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Video arcade

A video arcade is a place where people play arcade video games. Customers of these establishments are overwhelmingly male with teens making up a majority of the patrons. Video arcades typically have subdued lighting to inhibit glare and enhance the viewing of the game's video display. This atmosphere has added to the stores' sometimes negative reputation in the United States. In Japan, however, male and female teens and adults can often be found enjoying arcades, typically on dates.

Types of games

The video games are typically in large upright boxes. Customers insert coins or tokens into the machines and stand in front of them to play the game. These are by far the most popular type of arcade game format.

Some machines, such as Ms. Pac Man and Joust, are occasionally in smaller boxes with a flat, clear glass or plexiglass top; the player sits at the machine playing it, looking down. This style of arcade game is known as a cocktail-style arcade game table since they were first popularlized in bars.

Some arcade games, such as racing games, are designed to be sat in or on. These types of games are sometimes referred to as sit-down games. Sega is one of the largest manufacturers of these types of arcade games.


Video arcades started springing up in the late 1970s and were most popular during the golden age of arcade games, the mid-1980s.

During this time, arcades were so popular in the United States that school children could easily pass one or two on their way to or from school. This disturbed many parents who disapproved of the perceived seedy atmosphere of the arcades and of their children's use of money on the "frivolous" activity of video game playing. Some attempts were made to prohibit children's patronage of such establishments with varying degrees of success. Most opposition to such stores has evaporated with the decline of these businesses beginning in the mid-1990s. Some stores still exist in the US, but not in nearly the large numbers since the mid-1980s.

Video arcades are still very popular in Japan, where large, sit-down games dominate. As mentioned above, Sega dominates the market for these types of games.