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Arcade game pre-play control test

Arcade game prompts you to push everything with in 10 seconds, and will refund you if you miss something, or something is broken
  [vote for,

I really hate it when I put my money in an arcade game and upon starting the game, I find out that the controls aren't working properly. Case in point- I once tried to play a fishing game, but it wouldnt respond to pulling back on the rod at all!

It would be nice for the arcade game to have a control "pre-test" upon insertion of money. In other words...

You put money into the machine, and it prompts you to press every button (one at a time) and then, depending on the method of control, move the joystick/shoot 5 targets/move the fishing rod in time with the arrows on the screen (like dance dance revolution, but slower and it only asks for each direction 1 time- even if the game IS dance dance, this is not the actual game- it's just checking to see if the controls are working properly!)

If the user fails to do what the machine asks within 15 seconds, the machine will automatically return your money and display "this machine is out of service-please call attendant". In case the user didn't understand that this was a test, or the attendant wants to verify that it's really broken, the machine will still accept coins, and will simply run this test again.

Dickcheney6, Jul 29 2008


       Good idea. It doesn't even have to do this every time - just whenever there was a large gap in play time would be enough.
jutta, Jul 29 2008

       Good idea.
Texticle, Jul 29 2008

       I'm neutral on this idea. If the Test Circuit breaks, you'll be automatically closing a machine that people want to play, and that may otherwise function fine. If the company can maintain the Pre-Control Test, they might as well keep the switches in repair.   

       If a game doesn't work, let an attendant know by telling them. They refund your money, and can better address the issue. Switch buttons are only a small part of what could make it unplayable, and with any other fault you'd still need to contact someone for a refund.   

       Would this be a feature in new machines? Or is it a modification to the cabinet? What about vintage arcade games? Are you going to tamper with the classics? I'm beginning to think I should bone this idea...   

       About the 1980s masterpieces: Some of them are tough to maintain. The overlay may be peeling and the sound board may be fried. Sometimes I’d like to give it a try anyway, just for the nostalgia. I may not even use that switch that doesn’t work.
Amos Kito, Jul 29 2008

       I remember reading that classic Galaga had a feature in its unpaid 'demo mode' where the control stick was active for about a second. If the joystick was broken the ship would get stuck in the corner, alerting the owner that it needed repair. Other games could take a tip from that. [+]
gomer, Jul 29 2008

       /If the Test Circuit breaks,/   

       Presumably this is done in software, using the 'real' circuits. It would be pretty daft if special circuits were used to test whether the circuits were working OK.
Texticle, Jul 29 2008

       //pretty daft if special circuits were used//   

       Not if it's a retrofit, which it would be on every machine currently in operation. Even the "coin return" will be a new part.   

       If a switch is going to break, it's much more likely to happen during the game than during the "Test". So it would be better if "the software" would detect failures during the game. Commercial arcade controls are durable. It takes serious abuse to break them -- and some kids are up to the challenge. The "Tilt" function protects pinball machines and might be useful in video games. The buttons on pinball machines are rarely broken before the other mechanisms.   

       As [gomer] mentioned, many games have built-in test functions. The owner needs to hire a better maintenance person, and attentive attendants.
Amos Kito, Jul 30 2008

       After a rather disappointing afternoon with the children at a CiCi's pizza joint in Memphis, TN, I'm all for this idea.
Noexit, Jul 30 2008

       Back in the day I had to complete Street Fighter II using light punch and heavy kick.
Jinbish, Jul 30 2008

       This would be more practical with video games rather than pinball machines, ticket games and such, because on those games, there are ALOT more mechanical stuff in the machine to fail, and that stuff is more likely to fail before the buttons do-and also a lot harder to repair.   

       On a video game, there's less chance of other things failing, because it is based upon a bunch of electrical circuit boards and a screen- no moving parts other than the coin slot and the controls. When electrical failures occur, the machine often loses power or has some other obvious malfuntion- such as a blank screen, the screen is weird colors, or some other obvious breakdown that you'd see before putting any money into the machine. It's sometimes fairly obvious when the coin slot is jammed up, and often they break in such a way that causes them to immediatly spit out coins as though they tasted bad. On the other hand, there is *no* way you can tell whether the game is controlling properly without inserting coins. that's where this idea shines- say you want to play dance dance revolution, and the machine appears to be working. You insert coins, select your song-and immediatly lose because the "up" pad doesn't work any more!
Dickcheney6, Aug 16 2008

       //I remember reading that classic Galaga had a feature in its unpaid 'demo mode' where the control stick was active for about a second.//   

       I read that, but the game didnt respond in the demo mode when I moved the controls around- so I think that's just a myth. and yes, it was an actual arcade machine, not an emulator or console port!
Dickcheney6, Nov 29 2008

       "If a game doesn't work, let an attendant know by telling them."   

