The life and death of the American arcade

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86 Responses to “The life and death of the American arcade”

  1. These stories feel very Gen Y to me, the feeling that we came in at the end of things, and they went away before we could make them our own.

    • Shane Simmons says:

      I was born in 1975, so I’m stuck somewhere between X and Y. I know I don’t feel like I really belong to either. Not sure what I am.

      I hate to admit this, but when I was a kid my class in school took a trip to Six Flags Mid-America at the tail end of the 80s, and while other kids were riding rides, since I got sick easily on the rides but wasn’t about to miss out on a trip to an amusement park, I spent an obnoxious amount of time in an arcade on the grounds playing games that were quickly becoming vintage. I don’t know how many quarters I pumped into Star Wars that day and others.

      Nowadays I can’t imagine too many people getting into being hunched over an arcade console. I’d imagine the ones who do are either my age and older, or they’re wearing funny glasses, riding fixies, and drinking MGD ironically. I can pick up my phone and install classic arcade games on it. I can play them on my TV. I can play casual games on my phone or tablet. I can play modern games in surround, and apparently relatively soon thanks to Valve I’ll finally be able to play games like TF2 with a VR headset. Been waiting at least 20 years for VR to take off, man. Heck, we’re at a point where I wonder how long consoles have left, let alone some glorious resurgence of arcade games.

      • IronEdithKidd says:

        Bad news, kiddo, you’re X.  Pretty much smack in the middle of the pack.  I’m a couple years older than you, and I’m not letting you off the hook.

        • Jonathan Badger says:

          Maybe technically, but as an older GenX I think classic arcade culture really is only a memory of the earlier part. I’m talking Pac-Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Defender, etc. — not the endless list of karate games with “secret moves” that the arcade turned into in the late 1980s and early 1990s before dying out.

          • IronEdithKidd says:

            You’re preaching to the choir, here.  I went out of my way to find PS2 compilations of all my favorite old Namco, Atari and Activision games.

      • kuang says:

        And I’m a couple years younger,  still Gen X.  That “not feeling like you belong”  thats a hallmark.

    • George M. Anderson says:

      There was an arcade here in Nashville that not only refurbished old games, but also built new stand-ups that can house new games using a console.  It’s up to the new generation to make arcades relevant again, but with the stigma attached to young people gathering in groups I don’t see it changing.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      These stories feel very Gen Y to me

      We Boomers are still mourning the loss of places to redeem our S&H Green Stamps.

  2. Rider says:

    Two things killed arcades.  The dark seedy nature of them that is fondly remembered here made parents keep kids away from them.

    The second was when they got away from coins and started charging dollars.  This was the main factor that killed them.  Most people are looking for an excuse to get rid of change, it was great empty the shrapnel out of your pockets and get Timmy out of your hair for an hour.  

    • mccrum says:

      What about home video gaming systems?  While I loved, loved, loved time spent in the arcade plugging quarters, systems like NES brought the same kind of quality to me and allowed the opportunity to actually start getting to the end screens.

      • vonbobo says:

        The seedy factor is relevant- I remember thinking that I shouldn’t be in there alone. No way that flies with today’s vigilant parents.

        However, I do agree about the consoles. I remember my Atari 2600 meant freedom to me- no more quarter begging. It was utopia.

        Now I kind of want to spend the next 4 hours to flip the score on asteroids.

        • UnderachievingSheep says:

          I was a child/ tween geek of the girl variety in the 80s and I didn’t understand why my parents wouldn’t let me go to the arcade alone. Then I was old enough to understand and the seed & creep factor was *very* relevant to my switching from the arcade to a rather lousy C64 (lousy compared to the arcade experience, of course). I stopped going to the arcade altogether until I was well into my 20s and could take care of the creeps comfortably.

