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Welcome to video games at CES

Video games at CES are weird. Let's just get that out of the way. Unlike at E3, which focuses exclusively on games, video games at CES are more like a sideshow focused on hardware -- a cute thing that middle-aged men might check out en route to a VERY IMPORTANT MEETING.

And that's why so much of CES gaming is retro focused, so let's start there.

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Arcade stuff. So much arcade stuff

By arcade stuff I mean old arcade stuff. I walked past so many goddamn fresh takes on old-school arcade machines that I aged several decades. 

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Some are very small...

Like these ones, which are TOO small. How am I supposed to play this with my gigantic, manly hands?

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More small tiny arcades for ants

Still not totally understanding why these exist. 

Also, where are all the arcades for GIANTS?

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Oh...

Arcades for giants are also at CES.

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Pinball machines are everywhere

Because CES is absolutely crawling with old men in ill-fitting suits, the show floor is packed with pinball machines for folks trying to relive the '80s. I want to talk crap about this Stranger Things spin-off, but look -- it's amazing! The game is fun, the tie-in makes complete sense given that the show is set in the '80s and focuses on kids who spend their time in arcades. 

Best of all, it's an actual, proper pinball machine, unlike the following abominations...

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What... why?

I saw a lot of terrible, "virtual" pinball machines. These are essentially screens embedded in a box shaped like a pinball machine. They do a great job of removing everything interesting about pinball machines: the tactile feeling of bouncing weighty metal balls off metal components.

They are an empty husk. Avoid.

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'LOVE IT'

This one is the worst one. As I took this photo a middle-aged man in an ill-fitting suit walked past and said really loudly, "I LOVE IT."

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Actually, this is a decent idea

It's called VRLCO and it's a VR system for arcades that players can use without any assistance. If you've ever used VR in arcades, you know they usually require assistance to get set up. These ones apparently don't. They come with a bunch of interesting games preinstalled.

Also they apparently self-clean. That's probably the most important part.

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Cybershoes are back!

The Cybershoes are tough to explain. They're essentially roller skates that allow you to "walk" in virtual reality video games. Sounds good in practice.

I tried these last year and they were extremely mediocre, hard to use and also just... not a good idea. 

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Whoooooo

This guy looks like he's enjoying himself though.

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CES had a lot of chairs

Video game chairs were everywhere. They all pretty much looked the same. 

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This one was pink

Very pink.

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'You win or you die'

This is actually the throne from Game of Thrones.

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Keep reaching...

Another solid attempt at equating esports with regular sports. Keep reaching for those stars...

(Actually, Gordon Hayward is apparently a pretty big League of Legends guy.)

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Finally...

A game company that can keep up with my extreme gaming demenads.

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