
“Seven, what’s this I hear about your retrogames no longer being for sale?”
I had never dreamed — or intended, really– that this enterprise would become a massive business that would eventually lead to opening a full island sim. The problem is that the products here essentially infringe on the rights of several copyright holders, such as Nintendo, Capcom, and Konami. While I firmly believe that retrogaming nostalgia is a form of common, shared culture, and my games are an expression of my love for that culture, I can’t reconcile the fact that I am actually making some money off this labor of love, and that’s a no-no.
Lately, Second Life has been in the news, and not in a good way as police and FBI and lawyers are starting to sit up and take notice. Since I’m not in the mood to have my life destroyed by corporations, even ones I have a great deal of love for due to the joy they’ve given me throughout both my childhood and adulthood, I’m doing the “right thing” and not selling the games anymore.
Hey, hang on! This is not a death knell, it’s a rebirth. Just keep reading, okay? Right. Onward!
“Hang on, what about the games I bought from you?! Are they going away? Are you magically whisking them from my inventory!?”
No, no, of course not. You bought them; they’re yours. I RECOMMEND you set them free play or simply delete them, though, to avoid legal troubles. If you wanna damn the torpedoes, though, that’s your call and you can keep them rolling and keep them giving you money. It’s entirely up to you! However, no more patches or features will be added to these games.
Excluded from this are Whack-a-Mole and Skeeball. After some modifications (which will be issued free to owners) they’re safe as houses. Technically, the trademarks on these games are actually “Whac-a-Mole(tm)” and “Skee-ball(tm)” and our games play like any number of similar non-infringing clones — and ours even have features the originals do not. So, good to go!
“So… does this mean no more arcade games, ever?”
HELL NO! It’s a rebirth… I have plans to take the code — which was entirely my work and only vaguely echoed the original games anyway — and repurpose it for a SECOND GENERATION of games, using original intellectual property, but hearkening back to the era of coin-op that time forgot. Original sprite artwork and new cabinet designs. You can learn more about this in the Upcoming Projects room, in the back of the arcade, which will open soon to the public so you can follow our progress.
What’s more, when they’re finished, you will get the “equivilant” Second Generation version of the game you own FOR FREE. I said free upgrades for life, and I meant it!
Still, you love these games from your childhood, why replace them with originals? Well…
* REASON #1: PROFIT. Although I believe $1 to be the most fair price point, the new games will allow for $0, $1, $5 or $10 price points per play. These will become viable ways to pay for your tier! (You run the risk of losing business to lower priced competitors, but that’s business, baby.)
* REASON #2: TICKETS & PRIZES. The most requested feature ever will be added — the ability to install (if you buy the package for it) a ticket booth that hands out prizes of your own design! A great way to promote your business and encourage repeated arcade plays! Your tickets will be unique to your arcade, and cannot be spent at a competitor’s place. The module that gives out tickets and redeems them for prizes will be on sale soon from the arcade’s shop wall. (It’s not free, but it’ll be much cheaper than an arcade game itelf.)
* REASON #3: OPEN SOURCE. What!? YES, open source game development tools! I am going to publish the framework that handles owner config, payment, player registration, high scores, and even ticket rewards! With this OpenArcade Framework, you can develop your OWN games that will be compatible with the ticket booth system, high score trackers, and all the other features you’ve come to love from Insert Coin Arcade.
You lose the original, infringing IP… but look at what you gain in return. A free game. More profit generating. Ticket granting. And a developer’s toolkit. It’s a fair trade.
“When will all this neat stuff be made available?”
The answer is “When It’s Done.” We’ll be working first on revamps to Skeeball and Whack-a-Mole, then releasing the Ticket System to go with them. The OpenArcade Framework will follow soon after, letting you develop your own games.
If you want to track progress, visit the Upcoming Projects room.
“You bastard! I paid $350 just last week for these, and now you’re dropping support?”
“You bastard! I wanted to buy more of these but put it off, and now I can’t get them!”
“You bastard! I don’t want original games, I want Nintendo classics!”
I wish I could please everybody, but I can’t. In this situation I have to do what’s best for myself, or there’d be no more games anyway, and the ones I had would go away when the lawyers came to feed regardless. This is survival. Plus, the new features of Second Generation are going to, I hope, make up for any losses.
For those of you who are nodding your head to all this and continuing to support Insert Coin Arcade… thank you. We can keep the SPIRIT of the greatest generation of gaming alive, without legal troubles, and with even more fun than before. The good times are AHEAD of us. Stay tuned, true believers!