“Medium” Arcade Games

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If the term “arcade game” has a contemporary evolution that equates it to a genre (Rouse, et al., 2010, “glossary”), ”  arcade game ” also refers to a consumption and defines a game, video or not ( air hockey , optico-mechanical shooting games, etc.), operated in a public commercial place (Anable, 2012 pp. 31-34). In a tradition dating back to the late 19th century, these games are usually presented in a colorful formwork (”  cabinet “) And dressed with various accessories. The characteristic that separates the arcade game from other forms of video games is therefore its public character. This dimension of public experience, where the game is not only reusable source code on other platforms, appears crucial for this cultural object: it is for this reason, for example, that it is the subject of public prevention campaigns, when its popularity explodes in the early 1980s (Pierson, 2011).

The arcade video game is a sociable game, a form of entertainment open to the public since its inception. Thus, as early as 1974, the idea of ​​setting up an ”  Attract Mode” “, An automatic demonstration mode designed to give the consumer free preview of the game and its possibilities (Pierson, 2011 p.27). The game therefore contains its own advertising, is given as a show before being the place of an interaction. While domestic games have partly kept this mode of operation, it has gradually been replaced by sequences of introductions proposing a different contract, since they are addressed to a player already conquered, having previously acquired the game, and not to a potential player who has not yet made his choice. This dimension of free spectacle on the screen works in concert with the appearance of the object, the “peri-game”, if it is necessary to pasticher Genette, also charged by its bright colors and its singular design to arouse the l attention and seduction.


The corpus of four games that interests us here falls well within this definition of the arcade, although all have since seen various variations, from home consoles to cell phones (Borey, 2012). In chronological order, WWF Superstars created by the Japanese developer Technos 1989, inaugurates the cycle that interests us here. This is the first licensed wrestling game available in the arcade, although other games devoted to the sport have been published before, at least since 1983 ( The Big Pro Wrestling ! , Technos) and although versions for home consoles and computers pre-exist. A sequel will be given to the game in 1991, WWF Wrestlefest (Technos), before a change of direction embodied by WWF WrestleMania “The Arcade Game” (Acclaim) in 1995 and a final late effort in 2000, WWF Royal Rumble (Sega), a bit special since it was available both on the Saturn console and in the arcade.

The dressing of the cabin mentions the American branch of Technos, Technos America, the indicatio (…)

The chronology of this corpus is quite close to that of the arcade game in general. Thus, WWF Royal Rumble is published in a period of rapid decline of arcade games. If WWF games come after the first ostentatious period of form (1979-1982), they accompany subsequent developments. This chronological correspondence doubles as a geographical dimension, since these four games illustrate the shift of the video game from the United States to Japan, after the serious crisis of the sector in 1983-4. While it has hit US arcades hard, it has had only a limited effect in Japan, displacing the center of gravity of the industry to this country (Anable, 2012 pp. 36 -7). This is a Japanese studio, 2who is responsible for developing the game WWF Superstars , and its suite for arcades even though these two games, by the chosen theme, are ostensibly intended for the North American market. In addition to the relative disengagement of American companies at the time, the expertise of Technos in similar games partly explains this choice, since the company was at the origin of The Big Pro Wrestling! , precursor mentioned above, of Mat Mania (1985) but also of Double Dragon , big success of 1987 and essential inspiration in term of video-play genre. From our corpus, only WWF WrestleMania “The Arcade Game” is published directly by an American studio.