Chapter 1

Mechanical and Electromechanical Arcade Games (1870–1979)

Arcade Game Design

Nearly one-hundred years before the first appearances of digital arcade games, both mechanical engineers and artists created games designed to be visually attractive, easy to understand, and difficult or outright impossible to master. These design concepts were conditioned by a business model that centered on making money by having a high volume of customers pay low prices per trial. As such, the games would only be financially successful if play could start immediately and conclude quickly. While impossible to establish the absolute origin of these concepts, they are intimately connected to playing games in public spaces and are best illustrated by carnival ...

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