Arcades have been struggling to survive ever since the Playstation Nation booted up to higher quailty gaming experiences at home.
Improving the arcade experience has been hit or miss.
So-called location-based games - those big machines that simulate, say, surfing or motorcycling - charge a premium for the kind of immersive experience you can't get in your living room (even with a Wii). With the exception of Dance Dance Revolution, a boogie-by-numbers phenomenon that successfully made the precipitous leap from Japan to the U.S., however, we have yet to see an arcade game spark a Pac-Man sensation for a new generation.
Now Sega seems to be taking a more retro approach by re-enginnering one classic arcade experience - air hockey. Geek.com has a preview and video of one of these new machines. Yes, you still play with a puck and paddle, but there's a whole lot more happening on the responsive, video playfield. Here's a look. Maybe there's no room to improve on some games after all.
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.