          • Shane Simmons says:

            In my midwest small town, there was one decent arcade, and it was in the local mall. Unbelievably, that arcade had a creep problem. I mostly didn’t have a problem with it, until one day when two kids about a third bigger than me sided up to me on each side and informed me they wanted to play the game I was playing. They were VERY insistent. Fuck that, I just wanted to play a game, not get in a fight. I didn’t have a C64, but a Tandy, and I was still okay with it. Eventually there were really craptacular ports of games like Space Harrier, and I played the heck out of several of the Sierra On-Line games.

            Heck, fellow Tandy owners (I still have a 1000 EX in a closet somewhere) does anyone remember Thexder? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BmxAAryVFk

          • Every once in a while Thexder pops back into memory. I didn’t have a Tandy but I had friends with them, definitely awesome fun. He was a robot and a plane, a cool combo.

          • Felton / Moderator says:

            does anyone remember Thexder?

            Yes!  I used to play it on a late-80′s 1000SX.  I didn’t get rid of that thing until about 2001 when the hard drive failed.

          • cdh1971 says:

            I was a Commodore kid in the early ’80′s, I even was a JR. HS/Middle S sales rep (switched to MS 7th) for a Commodore shop on commission. 

            I called them Trash-80s and shit. However…I knew then, and I still consider them to be fine machines…not as good for gaming as the Vics, 64′s et al sue to the Commodore’s unique design, but still fun. 

            The TRS-80′s were a great business machine and I knew of a few people still using them as such well into the mid 90′s, not because of teh stubborn, or money issues, but because they still did exactly what they bought them for, including accessing BBS and services like Compuserve, and telnet/gopher. The main reason those folks switched was to use the WWW. Even then the old machines still found use as HAM teletypes and whatnot well into the naughts, again not cause of teh stubborn, but cause they worked.

        • Christopher says:

          My favorite arcade, which, admittedly, was also the one closest to me, wasn’t in a traditional shopping mall but was in a strip mall. As a result it had large windows at the front that let in a lot of natural light. I think this helped cut down on the seediness, although there may have been other factors as well, such as location.

          I never gave it much thought before, but the only other arcade I went to regularly was a dark place across from the movie theater in a shopping mall. And I often felt uncomfortable in there, at least in part because it was dark, but also because most of the other players there were several years older than I was.

        • mccrum says:

          Oh, I’m not denying the seedy factor, I just wanted to add that there is a very big third vector that wasn’t accounted for in the original comment.

          Oh, for four free continuous hours!  No pause buttons during the heady times.  Many were the day when a quick glance away meant a waste of a quarter.

    • Dan Hibiki says:

      and have you got any facts to back this up? Because any arcade game developer will tell you it was the popularity of consoles that did it.

  3. vonbobo says:

    I liked both the article and the layout!

    My upper level income fantasies include a pinball arcade in my house- “Shoot the Death Star!!!”

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      Best pinball machine.  Ever.

      • Donald Petersen says:

        I dunno.  Time was I would have argued strenuously in favor of Pinbot, but my brother has the Creature From The Black Lagoon machine in his home office (the one that’s more of a Drive-In tribute than anything), and that’s the most entertaining one I’ve ever played.

  4. There is still a real arcade in the down-scale mall near where I live in suburban Chicago. 

  5. Melinda9 says:

    A small one opened recently in my local mall and it was full when I walked by.

    • TonyF says:

      Been going there since they first opened. I built a custom MAME cabinet at home with 3000+ games on it but nothing beats the noise and ambiance of a real arcade. 

    • Eric Calkins says:

      Pinballz is doing the lord’s work.  I’ve been in a couple of times, and wish I had the time to go more often.  
      Aladdin’s Castle in Barton Creek Mall, in its first location, was the best pure arcade I ever patronized.  I have so many great memories of going to the mall with my parents, saying “Let’s meet back at the Foley’s entrance in an hour,” quickly blowing 5$ in tokens on something like Gauntlet 2 or Xenophobe, then watching other people play everything else.

