Nostalgia in the form of arcades
If we had to mention the industries that have grown exponentially in the last decades, undoubtedly the video game industry would come to mind. Without us realizing it, five decades have passed since the first titles made their appearance, causing astonishment among people who did not really understand how it was possible to interact with something that happened on a screen.
Today this industry competes head to head, and even surpasses in some aspects the turnover of giant industries such as music and cinema, generating thousands of jobs all over the world. Nowadays it is normal to come across video games with a high degree of realism and with scripts at the level of a movie, but it was not always like that. Back in the 1970s, the first Arcades appeared, machines located in specific entertainment establishments that allowed playing a specific video game in exchange for tokens or coins. Companies such as Capcom, Midway, Taito and later Nintendo (TYO: 7974) and Sega (TYO: 6460) were the queens of the industry. Games such as Pong, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Donkey Kong and Galaga, among many others, gathered young people for hours in noisy rooms illuminated only by the lights of the screens.
Undoubtedly, the golden age of video games had begun, and home consoles had not even appeared on a massive scale yet. It wasn’t until the late 1970s and early 1980s that home consoles managed to penetrate the mass public, and companies like Atari, Nintendo, Sega and later Sony (NYSE: SONY) began to battle epically to break into a rapidly advancing emerging market.
From then on, the story is familiar to virtually all of us. Technology advanced in such a way that everything got faster, smaller and more sophisticated. Companies like Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) and Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI) began to create video games of such realism that the industry began to capture the adult audience as well.
Consoles evolved to the point where we could get unlimited hours of entertainment in our own home, accelerating the demise of the entertainment venues. Today there are only a few of them left, distributed throughout the world, mainly concentrated in Japan. But if there is one thing that characterizes technology fans, it is nostalgia. We may have consoles thousands of times faster and video games endowed with stunning realism, but we will always miss the previous eras. This is how emulators (programs that allowed to run video games from old or discontinued consoles on newer consoles or computers) initially emerged, and this was the kick-off for a new industry to open up in much of America and some other parts of the world: the manufacture of retro arcade machines.
Thus, today it is possible to acquire machines very similar to those of the entertainment centers of previous decades, but with current technology. The furniture, the controls and even the position of the screen make us feel as if we were going back in time. But inside this furniture plotted with tracings of classics such as PacMan or Space Invaders, we find a state-of-the-art computer, with hundreds or even thousands of games installed.
At first, the idea was that everyone could set up an entertainment center in their own living room, but over time, the anxiety of the most nostalgic went beyond that, and they began to organize classic video game championships in local clubs, enjoying once again the noise, the lights and the characteristic sound of the neon signs that are usually an icon of these places. Some say that every time in the past was better, and perhaps they are not wrong in some aspects, but the technology industry is so audacious that it always finds a way to merge that which generates strong emotions with the latest advances, thus making technology contribute to make us feel more human.