Taito Wins This Round at Round 1 Arcade!

At the beginning of the year, my brothers were telling me about a really cool arcade near where they live.  And just a couple of months ago, I finally got a chance to go to it and take pictures.  And now I finally got a chance to post them here!  Anyway, it’s called Round 1, and it has a bowling alley, karaoke, darts, pool tables, and a big kiddie play area.  But who cares about any of those things?  (joking)  It also has a really big arcade with lots of ways to separate itself from other typical arcades.

The arcade has a lot of the same stuff that Dave & Busters has.  I wrote about games I saw at Dave & Busters last year, so I recommend that you check that article out as well because I didn’t take pictures of those things again here.  But it had a lot of neat games like Luigi’s Mansion Arcade, a new Crusin’ game called Crusin’ Blast, a whole bunch of fighting games all in one area (including the new Tekken 7), and much more!

One trend I’ve noticed in arcades lately are cell phone games reworked to be arcade games.  But I don’t mind most of these because they change them enough so that you play them in a new way, or in a way that can’t be recreated on a phone.  For instance, the Angry Birds arcade game has you firing the slingshot from a first person perspective.  The four player Bejeweled game had the screens on a giant lit up jewel.  The Jetpack Joyride game has you sit in a chair with the buttons on the side and it vibrates a lot like you really have a jetpack on your back.  And in the Plants vs. Zombie arcade game, you aim a giant pea pod shooter as you shoot down ever approaching zombies in a first person perspective.

Another staple in many arcades are air hockey tables.  At this arcade, they had a Pac-Man themed air hockey table called Pac-Man Smash, so you know I had to play it.  It’s cool because at certain points, the table would shoot out dozens of mini-pucks!  It was crazy!

Here’s a closer shot of the actual table part of Pac-Man Smash.

Speaking of Pac-Man, another Pac game I wanted to play was Pac-Man Chomp Mania (also known as Ticket Mania).  You play a round of Pac-Man on a big screen to earn tickets.  Unfortunately, the joystick wasn’t working properly and it was hard to go down.  Right next to it was a similar game called Galaga Assault, but I already played it at Dave & Busters so I didn’t take a picture of it here.

But what really set Round 1 arcade apart was its large selection of Japanese arcade games, most of which I’ve never even played or seen before!  One that I had played before was Taiko no Tatsujin, or known as Taiko Drum Master in the US.  It’s a music game where you beat a Taiko drum to the rhythm of the songs.  It got one US release on the PS2, but most may remember its sister game in the US, Donkey Konga (which is pretty much the same game, and both were made by Namco).

I’m a big fan of the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy music games on the 3DS, so I was surprised to see an arcade version of it called Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival.  It plays a lot like the 3DS game but you control it with these weird joystick button things.  Which is strange because the game had a touch screen, too.  I couldn’t tell you much more about the game because it was all in Japanese, so there was a bit of a language barrier.  One cool thing about these Japanese arcade music games is they have a spot where you can put in headphones!  So bring some if you go to this arcade!

Another thing a lot of Japanese arcade games have are crane games called UFO Catchers.  They had a lot of those at Round 1 as well.  The one with all the Kirby plush was TAUNTING me!

Another crane game that struck me as funny is this one pictured below.  I kept wanting to sing the Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other, Three of these things are kinda the same…”

In the 80’s, one classic arcade game was called Elevator Action.  You were a spy and would go through buildings with elevators while shooting bad guys.  So I was surprised to see a new Elevator Action game called Elevator Action: Death Parade.  It was released in Japan in the late 2000’s, so it’s not quite so graphically impressive.  It looks like a typical Time Crisis gun game, but with one key difference.  Elevators play a key role in this game because in the front of the screen is an actual elevator door that opens and closes at points during the game!  You even get to push buttons to close the door to provide cover, and the up and down buttons select your difficulty.  It was really fun and I was surprised the first time I saw the actual elevator doors close!

Another Japanese music game I enjoyed was Groove Coaster.  It was actually originally a mobile game, and I have the first one on my iPad.  It’s pretty fun, and even better in the arcade.  The best part is the HUGE amount of songs you could play.  Plenty of video game songs, too.  I tried some from Arkanoid DS, Bubble Bobble, and even Lufia 2!  The bad thing was that the second time I went to Round 1, the Groove Coaster machine was out of order!  NOOO!  I hope they fix it.  Another Japanese music game I saw there was one based on Hatsune Miku, but I didn’t play it.  And speaking of Out of Order games, both times I went to the arcade, the Disney Tsum Tsum game was not working!

I don’t know the name of the next Japanese arcade game, but it’s a weird one.  You have a table and you must flip it over and try to knock as much stuff down on the screen as possible for points.  The 3-D graphics were rather primitive, so I think it must be an older game.

But my favorite game at Round 1 was Space Invaders Frenzy.  Two players aim guns at a HUGE screen to shoot down Space Invaders before they reach the bottom of the screen.  The invaders come in different sizes and speeds, you can shoot UFOs for bonus points, and there are even power-ups.  And the screen really isn’t a screen at all, but a bunch of LED lights, like a football scoreboard.  It made the game very bright and colorful and gave it a more retro feel.  Best of all, as you can see in this picture, if you could get a high score you could win 500 tickets!  By playing it a few times, I was able to get enough tickets to get all the Pac-Man Pop Vinyl figures at the ticket redemption store (which had some pretty good prizes actually).  I may show off the Pac-Man Pop Vinyl figures in a future blog.  The second time I went, my brother was calculating how much money we’d have to spend to get the Xbox One at the ticket store.  If we had all perfect runs in Space Invaders Frenzy, he said we’d only have to spend about 100 bucks!  One last interesting thing about Space Invaders Frenzy is that I saw the credits and Eugene Jarvis worked on it!  He also worked on other arcade titles like Defender, Robotron 2084, and Smash TV!

The last four arcade titles I talked about were my favorites at this arcade, and one cool thing about that is they were all made by Taito (makers of Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, Arkanoid, etc.).  Well, Space Invaders Frenzy was licensed from Taito.  But Taito has been around for a long time making arcade games, and they have as much history behind them as Namco and Nintendo!  So it seems like they’ve still got it when it comes to making arcade games!

Many people say arcades are dying, and they may be right.  But as long as arcades find ways to provide different kinds of experiences than what home consoles would provide, like this one, arcades will never truly die.  After looking at Round 1’s website, it looks like they’re a chain, and may have the same arcade machines in each location.  So if you want to play any of these games, I recommend checking out their web site and seeing if they have an arcade in your area!  That’s all for now.  Later!  –Cary

One Response to “Taito Wins This Round at Round 1 Arcade!”

  1. I have a Round 1 near me too. It has all the same games you photographed. I haven’t played there yet, just took a look around, but I want to. Oh, they had a bowling alley in mine as well.

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