An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games or merchandisers. While exact dates are debated, the golden age of arcade video games is usually defined as a period beginning sometime in the late 1970s and ending sometime in the mid-1980s. Excluding a brief resurgence in the early 1990s, the arcade industry subsequently declined in the Western hemisphere as competing home video game consoles such as the SonyPlayStation and MicrosoftXbox increased in their graphics and game-play capability and decreased in cost.
The first popular “arcade games” included early amusement-parkmidway games such as shooting galleries, ball–toss games, and the earliest coin-operated machines, such as those that claimed to tell a person’s fortune or that played mechanical music. The old Midways of 1920s-era amusement parks (such as Coney Island in New York) provided the inspiration and atmosphere for later arcade games. In the 1930s the first coin-operated pinball machines emerged. These early amusement machines differed from their later electronic cousins in that they were made of wood. They lacked plungers or lit-up bonus surfaces on the playing field, and used mechanical instead of electronic scoring-readouts. By around 1977 most pinball machines in production switched to using solid-stateelectronics both for operation and for scoring.