How Did Anyone Beat This In The Arcade? (
from to on 28 Oct 2023 15:33

Dragon’s Lair


threaded - newest on 28 Oct 2023 15:42 next collapse

I assume lots of trial and error and following guides from magazines and such. Games like Dragon’s Lair aren’t really meant to be that winnable, they’re just designed to get you to buy as many coins as possible to keep trying. on 28 Oct 2023 15:53 next collapse

It wasn’t that hard if you kept feeding it quarters. It took a lot of trial and error, but having infinite lives means it was eventually beatable. on 28 Oct 2023 16:11 collapse

This is the real answer. Arcade games weren't made to be beaten, they are made to extract maximum quarters. Most of these games don't even have a real "ending", and why would the devs bother? They already got your money. on 28 Oct 2023 17:54 next collapse

It wasn’t a case of “why bother,” it was a case of evolution.

The original intent of arcade video games was to obtain a high score. You played until you died, and the game progressively got harder until you choked, or it hit some arbitrary limit of difficulty and went on forever, or in some infamous cases (Pacman) crashed. These video games were a conceptual extension of the arcade games that existed before: Pinball machines. Pinball games don’t have an end state, you play indefinitely for a high score until you choke.

Arcade video games could have endings, and even though in the very early days they didn’t: Crystal Castles was probably the first, in 1983. Even then, after reaching the “end” the game would loop so you could play it indefinitely until you died. Because that’s how arcade games worked. A lot of games starting from the 1990’s and beyond had endings of some description or another because they were in some way narrative based. In most cases (with the exception of some 1 on 1 fighters) you can still play another loop after the ending. on 28 Oct 2023 18:41 collapse

Arcade games weren’t made to be beaten

<img alt="Image" src=""> on 28 Oct 2023 15:54 next collapse

It’s seriously so hard. I think I’ve never made it past the second scene on 28 Oct 2023 16:04 next collapse

I grew up in that time frame. Normally people would swarm around the machine and give advice.

Arcades were very social when it came to certain games. on 28 Oct 2023 16:31 next collapse

Hot games were awesome, they were like new events. Everyone gathering around giving advice and tall tales, trying to secure a spot to play, showing off and being excited when that one kid definitely knew what they were doing, it was a lot of fun.

For us I remember Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Blitz, and Tekken being the major ones. And then the lesser ones like Virtual Fighter, whatever racing game was new, and just because it was completely ridiculous the Aerosmith shooter where you shot discs at bad guys lol on 28 Oct 2023 16:56 next collapse

Ridge Racer was awesome and just so much better than the other racing games at the time. Especially when you put the camera just a few inch from the asphalt. on 28 Oct 2023 17:23 collapse

I still love rc pro am. Spinning that wheel is pure joy on 28 Oct 2023 21:47 next collapse

And now I will be browsing through 7000 retro games today. on 29 Oct 2023 06:24 collapse

RC Pro Am is the home Nintendo version.

Are you thinking of Super Sprint / Championship Sprint? That game had either 2 or 3 wheels on the cabinet. Every trip to the roller rink included a couple games of Super Sprint for me. Great Game!!!

[deleted] on 28 Oct 2023 20:57 collapse

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Yes! on 28 Oct 2023 16:45 next collapse

I could never get the game going. Something about putting your quarters in at the right moment. Sucked every weekend I went to try play that game and never could. on 28 Oct 2023 18:33 collapse

If I remember it was either 50cents or a dollar. It wasn’t a quarter when it came out.

