As you can probably guess we absolutely love arcade games. A question we’ve been wrestling with during this project, though, is whether in the age of Xbox One Xs and PS4s arcade machines are still important for gamers and gaming. For us the answer is unquestionably yes, and so below we’ve compiled a list of 4 reasons why. We’d love to know what you think, so let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ArcadeLionUK with your views.

1. They keep gaming a social activity

Ah, such memoriesSome of our favourite gaming memories are of afternoons spent gathered around a Nintendo 64 with friends playing multiplayer Goldeneye, Smash Bros. and Mario Kart. But since then obvious developments in online gaming have removed that need to be co-located with opponents. Mates can play against each other from anywhere in the world with next to no latency, and full audio chat capability.

But just as Skype hasn’t replaced meeting face-to-face there’s still a place for actually being in the same physical space when playing games with friends. Nothing we’ve experienced in online gaming so far matches that feeling of gloating in a pal’s face after a sneaky headshot, or green shell direct hit to claim a last-minute victory.

The legendary Barcade in Brooklyn mixes beer and classic games. Photo: CC BY 4.0, LinkModern life means that the idea of spending an afternoon at a friend’s house playing video games just isn’t a reality for many of us anymore. Gamers have family commitments, and friends who live in a same city may still be located over an hour from each other. Meeting out for a drink is probably more commonplace than an evening indoors. With that, an increasing number of bars have started to include arcade cabinets amongst the usual tables and stools. Admittedly, in many cases this could be interpreted as a decor-led decision, but just as much it’s clear the proprietors understand that friends hanging out enjoy playing video games together. Even locally, several places we can think of have modern games consoles which don’t offer a retro chic vibe. There must be something in people wanting to game together.

2. They offer bite-size experiences you couldn’t get at home

Ooh, prettyWe make no secret that we’d generally take classic arcade games over modern on-rails shooters and dance ‘em ups. Firstly we just don’t have that level of youth and vitality demanded by those games. We have to say though, a quick go on Dancing Stage Euromix is a guilty pleasure we’ve been known to indulge in from time to time. But that bitesize slice of fun is exactly why games like that work so well on the pay-per-play basis that arcades offer. These aren’t games designed for extended periods of play like a real-time strategy game or survival horror. They’re the sugar-hit candy floss of the gaming world: not the hearty 3 course meal of an RPG or simulation.

Not so prettyTravel to any pre-owned gaming store in the UK and they’ll be littered with all manner of oversized peripherals only used for a handful of games. Think Guitar Hero’s guitars, and Wii Fit’s balance board. Although there’s an initial novelty to playing games in new ways, these accessories rarely have any real longevity. In an era where gaming consoles are sleek, stylish and whose place is in the living room people just don’t want to keep plastic toy-like controllers around.

With arcades that problem goes away. A quick blast on a Guitar Hero machine gives that novelty gaming fix, but also keeps the living space clutter free. And the quality of hardware in the arcades is invariably superior to the home console equivalent. Compare a Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine to a fold-out play-at-home controller and the difference in the experience is night and day.

3. Public arcades preserve an important part of gaming history

In the 80s and 90s the standard of gameplay and graphics available in arcade machines was head and shoulders above what gamers could expect from home gaming systems. Modern games’ need to play without looking at the screen is too much for usAs we enter the ninth generation of computer consoles that simply isn’t true anymore. Photo-realistic graphics and immersive gameplay - all on a large-screen TV - is easily affordable in the home. Aside from movie tie-in shooters and car-sized racing cabinets arcade gaming has largely become the domain of the nostalgic private collectors.

Private owners lovingly maintaining their arcade cabinets will undoubtedly see them better preserved than a public one receiving its fair share of wear and tear. This trend towards individual ownership does have a flip side, however, in that - locked away in people’s homes - new gamers don’t get to experience these classics. Without that exposure there isn’t the opportunity to fall in love with arcades in the way we did.

There is an argument that MAME has opened up nearly every arcade game to anyone who wants to play them. We agree that it’s an amazing piece of software and an important resource for preserving these games. Often, however, the ROMs available to it aren’t 100% reflective of the original PCBs and don’t offer the full suite of on-board options. Besides, the game code is only part of the story when it comes to the arcade experience…

For us the answer is a bit of both. We need arcades which are visible and available to everyone, and also arcades that are restored and looked after by dedicated fans.

4. They just feel amazing to play

We wish we were there right now, even with all the creepy stuff going onWe don’t know if it’s cabinet artwork, the music and sound, or that unique glow of a cabinet monitor but there’s just something special about playing games on an arcade machine. Something which just isn’t replicated on emulators or home consoles. We love that moment of anticipation between inserting a coin and the game ending its demo routine to hand the controls over to you.

Artwork on classic arcades was lovingly drawn, and the neon effect of the light shining through arcade is just the epitome of 80s visuals. It’s no wonder that the latest season of 'Stranger Things' spends much of its time in the arcades - it’s the perfect shorthand for that decade. While modern consoles are discreet much of the experience arcades offer is around the physicality of the cabinet itself. Yum!The clicky sound joysticks make, and the smooth curved top of classic arcade buttons as you pop them in. Sure, you can buy an arcade stick at home, but you'll know it's just not the same.

It’s all of these reasons we've listed that we started this project. We want to help everyone with even a passing interest in gaming to experience the joy that arcade games offer. We hope you're as excited as we are to track all of the hidden gaming gems that are out there.

Spotted a great arcade? Why not let the world know here