I remember spending hours and hours playing arcade games... especially multi-player games. Hell, I can remember getting together with a couple of my high school pals (we also played D&D -- remember that one?) once a month or so to go over to a local arcade to play Gauntlet. Each of us would bring ten dollars in quarters with us, and we would start when the arcade opened, then play till we ran out of money. If someone wasn't doing so hot, the other two of us would give him quarters from our stacks to continue his game. Basically we would play till we ran out of money. We could usually go for at least four hours of play, and not use any level warps...
I did something similar with another friend when playing Super Sprint. Only this game was way more economical once you got the hang of it. Me and a friend got it down to where we could play for a couple of hours off of one or two credits. The trick with this game is that it gets progressively harder as you play. Eventually you get to a point where you and all of the computer players all have maxed out cars, and then the enemy AI starts to get nasty on you to make you loose. But ahh.... here's the trick. You sucker some novice player into joining in on the third steering column. When the new player joins in, the AI drops back down so that it is competitive with the novice -- making it a breeze to win the game. All you needed to do to keep this up was 1) be at a busy arcade and 2) get someone to join in every ten to fifteen minutes.
Another great game, which was only two-player, was Darius. This game was a glorious three screens wide (the same set up as Ninja Warriors), two-player, simultaneous shooter. I played this game so much that I could solve each course through on one ship (including the final boss of the path), as well as accumulate every power-up and bonus that would show on the screen (my only lament with this title is that the PC-Engine Super Grafx arcade port of this game -- Darius Plus -- never made it into the US market). [Speaking of Darius Plus... for those who are curious we have a video available of this game, shot from play on the Super Grafx.]
When I think about it though, the last multi-player game I really spent any great amount of time on was the X-Men deluxe side scrolling fighter from Konami which allowed for six players. One night me and a couple of friends attacked the machine with a gob of money and solved it all the way through. The real bummer was that once you solved the game it just started over at a higher difficulty... no really cool closing cinema... blah.
After that, I drifted more towards the multi-player games I started to find on the home consoles... specifically the four and five player games on the Turbo-Grafx like Dungeon Explorer I and II.
It's actually been quite some time since I pumped volumes of quarters into a game (not that I don't play arcade games at all, because I still do from time to time). I've just found it more fun to spend an evening playing around on a console game. It's cheaper, I can stretch out with a drink and most of all, I can pause the game. ;)
Oh well... till next time and more of my ramblings...
AVI of Taito's Darius Plus for the PC-Engine Super Grafx
Video format: Intel Indeo AVI
Video source: Captured footage from the Japanese release
File size: 5.2 Megs (zipped)