To put that in perspective McDonald’s was line three something a value meal and minimum wage was about the same. It wasn’t a cheap game on 28 Oct 2023 19:45 collapse

Even after putting in a dollar it still wouldn’t play. The arcade where I played it had instructions that you had to add your money at an exact time. on 28 Oct 2023 17:07 next collapse

Yep I remember specifically at the cade I went to growing up, their Dragon’s Lair machine had a 2nd screen on top of the cap so that the whole crowd could see the action. It was quite a site. on 28 Oct 2023 17:15 collapse

When the small grocery store in my area got Super Mario Brothers there were always 4 or 5 people queue’d up and playing it. That store was a basic grocery story but they did cater to youth with expendable change. Lots of the bulk candies; a few different kinds for 5c, better ones for 10c, good mini candies for 25c… etc

Before or after school, that place always had kids spending some change on something. Once the NES became a household item, that store changed dramatically on 28 Oct 2023 18:10 collapse

The corner convenience store had the magazines right across from the arcade machines. You’d okay a few rounds of street fighter or mortal Kombat, then sneak in a pork at the gaming mags before the clerk would complain. on 28 Oct 2023 18:41 collapse

Sneak in a what now on 28 Oct 2023 20:14 collapse

A four pound ham on 28 Oct 2023 20:27 collapse

Have you tried my three ham omelette? It’s to die for! on 28 Oct 2023 16:10 next collapse

Cries in Sinistar. “Run, coward!!!” on 28 Oct 2023 16:13 next collapse

The same way you beat any game in the 1980s and early '90s: lots of pattern memorization based on trial and error. In the arcade, that means lots of quarters.

Once a game like Dragon’s Lair was memorized, you could play through the entire thing on only a couple quarters, to the astonishment of arcade bystanders.

Kids and teenagers had more time back then because smart phones and Instagram and YouTube didn’t exist. People underestimate what a huge time sink those can be.

No one had Internet access. You could play a game, play an instrument, read a book, go to the mall and the arcade and maybe catch a movie, go outside, or watch whatever happened to be on the 3-4 network TV channels (or possibly cable if your family had the money). And TV back then was mostly terrible.

So if you had $10 in your pocket, that was an entire afternoon of entertainment at the arcade and movie theater. on 28 Oct 2023 16:46 next collapse

If you had it down you could beat Dragon’s Lair (and Space Ace, and the other Laserdisc games) with a single credit. IIRC there is no randomization within each scene; the only element of randomness was which out of a set of three scenes could play stemming from completing the previous scene. Once you’ve seen them all they always play out the same way. Further, each scene is only played once per complete game. on 28 Oct 2023 18:02 next collapse

Crazy to think that $10 in 1980 is $40 now on 28 Oct 2023 18:08 collapse

Back when people were making a buck or two an hour though on 28 Oct 2023 18:10 next collapse

Yeah I was just commenting on inflation in general on 28 Oct 2023 18:54 collapse

$3.10 minimum wage in 1980. Equivalent to ~$11.50 per hour today, higher than today’s minimum wage. on 29 Oct 2023 02:25 collapse

The effective minimum wage in 2019 was $11.80. It’s important to talk about these things in context, so we are better able to address the correct problem. on 29 Oct 2023 19:31 collapse

Glad ours is $15.45/hr on 28 Oct 2023 19:24 next collapse

I grew up in that era.

I probably dedicated 1000 hours playing the same 4-5 NES games.

I remember playing the original Zelda with self-impose challenges like get hit and start over. I had so much time to kill. on 28 Oct 2023 20:23 collapse

As a child in the 90s, I remember Saturday and Sunday afternoons being incredibly boring if we didn’t go out. TV was shit (still is), and on rainy afternoons you were basically locked at home.

By the late 90s, at age 10, with no internet access in my county, I was mapping ways to beat the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time. I remember scheming for hours, using Farore’s Wind to take me to the beginning of the dungeon and jumping to the platform on the 2nd floor. This way, I was not using the only key I had on the middle pillar, which is what almost everyone got stuck on.

But yeah, I remember the tail-end of this at that time and starting a whole new game to try this out. And it worked. Still proud of 10 year old me. It’s interesting but I hadn’t felt boredom in a really long time. on 28 Oct 2023 16:21 next collapse

I wasn’t great at Dragon’s Lair, but I got super far on Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp. on 28 Oct 2023 16:27 next collapse

There was a remaster that was put out a few years ago: steam, gog. It was a nice piece of nostalgia finding it. From playing it on arcade difficulty and comparing it against the easier settings, it was pretty obvious this game was meant to suck up quarters. You just had to have everything memorized. on 28 Oct 2023 16:40 next collapse

I remember Dan from game grumps being really good at that game. on 28 Oct 2023 16:49 next collapse

The mechanics of that game were more like a very fast choose your own adventure than the traditional move joystick left, spaceship go left mechanics.