       That's good advice in an actual arcade. But I think this idea is better suited to something that is in the middle of the mall, at a restaurant, a bowling alley or other situation where the people on site are not necessarily responsible for the machine (i.e. someone, with permission and some kind of agreement with the owner of said building, put a machine in that location and the machine owner got the profits-although in most cases the machine owner gives a percentage of that to the building owner, but to my knowledge when people put things out on "routes" like this, they rarely, if ever, give building employees a key)
Dickcheney6, Jul 29 2011

       Do they still have arcade games in the Civilized World? It's been so long since I visited there...   

       Bet they don't cost a quarter anymore.
Alterother, Jul 29 2011

       Now that I've gotten into electronics, I've got an idea for how newer games or remakes of older ones could accomplish this, without actually requiring you to press every button at the beginning.   

       Have all the switches be "Normally closed" that is, pressing the button or moving the joystick OPENS a switch rather than closing it.   

       Why? Because if a wire falls off or the switch breaks, this would open the circuit. Then, a simple timer built into the game program would watch the button when the game isn't being played. If any switch is open for more than, say, 30 seconds when the game isn't being played, the game will display an "OUT OF SERVICE" message on the screen and also turn off the decorative lighting (the coin slot and the marquee) to alert both potential players and the employees that the game needs repair.   

       For more complex controls like guns and "analog" steering wheels/pedals (which means a majority of today's games, analog meaning you can move it a little bit for subtle movements like a real steering wheel) a pre-test would be necessary to verify that they're working. But the normally closed switch idea could still be used for, say, the gun trigger or the start button, or the buttons on mechanical games like pinball.   

       In most arcades, (and yes they do exist though they're not nearly as popular as they were in the 80's, thanks to Xbox live and other such things) newer games cost between $0.50 and $1.25 per play, where the classics remain as 1 quarter per play since the adjustment for multiple coins probably didn't even exist back then so they couldn't make Galaga cost $0.50 to play even if they wanted to.
Dickcheney6, Jan 26 2013

       I'd like to see a "control test" in the sense of a test of whether you actually know how to play (Example: EXECUTE WAVE MOTION FIST ATTACK MAKE PRESS ↓, ↘, →, and then "PUNCH"). Pass the test? Get a bonus. Don't pass the test? Lose a life but get an in-game lesson on special attacks.   

       Alternatively, this could be an age-appropriateness test, where you must answer multiple-choice questions about tax forms to enable "extra gibs" and disable "extra educational programming" settings.
sninctown, Jan 26 2013

       //If any switch is open for more than, say, 30 seconds when the game isn't being played, the game will display an "OUT OF SERVICE" message on the screen and also turn off the decorative lighting (the coin slot and the marquee) to alert both potential players and the employees that the game needs repair.//   

       Let me see if I've got this straight. You're proposing a trivial way for any passerby to disable an arcade game, at a business that largely caters to smartass kids with too much time on their hands?
ytk, Jan 27 2013

       Maybe if it were more like 5 minutes. No one would stand there for 5 minutes holding a button down with no indication that it will have any effect. Over the course of the average business hours of most arcades, the game could definitely sit idle for more than 5 minutes at least once in the day. If it never gets left alone for more than 5 minutes, then chances are, a lot of people are waiting for it and thus the chances of someone reporting it broken are high.   

       As I said before, this may be redundant in an actual arcade, but this would be more helpful in a situation where the game is in a restaurant or bowling alley where the management doesn't own the game and thus, can't actually do much beyond putting an out of order sign on the game, or pulling the plug. Without a key, they couldn't really give refunds because they would lose money themselves.
Dickcheney6, Jan 28 2013

       I would prefer that there be youtube videos that show video games misbehaving in midgame, with the main display showing the game and a box in the corner showing the face of the player. Misbehavior could be frustrating defects or the opposite. Audio would mostly be players voice with game music in the background. It would be a candid camera / punked sort of thing, but harmless.
bungston, Jan 28 2013


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