Let me just state up front, I fully understand that these games have reared their head on various systems (well, most of them) and in various formats. I understand all of this, but this is different. This is more than just another rehash. This is like the elite version of the Xbox 360 (except it doesn’t die after six months — that is prior to the slim version). This is the high-end PlayStation 3 of arcade packages.
You have to download the Capcom Arcade Cabinet application from the PlayStation Store before you can play the games. It’s an odd way of doing things in hindsight, but it’s the application that delivers the goods to your PS3. The cabinet organizes and rewards through visuals and a very nice organization system. Much like what you’ve seen before in games like Namco Museum. For example, you get Galaga’s arcade art when you play the Museum. The actual game takes up one-third of the screen. This is the same case for Capcom Arcade Cabinet’s games. You get the art from the side of the actual arcade cabinets that accompanies the games.
That’s where things start getting different.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Capcom throws out the future titles that are going to be added to the arcade cabinet. Some of them are available now such as Black Tiger, 1943: Battle of Midway and Avengers (a $4.99 bundle), while others are on the horizon for the next few weeks (like Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Gun Smoke and Section Z); the last three are available for demo. You can purchase the entire bundle of games for $29.99, which will get you all the games. I can tell you right now that the games just get better after the first bundle. It’s all very organized and out there and gives you hope that Capcom isn’t just going to sell a single bundle without following up with the strong arcade library that it owns.
Here’s what to expect in the coming months:
Game Pack 2 (March 5th)
Ghosts ‘n Goblins
Game Pack 3 (March 19th)
Game Pack 4 (April 2nd)
The Speed Rumbler
Exed Exes (Savage Bees)
Game Pack 5 (April 16th)
Pirate Ship Higemaru
If you know anything about arcade games then you’ll recognize a good majority of these as classics.
Bundles aside, the real beef to this package is how the Capcom Arcade Cabinet functions. You get the ability to mess with the DIP switches for the games, which ends up changing how the game itself functions (like difficulty). If you’re a fan of arcade games, or grew up with them, then you understand the significance of this inclusion. When you first turned on an arcade cabinet the DIP switch and self-test menu would pop up. You get the ability to change the game, while still getting the nostalgia that comes along with the arcade feel. That really brings another level of fun to the package.
The other really neat thing about the Capcom Arcade Cabinet is that some of the games come with online components to them. Understand that back in the 1980s the only way to check a leaderboard on a game was to go visit the game in the arcades. Since some gamers live and die by getting the best score out there (which is an old school goal), it’s nice to see a ‘rankings’ system included with all the current games in the arcade set. Again, this might not be a huge deal for some, but it’s a neat modern update for some very old games.
Now, the coolest thing that is included in two out of the three current games available is the ability to play co-op online. Games like 1943: Battle of Midway and Avenger really do beg for some co-op. Having the ability to dial up a friend (or someone you don’t know) online for a quick match is an outstanding option. It expands the arcade game outside of the Dave & Busters of the world and allows you to buddy-up and have some fun. It’s a big deal for some old titles, and it’s something that I give major kudos to Capcom for doing. It’s simple, but cool.
Other features included in this package include the ability to capture your video and screenshots of your arcade experience. So, when you die 50+ times in Black Tiger then you can enjoy the fruits of your 3-hour labor of continuing constantly. I really do stink at that game, but it was fun to just keep going and share them on YouTube (you won’t find any of videos, so don’t look).
Back to the original statement above, I fully understand that some of you simply can’t see purchasing this package for $29.99, but I think Capcom does enough here to warrant it. Having been raised in the days of Channel F, Atari and arcades, this brings back some great memories that really make me happy that a company cares enough to preserve its classics in such a solid way. It’s not a simple rehash of classics, it’s something that really appears to be well thought out.
I hope more companies from the arcade age follow through with a concept like this.