T3: Will 2009 be the year of the arcade?

ATEI 2009 preview...

Remember the arcade?...

If you haven't paid a visit to London's Namco Station or one of the new breed of uber-arcades recently, then mention of the arcade is likely to trigger rose-tinted memories of button-bashing Konami's original 'Track and Field' or greedily feeding twenty pence pieces into a SEGA OutRun machine at some fleapit fun-palace in Cleethorpes or Southend.

You may also be surprised to hear that the UK arcade scene is far from dead. Ubiquitous home console gaming, far from killing off the arcade, has given it a new lease of life. Though editor of arcade trade newsletter the Stinger Report, Kevin Williams, does agree the age of the single arcade is over, telling T3 that: "The market now represents 'public space' gaming - game experiences in hardware unachievable at home.

"This means motion, big display, unique interfaces and tournament networking for prizes. With this in mind the new developers for 2009 fall into three camps - 'mid-size attractions', 'pure arcade play' and 'gaming terminals'."

One of the most popular 'mid-size attractions' set to be on show at next month's ATEI arcade trade show in London is bound to be SEGA's 'HUMMER' – a humungous 4x4 racer using full motion cabinets and featuring a unique two player driver swapping feature.

"I mean, where else can you take part in a fully realistic Hummer race with four of your mates?" asks SEGA Amusements General Sales Manager, Justin Burke....

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