WELCOME TO ATLANTA ARCADE & GAMING RENTALS!

As Georgia’s leading arcade and gaming supplier, we offer only the newest and highest quality gaming equipment on the market. Atlanta Arcade & Gaming Rentals is great for birthdays, corporate events, bar mitzvahs, student events, bachelor parties and more! Atlanta Arcade & Gaming Rentals has everything you need to host an unforgettable event!

We offer a large variety of games, including classic arcade games like Galaga, NFL Blitz, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and more. We offer 60-1 Multicades–that’s sixty games in one machine! In addition we supply several popular table games like Pool, Air Hockey, Ping Pong and Foosball. In addition to our arcade and table games, we have tons of fun sports games like Double Shot Basketball, 9 Hole Putt Putt, Darts and Hardest Punch. Don’t forget about our huge video game selection either, as we offer multiple gaming platforms including the Nintendo Wii, Xbox One and Playstation 4!

No matter what the occasion, Atlanta Arcade & Gaming Rentals is a sure shot for an exciting and memorable party. Call us today at 770-243-8475 for a free quote!

Fun For Any Type of Event

FUN FOR ANY TYPE OF EVENT

No matter what the occasion, Atlanta Arcade & Gaming Rentals has everything you need to make your next big event one that guests will be buzzing about for years to come!

Huge Selection of Games

HUGE SELECTION OF GAMES

From classic arcade games like skee-ball and air hockey, to interactive sports games and driving simulators, at Atlanta Arcade & Gaming Rentals we’ve got something for everybody!

Book Your Event Today

BOOK YOUR EVENT TODAY

What are you waiting for? Call us today at 770-243-8475 for a free quote and more info on how you can make your next party or event one for the record books!

AREAS WE SERVICE:

Our services are primarily based out of Atlanta, but we are more than happy to travel to accommodate your needs. Just give us a call to see if we can service your area. Below is a list of areas we commonly visit.

  • Gainesville
  • Cartersville
  • Roswell
  • Rome
  • Acworth
  • Duluth
  • Athens
  • Douglasville
  • Redan
  • Peachtree City
  • Griffen
  • Grovetown
  • Hepzibah
  • Macon
  • Fort Valley
  • Columbus
  • Omaha
  • Americus
  • Dawson
  • Albany
  • Swainsboro
  • Statesboro
  • Perry
  • Eastman
  • Hazlehurst
  • Rincon
  • Pooler
  • Glenville
  • Douglas
  • Fitzgerald
  • Moultrie
  • Camilla
  • Bainbridge
  • Quitman
  • Waycross
  • Brunswick
  • Vidalia
  • Jesup
  • Tifton
  • Valdosta

History of Arcades

Once the favorite Friday night of kids and teens across the nation, and now a visceral callback of a generation pining to recapture the magic of their youth, the arcade game has taken an iconic place in America’s collective consciousness. How did this craze get started? Why was its invasion of shopping malls and movie theaters so complete? What has become of this cultural institution? To answer these questions, we have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Early History

In David Nasaw’s book Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements, he argues that the earliest examples of what can be called arcade gaming appear at least as early as 1905. But arcade gaming we would recognize came to mainstream prominence during Prohibition. These early gaming machines bore little resemblance to the PacMan and Space Invaders video games that would characterize later generations of arcade boxes. Nevertheless, early coin-operated games such as David Gottlieb’s Baffle Ball (an early version of pinball) appear in drugstores and speakeasies as early as 1931, and electronic lights and bells were added as early as 1933.

Gaming Goes Electronic

Historians continue to debate which electronic amusement qualifies as the first true videogame. Was it Josef Kate’s electronic tic-tac-toe? Was it William Higinbotham’s Oscilloscope Tennis for Two? Was it Steve Russel’s SpaceWar? To answer that question, we would need to define “game” and “video game,” which is a question best left to the philosophers. But what we know for sure is that video games were first mainstreamed by the company famous for its little black joystick and little red button.

Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney have been dubbed the founding fathers of arcade gaming.  These two founded the Atari corporation, which is responsible for the lion’s share of the electronic video games we usually associate with arcades. Atari’s first gaming success occurred with the release of Pong in 1972, which was meant to mirror real life table tennis. Pong’s first commercial success was in a coin-operated arcade box prototype in a tavern in Sunnyvale California. By the end of 1973, Pong boxes filled amusement halls across the country, birthing the first video game arcades.

Atari’s success did not go unnoticed. They were sued by Magnavox for allegedly copying the pong concept, which hit shelves around the same time as Atari’s boxes, but was arguably in development before Pong got started. Atari settled and licensed the rights to Pong, but soon had to go on the offensive against every conceivable variant of Pong clones popping up in nascent arcades all over the country. Meanwhile, the company’s famous party atmosphere attracted the best early software engineers and hackers that the West Coast’s college bars had to offer. Most notably, Steve Jobs and (unofficially) Seve Wozniac joined the team in 1974. The pair almost single-handedly produced Breakout, adding it to Atari’s lineup in 1976.

Midway, Atari’s competitor, released Space Invaders in 1978, capitalizing on a science fiction craze that swept the nation in the wake of 20th Century Fox’s 1977’s release of Star Wars. Space Invaders was the first mainstream arcade game that utilized a High Score feature, which added a competitive (and addictive) element to the arcade experience. Atari countered the following year with the breakout hit Asteroids. More competitors entered the market, more games hit the arcade floor, and all of the pieces were in place for the arcade to take over the American recreational zeitgeist.