      The Gold Mine in Highland Mall was its cave-like, more intimidating cousin. That’s where you’d find the original Street Fighter, with the giant pressure-sensitive buttons, and bizarre stuff like the oddly compelling movie tie-in for Firefox, with its mix of video and graphics.  And, for some reason, multiple Super Sprint cabinets.  

      Northcross Mall had Le Fun/Tilt, where I spent hours pouring quarters into the largely forgotten (but great) 4-player Sega racing game Hot Rod.

      Even in around 1999/2000, when they built the Lakeline Mall up near Cedar Park, they put in a pretty huge, decent split-level arcade on the ground floor near the movie theater.  I think it lasted a good 5 – 6 years or so.

      Jumping back in time a bit, the second best pure arcades I ever patronized were Le Fun and Einstein’s, both on the main “drag” near the University of Texas campus. Le Fun was absorbed by the Scientology Center next door in ~2005, but Einstein’s soldiered on for a couple more years.  I spent most of my between class time from 1991-1996 in those places.  I vividly remember the excitement when something like Killer Instinct arrived, and people would use the nascent Internet to collaborate and figure out how to execute the ridiculous combos. 

      Is there still an arcade in the UT rec center basement?  My friend Ron and I won an NBA Jam! (original) tournament down there.  Stockton + Malone FTW. 

      Tremendous job on the piece by the Verge.  Lots of memories flowing.

      • mccrum says:

        NBA Jam, what a good time that thing was.

      • Gyrofrog says:

        Good heavens, I hadn’t thought about Le Fun on The Drag in years (possibly because I haven’t lived in Austin for 10 years).  What goes around, comes around, I guess: Le Fun took over The Book Mark next door (man I loved that bookstore).

  6. Snig says:

    Friends in my home town of Binghamton NY have mentioned this place, though I haven’t been back myself.
    http://robotcitygames.com/blog/blog1.php They say the folks there are friendly and the games are fun. My friends are using the arcade to teach their children of the old ways.

  7. UnderachievingSheep says:

    The thing I miss the most from arcades are pinball machines. All the other games can be recreated somewhat accurately on computers and gaming consoles but oh the pinballs… and they are pretty expensive to acquire individually as most titles have become collectors items. A Creature from the Black Lagoon (my favorite), in good condition can sell above 2000 Euros in Belgium/ The Netherlands/ Germany (all places I check regularly that would be feasible to drive to for pick up).

    I wish some wealthy investor would develop arcades just to bring back the pinballs, I cannot be the only one still interested in them? (and if I am, well, I’ll live with odd taste just fine, I guess).

    • vonbobo says:

      Pinball addict here! Metal rails 4 life!

      • Gyrofrog says:

        Me 3.  My favorite was Comet, probably because it was the first pinball I could play really well.  We’d play it at lunch during high school and then leave a bunch of credits when we had to go back to school.  A little later was Cyclone, a sequel I guess.

        Long story, but I wound up with a Baby Pac Man machine: video game on top, small pinball field underneath.  It needs a new MPC? CPU? board and I just keep postponing throwing down the money for it.

    • Christopher says:

      I work on a college campus. There used to be a game room not far from my office, and at every opportunity I’d go there and play the pinball machines. When they got rid of the game room I found a nearby bar that opened at lunch and had two pinball games. I spent a lot of lunch hours and a lot of quarters there. Heck, even when I was a teenager I preferred pinball machines over Pac-Man et al.

      Needless to say you’re not the only one still interested in them.

      • Shane Simmons says:

        At the nearby college campus, there used to be an arcade in the student center.  They’ve had big comfy chairs and TVs in that room for years now. :-/

        • Christopher says:

          That’s one of the reasons I’ve avoided going back to my alma mater. I’m sure they’ve replaced the pool room (which also had a couple of pinball machines) with some crappy hangout space.

        • TheMadLibrarian says:

          I’ve attended 3 colleges (yes, I did get my degree, nyah!) and every one of them had a game room with video and pinball games, sometimes pool tables too. 

