Arcade-Style Game Design / Pinball Presentation

Jun 24, 2013

I’ve written entries before about pinball’s relation to coin-op videogames, however – especially in the case of my master’s thesis – they’ve been lengthy and required some nontrivial effort or a prior interest in pinball to get through. The thesis is necessarily lengthy and thorough, whereas those older original blog entries were a bit disorganized since I was working to better understand what I was writing about while writing it.

To bring this work into a more easily digested format, I recently adapted and updated highlights from the material for a presentation at the first History of Games International Conference.

For business reasons, journals are often restrictive of their content for some period of time. I wasn’t sure to what degree that extended to our panel presentations, however after another presenter openly mentioned in his talk that the full text of his presentation was posted online, I double checked whether it would be fine to share a recording of mine. One of the conference organizers assured me that, at least in the context of this conference, posting my own recording would be a fine thing to do.

I’ve included a little extra detail, and slowed my pacing for clarity, relative to how I presented it at History of Games. I of course have the luxury in this recorded version of not needing to fit within a specific time window.

I hope that you find it of interest or use!

(And as always, please consider sharing it if you do.)

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  1. Eric Finlay says:

    Really interesting video – it’s crazy how much history there is in something that on first pass seems so simple. The way you were describing the arcade games of the 80s made me think about the niche market of Skill Gaming (cash tournaments, no randomization, is a big player), do you think there’s a place for that to move onto mobile phones? Or are games like that best left in the past?

    I may be working on a startup trying to put skill games on mobile phones 😉 (

    • Chris DeLeon says:

      > do you think there’s a place for that to move onto mobile phones? Or are games like that best left in the past?

      As tends to be the case for these kinds of questions, I don’t believe it’s a simple yes or no. I think it’ll largely come down to execution, and whether the numbers involved in the business can work out favorably. Executed well enough: it could create a market for it. Executed poorly enough, by various competitors leading that domain, it could potentially shrink or destroy what market exists for it. That said, sometimes markets are cyclical, either on account of an ability to tap into nostalgia, or if enough time has passed that something old seems new, or because the requirements for its creation, distribution, and participation have been lowered by technical advancements. All or any of those three definitely might factor in on the case you’re referring to. Good luck with the startup!

  2. Andrew says:

    Great video, very interesting to see the evolution of these types of games.

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