Wednesday, March 20

Arcades outmoded by home systems


Since their arrival, video games have always been a constant
source of distraction for college students. But their transition
from arcades to homes have taken a toll on arcades, including the
X-Cape Arcade on Ackerman Union’s A-level.

“We’ve seen a decline of 15 to 25 percent per
year,” said Jerry Mann, director of Student Union and Student
Support services, regarding revenue. “It’s because
folks are playing more at home.”

According to the Associated Students of UCLA revenue reports,
total game room revenue in the 1992-1993 fiscal year was $936,960.
For 2003-2004, total game room revenue was $148,093.

Within the past few years, ASUCLA has modified the recreation
options in Ackerman Union by taking out the bowling alley in the
1992-1993 school year, removing pool tables in the 1995-1996 school
year, and adding them again in the 2000-2001 school year.

Revenue has been going down since 1992-1993, with only an
increase in revenue during the 1997-1998 school year.

ASUCLA plans to include X-Cape in its Food Service Master Plan
““ long-term goals set to renovate ASUCLA eateries throughout
campus ““ by potentially making the Cooperage a place to eat,
play video games, and play pool, Mann said.

These changes may not be seen for a while because ASUCLA has
decided to place priority on renovating the Bombshelter instead of
A-level, he added.

ASUCLA has $6 million already allocated to the Bombshelter
project but is talking with the university about expanding the site
from a food facility to a student center that would include study
spaces and a student store, much like the North Campus Student
Center near Northern Lights.

The trend of decreased arcade patronage is not specific to
X-Cape. Other arcades have been seeing a decline due to the
popularity of game consoles like Playstation 2 and Xbox.

“A lot of the arcades are filled with old games that
people used to play, so basically the arcades of this time are
competing with the home systems at this time and they can’t
beat them,” said Steve Bogart, a cashier and technician at
Westwood Arcade on Weyburn Avenue.

Bogart says he has been working with video games since they were
first “cutting edge” and has another reason why video
games have had an increasing presence in the home.

“(The first video games) weren’t allowed to go into
the homes because the parents wouldn’t let it,” Bogart
said.

“Now those (children) are the parents,” he
added.

The increased popularity of home platforms has caused video game
companies to market more games for the home market instead of
arcades, Mann noted.

Students have noticed a lack of variety in X-Cape’s
current lineup.

“I don’t go there anymore because all of their games
are fighting games,” said Gabby Mantaring, a second-year
aerospace engineering student, who used to frequent X-Cape.
“Plus, the games that aren’t fighting games cost a
dollar each to play.”

Mantaring used to play a game called Drum Mania that was removed
from X-Cape.

“I just want my drum game back,” Mantaring said
jokingly. “That’s all I really, really want.”

What also makes an arcade difficult to manage is the cost of
purchasing arcade game consoles.

While arcade games used to be much more affordable, the price
for games has become increasingly expensive, Mann said.

The higher cost for technologically advanced arcade consoles
also means an increased cost to play.

“More than 50 cents for a video game is too much,”
Mantaring said. “All the cool, innovative games are all a
dollar.”

Also, arcade machines, especially pinball machines, are costly
to repair, Bogart said.

“If people hit a pinball machine, they go crazy,” he
said.

Westwood Arcade’s newest Elvis-themed pinball machine has
been in the arcade for about three months, but is already starting
to see problems.

“If you open it up and look inside, it’s futuristic,
but it’ll break down just as much as the other ones,”
Bogart said.

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