As we settle into our new location at Castleton Mall, I get asked the question over and over again... "What are your favorite games here?" I will admit, what I want to play at that very moment depends on the situation (Am I playing with a friend? Am I playing solo? What's my mood?) but I do have my arsenal of games I always turn to at Boss Battle Games. These are the ones I always recommend and you'll most likely find me at if I've got some free time.
Beastorizer is a 3 button/joystick fighter with some really interesting game play features and fun characters. Each character has their own backstory and their own "beast" or "zoanthrope" they can morph into during game play. As you fight, you build up your BEAST bar that once fully charged, you are able to morph into a hybrid beast character (for a short amount of time) with increased abilities and different specials. Beastorizer is a fighting game that is nonthreatening to approach, fairly easy to pick up the controls, and honestly it's just incredibly satisfying to initiate your BEAST mode and send your opponent flying from the energy released.
This falls into my TOP10 because it's easy to approach, easy to understand, and just really satisfying to play. However, I have placed it at the far end of the list for a couple reasons. Firstly, the gameplay is a bit laggy and sometimes slow to respond. This is no Street Fighter. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your level of skill. Another reason I've placed it here is for it's arcade cabinet design, or lack there of. Beastorizer did not have a dedicated cabinet, so you're lucky to find one with the side art decals and bezel art. I understand Raizing may not have wanted to risk too much on it's development from the get-go, but I personally feel like this could have gotten some really great cabinet art considering how in-depth the character stories are. I understand this was at the end of the arcade age and all efforts were put toward the console version, so this is just a disappointment for me, as an operator.
Don't let these minor complaints scare you away! Find your spirit animal, get hyped up, and mash buttons while you learns combos. Trust me when I tell you it's a blast body slamming your buddy as a warthog hybrid beast.
9. Time Crisis 3
Time Crisis is a pretty simple game to grasp. This is a two player game in which each player has a pistol and a foot pedal that acts as a shielding mechanism. It has a fairly solid story line that it blasts at you during the attract screen. As you progress through the game, you pick up a wide array of different weapons that you are able to rotate through. Similarly to Beastorizer, this game was ported to PlayStation, however, I honestly believe this game is best played in arcade.
This is a favorite for me for a lot of reasons. Of course, it has sentimental value to me. It's like our first child that has grown up with us and followed us along for the ride. The game itself also has great play-ability. It's easy to pick up, but it takes a bit of skill to aim well for those hard shots like taking out paratroopers. This game is also a bit of an endurance run if you're in it for the long haul; From start to finish, you're putting aside about 40 minutes. One of the things that really stands out to me about this game is the cabinet itself. It's REALLY impressive. The color scheme is on-point, the neons are bright, eye catching and well placed. The guns are Namco pistols with recoil, so they feel good in your hand. The cabinet itself is large and the marquee is massive and well lit.
Honestly, the best thing about this game is the co-op. It's so much fun playing with your friend/spouse/parent/whoever. Not only are you standing side-by-side, but you're working together and your characters are moving separately. It's a really great experience and I highly recommend giving this a try next time you're at Boss Battle with a buddy.
8. The Grid
What makes this 3rd person shooter so unique is the joystick and trackball controls. Your joystick is used for shooting and jumping and the trackball for aiming; it's very reminiscent of computer gaming and as someone that grew up as a PC gamer, it's a very comfortable control scheme. If you've ever watched the movie The Running Man and enjoyed it, imagine that plus a splash of Smash TV. Your character is thrown into an absurd and ultra violent television show where the aim of the game is just to survive. Weapons are strewn all over the play field and you are desperately trying to get to them before your opponent so you can blast them away in a shower of body parts and blood. It sounds incredibly dark and demented but the art style and the announcer are very cartoony, the art is bright and colorful, and you almost forget that you're murdering your friends for money.
It's really disappointing to me how hard it is to find this machine. I currently only own 3 but I'd love to have at least 6. This is one of those games that is much more enjoyable when you are playing it with a group of people. As I mentioned before, the control scheme is really neat and very comfortable for me to play, but as an operator it sucks to work on and replace. The parts are impossible to find/replace but thankfully it's a Midway cabinet and they do hold up well, so I'm not replacing them often. The cabinet has a really neat design and I love the green on black color scheme.
The fact this was the last arcade game Midway put out in arcades is truly bittersweet. A well designed game, interesting cabinet, and really fun co-op feature tie everything together beautifully. Next time you're at BBG or even Galloping Ghost or Game Galaxy, play The Grid and try to chuck in some cheat codes to find the sneaky Mortal Kombat characters the developers hid in there.
7. Atari Football
The controllers are very simple (from a very simple arcade time): you have a track ball (similar to The Grid) and you have a select/pass button. That's it. Very simple. Even more simple are the characters on the screen. They are X's and O's. Your ball is a thick dot. Name of the game is getting the "ball" in the goal and keeping the other player from getting the ball in their goal. Easy. Not easy: running your X/O with the track ball as fast as you can, maneuvering them around other X/O's without getting tackled, making sure you pass the ball in time without it getting intercepted, not running out of breath or giving yourself a blister because OH MY GOSH HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN PLAYING THIS GAME?!
I love the simplicity of this game. It's such a simple control scheme, simple graphics, and yet it takes a lot of effort and skill to really play the game well. There are different "plays" you can choose each round for your team and only you can see them, so your opponent doesn't know what's coming until the round starts. This game really draws a crowd as they hear your hands slamming against the track ball, you and your friend yelling at each other (or just yelling to hype yourself up), and the style of the cabinet allows for people to stand to the sides and watch the game play out.
We've had this game in storage for a couple years now and I'm REALLY excited to bring it back out. We're still trying to figure out exactly where we are going to put this in the arcade as we are pretty much at capacity, but I'll make the room. And once I do.... You bet I'll be there!
The controls and game play are so straightforward, a child can learn this, and honestly, that's why it's so imprinted on me. I remember playing this as a child with my parents. You have a 4-way joystick that controls a frog. Through trial and error, you learn your goal is to cross the road and a river, landing in coves. The trick is to do all of this while avoiding obstacles. Dodging left, right, running forward, falling back, it's all taught to you slowly and each level increases the difficulty even more slightly by adding speed or other obstacles. It has a steady incline of difficulty and I appreciate that. There's no sudden "pay wall" where you would be pumping quarters to get past a completely unfair jump in hurdles.
Aside from the nostalgia, I really appreciate how recognizable this game is. I think the cabinet itself is really well designed. The wood grain SCREAMS 1981. The tire thread on the control panel and bezel leading up to the colorful marquee is such an iconic note. The game itself is also very colorful and contrast from the grey and browns of the cabinet. From an operator perspective, it's a good game to have as it has a small footprint. This cabinet is fairly small and fits very easily into a row of games or into a tight corner. You also won't risk death moving it (it's a thing with big machines, trust me).
I'm sure you've played Frogger, so I probably don't have to suggest trying it. But if you're ever feeling overwhelmed and want a game you can chill out with, may I suggest Frogger. This game tends to be one of my meditative spots for many reasons. The music is cute and catchy, the jumping noises are methodic, and the scene is very static. For me personally, it also takes me back to a good place in my memory. I'm sure everyone has that game that does that for them.
My name is Phylicia! I also go by Arcade Empress if you find me online in games or other forums. I am the Empress of Boss Battle Games (I'm serious, it's my legal title!) and wife/best friend to Dustin/Zoex/Emperor of Boss Battle Games. Together, we've been cutting years off our life to keep this arcade running as smoothly as possible and while growing it and adding new and exciting things.