Because the graphics were coming off a laser disk, they didn’t generate on the spot. There were predetermined outcomes to every move.

When people figured this out, information started to collect in the magazines, and the game became beatable. on 28 Oct 2023 18:05 collapse

This is correct. I remember getting patterns from a magazine.

Also, there are flashes on-screen that could guide you if you are quick enough.

ETA: Just watched a walkthrough of this game. I've never seen the ending before today! I'm certain horny teenager me would have just loved to see the princess's huge nipples. on 28 Oct 2023 16:56 next collapse

Lots of quarters. Arcade games were not designed to be beatable with one quarter. They wouldn’t make money if they did. on 28 Oct 2023 17:05 next collapse

I watched someone beat it… but no I was never able to do it on 28 Oct 2023 17:27 next collapse

My older brother’s friend worked at an arcade. He opened up the panel and loaded this game up with credits for me. I still never got close to beating it on 28 Oct 2023 17:36 next collapse

I was in an arcade all day for multiple days watching others play. After four days of this I played and after two attempts I was able to finish it. on 28 Oct 2023 17:53 next collapse

lots of pizza and tokens plus summer vacation on 28 Oct 2023 18:19 next collapse

you try to not play any arcade if you haven’t seen anyone else play first, that cost you money :) My experience with Dragons Lair is that it was a nice game to watch, and a bad game to play, it was expensive and as someone else said in the thread it requires you to memorize the movements, it was never random on 28 Oct 2023 21:26 collapse

Quick time events are such a garbage game design concept on 28 Oct 2023 22:13 collapse

As an interactive method of storytelling, I think they’re fine (but not my thing). I think the problems really emerge when you try to combine them with the revenue-driving elements of an arcade machine - the challenges need to be designed to kill you so you’ll keep paying rather than giving you choice or staking you in to the story further. on 28 Oct 2023 19:41 next collapse

By perfecting it on the Amiga first on 28 Oct 2023 19:49 next collapse

The only arcade that had that game charge $2 or something like that for each credit. I tried it once and then never again. on 28 Oct 2023 20:43 collapse

It was 50 cents per play at launch. on 28 Oct 2023 20:23 next collapse

Games like are why I’m not super upset about modern monetization practices. Extracting large amounts of money from children is nothing new on 28 Oct 2023 20:34 collapse

It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. on 28 Oct 2023 21:30 next collapse

I did it with a pen and paper over several months on 29 Oct 2023 05:41 next collapse

I (my mom) spent so much money on this game. It was in the laundromat near our home. My little brother and I would die so early on. Back then it took some time to figure what was going on with this game and what to do. We were so young so that’s all I recall. on 29 Oct 2023 06:11 next collapse

I remember watching a guy play an arcade game back in about 1990, I think it was spy hunter or something but the car could do a jump and side scrolled to the right. Not sure. Anyways, over the course of about 4 hours this guy plunked about $100 worth of quarters into the machine until he beat it.

10-year-old me was, uh, impressed to say the least. I tried playing it but I only had two quarters and lasted less than 3 minutes. on 30 Oct 2023 03:22 next collapse

Those were the days on 30 Oct 2023 09:04 collapse

Definitely not Spy Hunter as that game loops and has no ending.

I remember using a cheat on the home computer version for my ZX Spectrum for infinite lives. I got bored after a while because of the fact it never got anywhere, just scenery changes every so often. on 30 Oct 2023 02:55 next collapse

Billy Mitchell or Todd Rodgers might claim to. on 30 Oct 2023 03:14 collapse

It’s simple: they didn’t.