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Unlocking the Secrets of Classic Arcade Games: What UX Tricks Can We Learn?



Introduction

User experience (UX) design has become increasingly important in recent years, as companies have recognized the need to prioritize the needs and desires of their customers in order to succeed in a competitive marketplace. However, many of the principles of good UX design can be traced back to classic arcade games, which have been entertaining players for decades. In this essay, we will explore the UX tricks we can learn from classic arcade games, referencing at least three different games and covering all of the core UX tenants.


Usability

Usability is one of the most important aspects of UX design, and it involves creating interfaces that are intuitive and easy to use. Classic arcade games have mastered the art of usability, and there are many tricks that we can learn from them.

One game that demonstrates excellent usability is Pac-Man, which was released in 1980. The game's interface is simple and easy to understand, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game's use of sound effects also enhances its usability, with each sound indicating a specific action or event in the game.

Another game that excels in usability is Donkey Kong, which was released in 1981. The game's interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game also uses visual cues to help players understand what they need to do next, such as showing a ladder when the player needs to climb.

A third game that demonstrates excellent usability is Space Invaders, which was released in 1978. The game's interface is simple and easy to understand, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game's use of visual cues also enhances its usability, with each enemy ship appearing in a different color to help players identify them more easily.


Accessibility

Accessibility is another important aspect of UX design, and it involves creating interfaces that can be used by everyone, regardless of their abilities. Classic arcade games have a lot to teach us about accessibility, as they were designed to be played by a wide range of people.

One game that demonstrates excellent accessibility is Galaga, which was released in 1981. The game's interface is simple and easy to understand, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game also features adjustable difficulty levels, which allow players to choose a level that suits their abilities.

Another game that excels in accessibility is Asteroids, which was released in 1979. The game's interface is simple and easy to navigate, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game also features adjustable difficulty levels, which allow players to choose a level that suits their abilities.

A third game that demonstrates excellent accessibility is Defender, which was released in 1981. The game's interface is simple and easy to understand, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game also features adjustable difficulty levels, which allow players to choose a level that suits their abilities. Additionally, the game's sound effects provide auditory feedback that can be helpful for players with visual impairments.


Learnability

Learnability is another important aspect of UX design, and it involves creating interfaces that are easy to learn and remember. Classic arcade games are great examples of how to create interfaces that are easy to learn, as they were designed to be played by people who had never seen them before.

One game that demonstrates excellent learnability is Tetris, which was released in 1984. The game's interface is simple and easy to understand, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game also features a gradual difficulty curve, which allows players to learn the game mechanics at their own pace. Additionally, the game's visual feedback is effective at helping players understand how the pieces fit together, which contributes to its overall learnability.

Another game that excels in learnability is Space Invaders, which we previously mentioned as an example of excellent usability. The game's interface is simple and easy to understand, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game's mechanics are also easy to learn, as the player simply needs to shoot down the advancing enemy ships. As the game progresses, the difficulty level increases gradually, which allows players to learn and adapt to the game's mechanics over time.

A third game that demonstrates excellent learnability is Donkey Kong, which we previously mentioned as an example of excellent usability. The game's interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, with clear instructions and controls that are easy to master. The game's mechanics are also easy to learn, as the player needs to climb ladders and avoid obstacles to reach the top of the level. The game's gradual increase in difficulty also allows players to learn and adapt to the game's mechanics over time.


Emotional Design

Emotional design is an increasingly important aspect of UX design, as it involves creating interfaces that evoke positive emotions in users. Classic arcade games have been successful for decades in part because of their ability to evoke positive emotions in players, and there are many tricks we can learn from them.

One game that demonstrates excellent emotional design is Pac-Man, which we previously mentioned as an example of excellent usability. The game's cheerful graphics and sound effects contribute to its overall positive emotional design, which has helped make it one of the most popular games of all time. Additionally, the game's fast-paced gameplay creates a sense of excitement and engagement that is essential for emotional design.

Another game that excels in emotional design is Donkey Kong, which we previously mentioned as an example of excellent learnability. The game's colorful graphics and cheerful sound effects contribute to its overall positive emotional design, which has helped make it one of the most popular games of all time. Additionally, the game's use of a relatable protagonist (Mario) has helped to create a connection between players and the game.

A third game that demonstrates excellent emotional design is Galaga, which we previously mentioned as an example of excellent accessibility. The game's colorful graphics and exciting sound effects contribute to its overall positive emotional design, which has helped make it one of the most popular games of all time. Additionally, the game's use of a challenging gameplay mechanic (players must defend their ship while also shooting down enemy ships) creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that is essential for emotional design.


Conclusion

In conclusion, classic arcade games have much to teach us about UX design, with their emphasis on usability, accessibility, learnability, and emotional design. By studying these games, we can learn important lessons about how to create interfaces that are easy to use, easy to learn, and enjoyable to interact with. Whether you are designing a new game or a new app, the principles of good UX design remain the same, and the tricks we can learn from classic arcade games are as relevant today as they were decades ago.


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