Have you always wanted to run your own videogames arcade? Well, that’s just exactly what you have to do in Arcadecraft.
Unlike other sim games where you have to run your own establishment, such as Theme Hospital, Rollercoaster Tycoon, etc., Arcadecraft is a fairly basic, barebones sim where you have only one goal – to pay back the bank’s loan by the end of the two years. Play the game right from the start, this is a doddle but if you happen to mess it up, as I did three times, you’ll find yourself in the red and the sign GAME OVER.
From the beginning of the game, you get to name your arcade and buy some machines. There’s a range of different manufacturers with a couple of game machines to buy from each. These vary in price but it’s always better buying the cheap ones whilst starting off. Other than machines, you can spend money on decorating the arcade, installing a jukebox and a drinks vending machine. When you start making a bit more dough, you can also hire a member of staff to help you though his job will only involve emptying the cash from the machines.
In the arcade, you have a power supply. With each of the three upgrades, you can add a further 10 machines with a maximum of 30 allowed in the arcade. You can buy and sell the machines whenever you like but once they’re discontinued, you can no longer buy the machines leaving some to be collector’s items later on if you decide to bite the bullet, take less money and keep hold of them. Also in the game you’ll be approached by indie developers who make their own machines which you can buy. It’s always a good idea to buy these as you can often charge a bit more money for them.
The range of the machines vary from the classic stood up machines, driving machines, pinball machines and sit-down desk type. Even the style of games differ such as sports, puzzle and shooter. You can alter the price and difficult of each machine but be wary of customer comments if you price them too high.
During the game, you’ll act as manager throughout the months starting from 1985. As each month begins, new machines are brought out and it’s up to you if you want to buy a new machine or not. Every now and then there are power cuts which will force you to pick up and drop each machine to fix them before they”ll work again. Some machines will break and will cost money to repair whilst others will break due to violent customers kicking them, for which you’ll have to take action. Sometimes a flaw in the game makes grabbing hold of these individuals, and chucking them out of the arcade, a pain in the bum. Over time, the money boxes in the machines will fill up too so you have to empty them manually unless you have a helper, although you’ll still find the need to assist. A full money box will render the games unplayable so reacting to the machines quickly is important.
Arcadecraft is quite fun to play at the start but once you’ve beaten the goal after two years, there’s no other targets or aims to fulfill leaving extended playing time pointless. The game feels a little unfinished as in its current format: it’s extremely short and lacks any real management depth. With some extra goals and customisation, Arcadecraft could be so much more. Instead, it ends up as a “coin emptying and machine fixing” simulator and little else.
Arcadecraft is entertaining in short bursts to pass the time but as a simulator game it leaves a lot to be desired.