The galloping ghost gives extra life to arcade games

Arcades occupy a unique place in the history of video games. In the late 70s and 80s, a number of hits such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, i Donkey Kong introduced a new gameplay mechanics and bright, crisp pixel graphics. The 1990s saw a boom in fighting games Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, i Virtua Fighter demonstrating cutting-edge graphics and gameplay.

It was the place to be, a time when avant-garde video games, from polygonal graphics with texture maps to peripheral control inputs (including steering wheels, light pistols, and dance mats), could only be found crammed into impeccable design cabinets. , with its colorful bezels and canopies. Bows dodged hardware limitations in large part because of their ability to optimize hardware specifically to play a single game. Home consoles and computers had not yet been updated.

But as technology advanced, the avant-garde found its way into a new generation of console hardware, especially in the late 1990s with the release of the sixth generation of consoles, including the PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and Sega Dreamcast. Then the online games took off, further fueling the demise of the arcades. These days, you’ll still find some arcade cabinets in Dave and Busters and Chuck E. Cheese. Of course, the real The galleries were often dark, narrow, and sweaty, smelling of overheated circuits. Trying to find one today is a daunting task, but there is hope!

Photography: Daniel Hull

In the quiet suburbs outside of Chicago, Galloping Ghost Arcade aims to preserve this unique period in gaming history by collecting an impressive line of lockers. It makes sense for Galloping Ghost Arcade to find its home in Brookfield, Illinois. It is in the midst of a growing arcade game scene, with people passionate about retro games. Chicago had once been home to the heavyweights of arcades Gottlieb, Bally, Midway and other prominent arcade publishers of the 1990s. As of this release, the arcade offers over 851 games (and counting!).

Humble beginnings

Galloping Ghost began in 1994 when Doc Mack, owner and founder, had a casual encounter with Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon. A lifelong player in the background, Mack wanted to become a game developer. “[Boon] he told me how hard it would be to get into the business, “says Mack.” So I left and did mine. ” when he founded Galloping Ghost with the intention of developing his own fighting game, Dark presence. Although the title has not been released so far, Mack’s company has never slowed down, contributing to several projects, including Galloping Ghost Arcade.

The origin story of the arcade began on an arcade location tracking website called Aurcade. Mack thought joining the local Chicago arcade culture would be a worthwhile endeavor. “We thought we would provide a lot of data, which would help our own production by figuring out where to sell our arcade games.”

Mack toured bars, restaurants, and other businesses in search of arcade lockers. In his search, he made a boring discovery. “A lot of the machines couldn’t be played: the buttons and sticks weren’t working, the cathode ray tube monitors were all faded,” Mack says. Most of the cupboards were in a state of disrepair, old-fashioned technology was torn to pieces in the corner of a laundry room or pushed close to the toilets of a family restaurant. But, says Mack, “it made me write the business model of what would become Galloping Ghost Arcade.”

Mack found a Craigslist ad selling 114 machines, all of which were stored and abandoned in a warehouse in Dennison, Iowa. “We drove up, talked to the guy, and found out he had another store full of games in Tennessee.” Mack added 87 more machines to the Galloping Ghost collection; these cabinets formed the basis of the grand opening of the arcade on August 13, 2010. “We opened with 130 machines, and since then it has been non-stop, constantly expanding the arcade.”

Unique in a kind

Among Mack’s 851 acquisitions (and counting), there will surely be some unique rarities and machines, including prototypes of unreleased titles. Primordial Rage was a dinosaur-themed individual fighting game developed by Atari Games in 1994 to compete directly with Mortal Kombat II and other fighting games of that era. Its success led Atari Games to quickly begin developing a sequel. That game would have been Primal Rage II, but was filed after Midway bought Atari Games. Developed halfway Mortal Kombat, and the Primal Rage IIThe cancellation was probably a move to crush any competition with the franchise’s pride and joy of the company.

Photography: Daniel Hull

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