The Golden Age of Gaming

The early 1980’s is generally regarded as the golden age of arcade gaming. As microprocessors became less expensive, and as CPUs and RAM became more powerful, a burgeoning industry of electronic game developers found ways to leverage this technology to create more and more sophisticated amusements. America’s youth were hooked!

Games like Missile Command, Defender, and Battle Zone introduced true color graphics to arcade games in 1980. Innovations in graphics technology became one of the principal metrics by which new games were judged. But the whole industry was about to be disrupted by a quantum leap in design theory, artificial intelligence, and expert branding: everybody’s favorite famished puck, Pac Man.

Namco’s brilliant piece of engineering combined a minimalistic level design with an elegant code that gave the 4 antagonists Pinky, Blinky, Inky, and Clyde unique personalities—with the added bonus of making their movement more difficult to predict. The game was easy to play but extremely difficult to master. The protagonist’s design was so simple and so recognizable, it quickly became the avatar of the entire arcade subculture. In the tradition of Japanese industrial mascots, Pac Man invaded every medium of pop culture, including music, television, and even magazines!

Speaking of Japanese and their incredible ability to produce pop culture icons, 1981 saw the introduction of Donkey Kong to arcade floors, and with the game, the debut of the now infamous 8-bit Italian plumber Mario. The game was originally designed as a playable adaptation of Popeye the sailor man (with Brutus serving the role of DK), but when Nintendo lost the license to the Popeye characters, the characters were given new names and modified sprites. Today, these are some of the most recognizable characters in the gaming world.

The Rise of Home Consoles

The Atari 2600 (colloquially known as “The Atari”) joined the and Magnavox Odyssey and Mattel Intellivision in bringing the magic of arcade games home. Soon, they were joined by Activision—a game design company formed by disgruntled Atari game designers seeking better pay and more recognition than an increasingly corporate-cultured company was willing to give. 

Nintendo entered the market with their Famicon system in 1983 (whose North American release was rebranded the Nintendo Entertainment System). Sega answered with their Master System in 1985. Early handheld video games hit the market during this period. Each of these home game consoles and a growing inventory of games took a chunk out of the physical arcade market share until, according to Next Generation Magazine, nearly all gaming was happening at home by 1996

A Brewing Controversy

Like television before it, video gaming began to attract the suspicion of technophobic adults. Improvements in graphics technology brought more and more realistic games, which came along with more and more realistic violence. With imaginations enraptured by sensational headlines, many Americans too old to have grown up gaming became convinced that the violence depicted in games such as Mortal Kombat and Doom was responsible for the nation’s rising crime wave. This debate reached critical mass when a slew of journalists and theologians rushed to blame the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre on video game violence.

Subsequent research largely debunked the moral panic. Some of the earliest and most comprehensive research was published by the National Association of Independent Schools, titled Lessons from Littleton: What Congress Doesn’t Want to Hear About Youth and Media. It showed the Columbine attack could not be legitimately attributed to video game violence. Neither could America’s crime wave, as was shown by The Journal of Pediatrics in a study titled The public health risks of media violence: a meta-analytic review

The research proved to be increasingly compelling as violent crime ticked down year after year through the late 90’s, all through the 2000’s and 2010’s, all while console gaming was becoming even more popular across the country. According to Liza Brown at Filmora, Americans spent an unprecedented $25.4 billion on games, consoles, and DLC in 2018, and yet violent crime is at its lowest rate since the early 1970’s.

The news media continues making noise about controversies in video games, but the facts generally do not appear to support the narrative.

The Collapse of Physical Arcades

A slew of poorly-designed games hit the arcade circuit in the mid-80’s, leading to a massive slump in arcade attendance (colloquially known as the “E.T. Crash”). The growth of at-home consoles in the 80’s and 90’s took another piece of the gaming market share. These forces led to a steady decline in the popularity of gaming arcades.

Children of the 90’s will still remember going to arcades at their local mall, but the traditional arcade model that had characterized the previous decade was already becoming a novelty. Console technology provided access to newer and more sophisticated games, and arcades had difficulty keeping up. Second, third, and fourth generation consoles from Nintendo, Sony, Sega, and Microsoft became the gaming platforms of choice for most Americans. “Out of Order” signs began popping up over arcade box screens, and one by one, shopping mall arcades and pizza parlor gaming corners shut their doors.

But Millennial and Gen X Americans weren’t necessarily happy to see the demise of their childhood stomping grounds. For reasons still being explored by sociologists, the nostalgia of this era has become a powerful force for stirring the imagination of this generation of Americans. The entire country is experiencing an 80’s renaissance. This quintessential institution of arcade gaming was not about to go quietly into that dark night.

The Rise of the Arcade Rental

For all its advantages, the limitations of home consoles failed to preserve the magic of those Friday nights at the local arcade. There was a social camaraderie to arcade gaming that just couldn’t be replicated, even over internet-connected games on Xbox Live and Playstation Plus. And even though those early arcade games are no longer the marvels of graphics and innovative design, they remain an indispensable part of our childhood that the newer, fancier games can never recreate.

That’s why we created Atlanta Arcade + Gaming Rentals. With our vintage arcade gaming boxes, we can recreate that magic at your convenience. Call today to find out how you can bring a little history to your next event, with our classic arcade game rentals.