          One of the video arcades I used to visit was the archetype — smoky, dimly lit, pinball games on one side, video consoles on the other, and the center full of standalone and tabletop games, where you could set a drink on the game screen.  All were scarred with cigarette burns and cracked cabinets. It was populated mostly with local kids, with a sprinkling of thugs and gangstas, before that became popular. The back room was full of pool tables and was strictly off limits; persistent rumor had it that it was a center for local gangs, illegal betting rings and organized crime.  Several years later, the arcade was raided for the umpteenth time and closed down.

    • Rob says:

      I still prefer real, but “The Williams Collection” on consoles (computer too?) did a damn fine job. I don’t think I’ve played another one that did the physics any where near as well.

      • UnderachievingSheep says:

        Thanks for the tip, will check it out. I had never tried this one because in the past all my experiences with pinball emulators have left me very disappointed. 

        • Rob says:

          There’s a sequel that lets you buy additional tables. I’m not sure of the name, and I haven’t tried it, so I can’t vouch for that one. But if they used the same engine, it’s got serious potential.

          But yeah, every other pinball emulator I’ve tried has sucked. With this one, skills have actually transferred to the real tables, many of which are at the local pinball place (Gorgar, Funhouse, Aladdin, Black Knight, Whirlwind)

          • noah django says:

            huh.  I played a Black Knight table in the early 80s at the Black Sheep Tavern in Manchester, MI.  it was the first table I got the multi-ball on.  I doubt I was older than ten, so I don’t remember the details.  I remember really loving that table’s play, but also the art on the backboard was super sweet.  Never saw it again.

    • noah django says:

      well said.  pinball is the best.

  8. AwesomeRobot says:

    I wonder if there’s a way to work with the license-holders of classic games to use them as promotional tools for current products and skirt some of the problems with rolling a MAME cabinet for public use. Like, maybe the attract mode of a Nintendo-themed cabinet would play ads for new WiiU games or reward Club Nintendo offers or game deals using NFC/QR codes… 

    Maintaining 30 year old cabinets is cost prohibitive in itself. 

    There are also a bunch of indie developers that have rolled their own cabinets — I wonder if there’d be any appeal to an indie arcade that could give back a certain cut to developers… 

    • Shane Simmons says:

      Probably not going to see the current holder of Atari, Namco, and other games license them for cabinet builders.  You know, I wonder if you could take the last-generation Nintendo, buy some of the ported games through Virtual Console, and hook up cabinet joysticks to a Classic Controller.

      • AwesomeRobot says:

        It’s a damn shame! They’re sitting on a vast market of people who love these classic games (or at least think it’s cool to like them) — and they’re doing little to capitalize on it aside from occasionally releasing branded shovelware and granting licensing to Hot Topic merchandising

        Though, to be fair, the Pac Man anniversary edition and Space Invaders Extreme stick out as actually decent games in their own right.

        Ah well.  

  9. Denez McAdoo says:

     yeah, it’s really all about the pinball since you can’t emulate that at home. It frustrates me to know end when huge “arcades” like Dave & Buster’s don’t have them.

    I live in Cambridge, MA and the local bowling ally, Lanes and Games, has a monthly pinball tournament with about 10 pinball machines.

    Also, Funspot in Laconia, New Hampshire advertises itself as the largest arcades in the world and I believe it. It has 3 floors of classic games. Lots of very rare and classic pinball machines like Gorgar and Black Knight.

  10. Christopher says:

    In addition to the rise of consoles and the “seediness factor” I wonder if part of the decline of arcades isn’t also caused in part by the decline of shopping malls–or at least their takeover by large chains that can afford to put mall space financially out of reach of any local operator.

    I was surprised to find that the mall I always went to as a kid, which had been hemorrhaging money for decades, still had its video arcade as recently as a year ago. The mall had been hemorrhaging money for decades, and is now closed and scheduled for demolition. The arcade was doing fine and was only driven out by the mall’s closure. Part of the arcade’s success was its Saturday special–pay $10 at the door and play any game as many times as you want. That deal was especially popular with pinball players like me.

