Impossible to beat coin operated arcade game?
September 10, 2018 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Is there any coin operated video game which is impossible to win on a single credit - even with perfect play - but is possible to beat with multiple credits (aka continuing)?
posted by JamesD to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you can beat Gauntlet due to the decreasing health and also number of spawns even with perfect play. It seems like taking damage is part of the game. There is food to regain health, but it is not much.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:33 PM on September 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

Gauntlet doesn't have an ending. I'm asking about winnable arcade games.
posted by JamesD at 2:34 PM on September 10, 2018

The arcade-fandom term for that is "1cc" (one-credit clear), and searching along those lines found me one citation for examples - Revolution X and Guardians of the Hood. There are likely others.
posted by wanderingmind at 2:42 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

A poster on this thread also cites Revolution X's gun-game sibling Terminator 2 as plausibly impossible on one credit, since you're always taking damage even with perfect play.
posted by neckro23 at 2:53 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I feel like some of the expensive games where you're in a faux car of some kind were impossible to beat on one credit, the Jurassic Park one comes to mind. You'd be taking damage no matter what you were doing and seems like you'd always get to a point of needing to add more credits. The Simpsons arcade beat-em-up game also seemed to have lots of times where you'll eventually run out of health even if you're kicking ass.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:33 PM on September 10, 2018

Beating NBA Jam means beating every single NBA team. At the time, most arcade machines were set up so that playing a single full game required 8 credits.
posted by box at 3:35 PM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

cyberball is another sports-style arcade game which took a defined number of credits in order to play through a full "game" (or season/tournament, I don't remember).

I found this mention: "Knights of Valor 3 apparently does too, but it isn't emulated, and most players of it hated it as a result (you can't 1CC it, you literally have to build up your character over multiple plays, grinding the same levels at a credit each time until you're ready to face the later ones, I ended up with a lot of people begging me to crack it / emulate it just so that it could be hacked into a regular game like the rest of the series)" here

Nintendo's PlayChoice limited you based on play time, and I doubt many of the games could be finished within the time you get for your first coin. Default seems to possibly be 300 seconds per coin. Under that definition, it looks like PlayChoice with TMNT might count, since the fastest win appears to be waaaay over 10 minutes. It's exceedingly likely that SMB was intended to be impossible to complete; as recently as 2004 the world record was above 5 minutes and even today it stands at over 4:55! (RTA and TAS timings differ and I'm not sure which timing rule is closer to how PlayChoice would have counted down)
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 6:11 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

"With regards to the Sega arcade machines, Rail Chase and especially Rail Chase 2 are examples of this. A lightgun game you control with a joystick, on a bench that bounces all over the place as the vehicle in game does. It is technically impossible not to take damage in some places on your lifebar. As in, frame by frame, it cannot be prevented as a single player. Moreover, the rank increases for every 50 seconds, meaning that by the 4 minute mark you're playing the game on PCB difficulty 8 instead of 4. I've 1cc'd it with my mouse with the difficulty turned down to 1 and 2, but that's with rank turned off as well. Without these changes I really actually think you can't 1cc it as a single player, and goodness knows I have tried. The final boss will happily eat your entire life bar on normal difficulty too, if you somehow manage to get there on your first credit (I never have)."
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 6:56 PM on September 10, 2018

Pick a gauntlet that does have an ending, like Gauntlet Legends from 1998.
That game had the unusual feature of having a password for character saves. They were expecting it to take several sessions to beat, and several credits per session. Even with optimal play, I’m pretty sure it canny be completed on one credit, but I have no authoritative reference for that claim at present.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:46 AM on September 11, 2018

There's a few Japanese shooters (several discussed in that system11 thread linked above) that use an incredibly aggressive rank system, where the game gets more difficult the better you're doing. To the point where the best players, who generally prize perfect play-throughs, will deliberately die to reset the difficulty. They can still be beaten within a single credit, but first you have to figure out what the game is doing. Playing for high score vs. playing to 1cc becomes a very different experience in these, one that's not easily picked up by a casual player.
posted by Jobst at 2:57 PM on September 11, 2018

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