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What Intel's OAAF Means To You
Dale Maxfield - December 10, 1997

On April 28, 1997, Intel Corporation announced a hardware specification for coin-operated video games based on the PentiumŽ II processor. Delivering the quality of traditional arcade entertainment, games based on open arcade architecture PCs could be enhanced with new features, such as multiplayer interaction and Internet access. Coin-operated systems based on Intel's Pentium II processor are expected to be in arcades by the end of the year. Intel announced the hardware specification at the Computer Game Developers Conference and showcased three Intel Architecture-based coin-operated games: Interactive Light's Home Run Derby, a baseball simulation game; GreyStone's Canyon Runner, a multiplayer race game with futuristic, armed aircrafts; and a flight simulation game from Mango Grits.

Some of the difficulties faced by game-makers are the expenses of creating completely new systems for each game only to scrap the entire machine when the next game is developed. This makes games expensive to make, and partially explains why "sequel" games are rampant as well as games with very similar engines from the same company. Intel hopes to not only help in that front, but also on the home PC front. If game companies develop games to the less-expensive to manufacture, Pentium II based Open Arcade Architecture, they are guaranteed to be able to easily port the game over to home use! What's more, you can bet that as this idea becomes more popular, companies such as Hanaho and Happ Controls will be selling the arcade quality cabinets and controls to consumers, to allow for TRUE at home arcade experience!

"With the Pentium II processor, MMX technology, the Accelerated Graphics Port and advanced 3D graphics controllers, the Intel Architecture PC will deliver the 3D, graphics and video performance that players expect in an arcade game," said Claude Leglise, vice president, Content Group, Intel. "The Intel Architecture-based specification enables exciting new game features, gives players access to cutting-edge games and encourages developers to use the capabilities of the most advanced microprocessors."

"The Intel Architecture allows us to feature-rich graphics and incredibly fast frame rates," said Phil Adam, vice president, new business development, Interplay Productions. "We are thrilled about the opportunity to showcase our games in the arcades and sell them into the home. This initiative will also help us introduce new titles faster."

The hardware specification calls for a Pentium II processor with 512KB cache, a high-performance 3D graphics accelerator and arcade-quality controllers. The standard operating system will be Windows 95 in 1997 and Windows NT in 1998.

"The combination of Intel's Pentium II processor and Microsoft's Direct-X makes the PC a powerful development and delivery platform for interactive entertainment in the coin-operated arcade market," said Jason Robar, public PC/game evangelist, Microsoft Corporation.

"A common PC infrastructure will lower our customers' cost of business, by providing reusable hardware for many different games. It should allow us to offer our customers a wider variety of games," said Peter Betti, chairman, H. Betti Industries, a distributor who plans to introduce systems by the end of the year.

The hardware specification is part of an Intel initiative to encourage software vendors and content providers from various industries to develop new forms of entertainment for the PC platform. The hardware specification is available at

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of personal computer, networking and communications products. Additional information is available at

Games Announced!

On Oct. 23, 1997, Intel Corporation and four game developers debuted some of the first arcade games based on Intel's Open Arcade Architecture and high-performance PentiumŽ II processors. These games are now shipping to arcade operators:

  • Hanaho APC and Kalisto Entertainment's Ultimate Race Arcade, a 3-D driving game.
  • InnerWorkings' Plane Crazy, which features stylized World War II aircraft flying through a range of photorealistic environments.
  • Interactive Light's Kick-It, a soccer simulator that allows players to kick a real soccer ball toward a goal, tended by a virtual 3-D goalie, on a large-screen display.
  • LBE Systems will demonstrate the power of its SparkyNet OS arcade network software running id software's Quake, which will be available for arcades in the near future.

Author's Note: This article was originally written on October 25, 1997 but has remained unpublished until now.
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