    The last I read the arcade is currently looking for a new home. I wish them luck. 

    • UnderachievingSheep says:

      I grew up in Buenos Aires where arcades weren’t in malls (heck, there were no malls in the country until the mid 90s or so) and yet, there are no arcades left. Then I moved to Amsterdam in the mid 90s and there were several arcades located downtown but they are all gone now, replaced by slot machines and other similar casino related electronic “games”. So, my point is, while it might be the case in the US that the decline of the arcades followed the decline in mall culture, other places without malls also saw a disappearance.

  11. IvonaPoyntz says:

    I remember arcades fondly: but then I remember Blockbuster fondly, too, and look where its all going….

  12. trackofalljades says:

    I’m really confused by that article about Pittsburgh. There is already an arcade on the south side, which is definitely in the city limits. It’s a pretty great place with cabinets, pinball, and even duckpin bowling…it’s called Games ‘N At (you gotta speak Pittsburgh to understand) and its a fun little place, and there’s absolutely no way they pay those kinds of taxes/fees or they couldn’t exist.

  13. nixiebunny says:

    Arcades were wonderful placed to hang out. All the ones in Tucson that I visited, died around the same time in the late eighties. My lovely wife also spent a lot of time hanging out in arcades. When we find a Galaxian or Galaga game anywhere in the world, we go nuts.

    I’ve had one pinball game or another in my house for nearly all of my adult life.  Briefly had an Asteroids game in the mid-80s, although I didn’t own it. They are fun, but I don’t get the joy of wasting money quarter by quarter.

  14. Trevour says:

    Anyone else seen this? It’s a documentary called “The Video Craze (Where Were You in ’82?)” and is on Kickstarter. Highly nostalgic and hope to see it fully funded! Although I grew up during the arcades’ unfortunate transition through the ’80s/’90s – too young to go to arcades on my own, and by the time I WAS old enough, they were dropping like flies.

  15. mccrum says:

    I see several comments on here about local arcades (quick shout out to the Barcade), but the original article talks about how “authentic” arcades, by their definition, only contained arcade games.  No food, no bars, and low light levels.  We had one in Chinatown that closed a few years back to reopen recently with better lighting and less sketch, but that’s gone the way of swipe cards as well.

  16. legsmalone says:

    I like arcades more now than when I was a kid. There is nothing wrong with a 21+ bar filled with video games.

  17. franko says:

    i wish *i* had been the one to think of “Barcade” — i think that’s an idea with legs.

  18. 10xor01 says:

    If there’s no one that looks like Jeff Spicoli playing Asteroids or Defender, it isn’t a real arcade.

    If the high scores on many of the games are held by ‘GOD’, ‘LSD’, and ‘POT’, chances are good that it’s a real arcade.

  19. Greg says:

    We have Funstop arcade up here in NH, it has a whole room of classic games. Brought back many memories-especially the sit down Star Wars game and Kung Fu Master. 

    http://www.funspotnh.com/

  20. Sagodjur says:

    The rise of the barcade seems like a natural evolution for arcades since a lot of arcades trade on nostalgia and many of the patrons who are interested in that nostalgic experience are of legal drinking age (and may have been for over 10 years).

    Ground Kontrol in Portland is a nice example, with a bar and full on Tron lighting decor.

  21. A while ago I came across a game token from K-Mart. It probably dates to circa 1982 back when some of the stores had small arcades shoved in the back. My brother worked at an arcade in the late 70s and used to open up our fave games and click us a bunch of freebies – that’s how we became addicted to Robotron.

  22. i remember going with my bro to the PacMan arcade in Pasadena across the street from PCC. We used to pilfer our father’s sparklets bottle full of coins that he was saving up for our family vacations. great great times.

