Sep 17, 2019
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Oh Wow! Student gamers are gone

Arcellie Santos (pictured) said that she uses the school arcade often to play her favorite games, which include Dance Dance Revolution Extreme and Puzzle Fighter II Turbo.  The USU arcade has seen a decrease in use as students are opting to play computer games instead.
Vicente Reyes / The Collegian

The bright lights, loud buzzes and the clank of quarters being inserted into an arcade game is not something Fresno State students are into anymore –– or at least, that’s how it appears.

Even though there is an arcade in the lower level of the University Student Union (USU), not many students take advantage of it.

Patricia Thomason, the Recreation Center manager, said that revenue has been going down in every gaming room, despite the new games that are brought in twice a year to entice students to use the arcade.

But the USU arcade continues to offer a variety of games in hopes of attracting more students. With old favorites like air hockey, foosball, pinball, shooter and fighting games with popular titles such as House of the Dead 2, Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Tekken 5, the arcade has established some loyal patrons for particular games.

Thomason said that the pinball machines are some of the most popular, along with fighting and shooter games. A new Family Guy themed pinball game was brought into the arcade and has been doing fairly well.

Thomason speculated that the pinball games might be doing better than the others because it’s a game that can’t be played the same way using newertechnology.

“One thing that we have found that does the very best is pinball because you can’t play pinball on the computer,” Thomason said.

Thomason said that a complete pinball machine can cost roughly $3,800, a sit down driving or a dance game can cost $20,000.

“We have Internet access here on campus, so students can sit at the tables and play games. I think that’s why there has been such a decline in revenue,” Thomason said.

However, a trip to the arcade is still in some demand.

Arcellie Santos, a junior nursing major, said that she uses the school arcade fairly often. She likes to play a variety of games in the arcade, ranging from Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, to shooting games, but her favorite right now is Puzzle Fighter II Turbo.

Andrew Lucchetti, an ag business major, said he doesn’t use the arcade because he mostly plays computer games at home. His favorites are Call of Duty 2 and Battlefield 2.

“I don’t have the money to spend on a different system every couple of years, or different games. I just stick to PC,” Lucchetti said.

Evan Zucker, a sophomore history major, said that he uses the school arcade. He said that he played a lot when he first came to Fresno State, but hasn’t been playing as much because playing can get expensive.

Zucker said the he might look into other arcades because the costs of playing games could be less expensive.

This might be the case at Oh Wow! Nickel Arcade located on Blackstone Avenue, where the price of admission is only $1.95 and the price for playing games ranges from free to three nickels. The nickel arcade has been open for about 12 years and the most popular days are Saturdays and Sundays.

In The Groove 2 is one of the most popular games, along with the fighting and ticket games. Oh Wow! Nickel Arcade manager Tim Barrett said the arcade gets new games three to four times of year, but they are mostly older games. This is because the nickel arcade is a subsidiary of the company that owns Blackbeard’s Family Fun Center. This means that the nickel arcade gets used games from Blackbeard’s.

Barrett said that Fresno City College students come to the nickel arcade more than Fresno State students because Fresno City students get a dollar off of admission if they show their student ID.

Barrett said that he didn’t know if the decision has been made to offer discounts to Fresno State students.

Even with the release of popular home consoles like the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, Barrett said that he has seen an improvement in business in recent years.

“There is not a Doom arcade game or a Halo arcade game,” Barrett said. “A shooter game or a fighting game is much better in an arcade.”

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