Nostalgia is a difficult emotion to overcome, especially when it comes to gaming. It’s undeniably a beautiful love letter to the past, but few young players are cheering loudly for the chance to play the game their parents did when they were young. At the same time, many older players move on in life at the same time, leaving the past behind. Then again, most people know by now that the power that nostalgic vibes can have is impressive. You’ll be reminiscent of arcade days, warm summer days, colorful graphics and synth sounds. So, since the ’80s-based Stranger Things series has always been a summer series, the timing is certainly perfect for another dusty arcade series.
It has to be said that this is not the first time Capcom has released a series like this. Just last year, the first volume of Capcom Arcade Stadium was released, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the publisher’s ambitious collection of more or less famous arcade games. There are 32 this time around, a well-stocked goodie bag offering everything from a 1943 KAI to Street Fighter, which is clearly the focus, action and combat. The games go smoothly, and I can easily switch games from a variety of colorful arcade boxes that also have a real coin slot, and I’ve been dropping virtual coins for the past week. The cabinets themselves can also be adjusted to your taste. If I’d rather play the orange version of Mega Man instead of the original blue, with the scanline filter turned on, that’s totally fine, and I can even change the difficulty, speed and game mode. Of course, these settings vary by title, but for the most part, you can customize your gaming experience more or less. Some games are only available in Japanese, but that’s not a big deal since there’s no dialogue-driven adventure here. All in all, this is an impressively clever collection of arcade games that won’t disappoint.
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However, if I take off my glasses and think it’s 2022, this year I’ve done games like Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West that offer interactive adventures with graphics and atmosphere that sometimes take my breath away , the regression is obvious. Of course, one shouldn’t be comparing apples and citrons, but it’s also difficult when deciding where to end up spending your money. Do I want to spend hundreds of hours in an undeveloped open world game, or do I want to try and relive a few minutes of my childhood? Am I really ready to dive into another glorified emulator, or do I want to keep up with the game? Anyone who’s ever been blinded by a melancholic longing for a bygone era knows that reality doesn’t always reflect memory. Movies that are remembered gleefully often turn out to be pretty bad. The cool gadgets you once owned now go straight to the trash.
These simpler games and clunky games quickly bore me. I would throw in a coin, get hit right away and leave. In the good old days, when everything was “rouge”, there were three lives that were not missed, but at the same time they were just: missing. Because here, it doesn’t matter if I die all the time, because I have infinite life. Just put in another digital coin and move on, it’s a double-edged sword for me. Back then, challenges were everything. That’s why all my friends and I spend every penny we make on arcade games that are extremely difficult. Here, not only can I jam an endless supply of coins, but I can also slow down and even take advantage of what’s called a “rewind feature.” If I fail, I can simply reset just before the failure. Of course, I don’t have to, but just knowing the possibility kills a bit of my authenticity.
I won’t review all 32 games available, but I’ve tried them all and arguably the more unknown titles have impressed me the best. This probably wasn’t entirely unexpected as I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve played Street Fighter and Mega Man in my life. It’s much more fun to rediscover, sometimes even discovering brand new fantasy-style beats like Black Tiger, Magic Sword and Knights of the Round Table, to name a few. LED Storm is also a welcome addition. Few of the ’80s feel closer than knightly arcade racing. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Capcom also managed to squeeze in some pretty dodgy games. Like Block Block, a utterly bad copy of a brilliant Breakout, or a obligatory sports game, it always had to be in this kind of collection. This time, it comes in the form of Capcom Sports Club. A sad story, which in turn consists of three branches, football, basketball and tennis. This is more or less unplayable due to disastrously stiff controls, which have absolutely no place in sports where precision is often the key to success.
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There’s no online support, which makes perfect sense given the nature of the game, but at the same time it’s undeniable that it could add a whole new dimension to the game. It would be special to challenge each other in an old classic. Now, you can do it with old-fashioned leaderboards anyway. There, I can see how many times I’ve played a particular game, how many times I’ve passed, my scoring record, and my friends’ stats, but of course it’s nothing like beating an arrogant buddy in real life. Many games also feature local multiplayer, ranging from two to four players.
With 32 different games, there’s obviously a lot of entertainment here. The only question is how much fun it is. Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium does a great job of recreating the feel of an arcade, but at the same time it’s just a feeling. You can’t go back in time and be 12 again. Nostalgia definitely has a place in the culture, we should never forget how we got here, but the memory of that time is enough. I don’t need to replay all my old favorites from the past to remember. No matter what, they will always be with me. However, this is a really good collection of games in an incredible retro packaging.
Full list with headers:
- 1943 Kay
- block block
- dragon king
- round knight
- magic sword
- Vampire Savior: King of Vampires
- black tiger
- Capcom Sports Club
- Chariot: Air Adventure
- Dark Stalker: Night Warrior
- eco warrior
- Exed Exes
- Super Street Fighter II: Anniversary Edition
- final duel
- Mega Man: Battle for Thrones
- Mega Man 2: Force Warriors
- Night Warrior: Rebirth of the Dark Stalker
- Rally 2011: LED Storm
- Saturday Night Grand Slam Masters
- Sidearm: Super Dyne
- street fighter
- Street Fighter Alpha: A Warrior’s Dream
- street fighter alpha 2
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Super Jewel Fighter Mini Hybrid
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
- speed rumble
- Tiger Road