  23. Nylund says:

    1. Begging for smaller amounts of money on a regular basis was more annoying for both kids and parents than begging for one big Christmas purchase (Atari, NES, etc.)

    2. Being at home pleased kids in some ways.  It gave them a chance to actually win long games.  It was comfortable, and maybe the parents even made snacks!  Friends (and only friends – no bullies or creeps) could come over and no one needed quarters to play.

    3.  Being at home pleased parents.  Arcades had bullies, bad influences, and, in general, anytime kids gather in a place with little parental supervision, creepy adults flock like vultures to a carcass.  Parents were much happier with little Timmy being in the living room than out someplace by himself with lord-knows-who.

    4. If you play at home, you play on a bigger screen, with better sound, and with more comfortable seating.  With online gaming (and headsets), you can even play and talk with a multitude of strangers and make friends (just like the arcade days).

  24. Preston Sturges says:

    Speaking of seedy arcades in Pittsburgh, in the 1980s the last vintage no-electronics pinball machines ended up in the grubby peep show joints down by the bus station and the Nixon Hotel flophouse.  It was a rare chance to play old Gottlieb pinball machines, but you did have to be prepared to brush off an actual pimp.

    • nixiebunny says:

      I was wandering around San Francisco’s Chinatown late one night in 1982 when I saw an old, brightly lit storefront pinball arcade with a dozen wood-rail machines of the BINGO style, each with a 5×5 grid of out-holes in the middle of the field. The were being played by scruffy guys.

      It was like a time warp.

      • noah django says:

         when I moved to Nashville in ’87, the local corner store had some bingos.  didn’t really get that they were different until I tried to play one.  very confused.  I think the owner was annoyed that I was playing it, too.  like i was gonna blab and bring heat down on him or something.

  25. Things Better says:

    The Midwest’s Own Galloping Ghost
    Its not far from Chicago, so if you are ever in town, its well worth the trip

    http://gallopingghostarcade.com/

    The GALLOPING GHOST ARCADE provides a video gaming experience like no other!
    We are Illinois’ LARGEST video arcade, and currently have over 250+ games to play and have
    more games up and running all the time! 
    Unlike most arcades, we do not use quarters or tokens.
    All of our games are set to FREE PLAY!
    We charge a $15 door fee and then you can come in and play ALL the games for as long as you want!
    We are open until 2AM daily!
    We offer Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Memberships as well!

    - Contact us at 708-485-4700 for more information

    – Contact us at 708-485-4700 for more information

  26. Jonathan Golub says:

    My local arcade was The Electric Playhouse in Mount Kisco, NY.  A wretched hive of scum and villainy when I started going there in 1980, it was half pinball and half videogames, with a pool table in the back and a cigarette machine.  Eventually the pinballs and the pool tables went away, but I remember taking advantage of that cigarette machine when I was 14 or so.  I don’t think it was home consoles that killed the arcade, at least not until the 90s.  Atari 2600 and NES were no match for the arcade machines in speed and graphics.  I still think there’s something special about the full-size games that consoles, tablets and PCs lack.  They just feel more solid, faster, like they only have one purpose in life – to defeat you.

    • Jonathan Golub says:

      Another good arcade story… in the late ’90s, an old friend and I decided to relive our arcade glory days at the arcade in NYC’s Chinatown.  A dirty, dark place known for having a live chicken inside a machine that would dance or play tic-tac-toe when you put a coin in.  We went in and proceeded to play Galaga and Ms. Pac-man alongside a bunch of kids, until my friend turned to me and said, “Dude, this place smells like farts.”  That was the end of that.  

      • Preston Sturges says:

        Webb City in Sarasota (“World’s Largest Drugstore!”)  had the flea circus with a live chicken that played baseball IIRC.

        I don’t know if any photos of that place exist, but it was huge.

      • gokid says:

        There’s a documentary on the Chinatown Fair arcade in NYC and its closing… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCaKaM7kIb8

  27. David J. Weiner says:

    I was born in ’70, and used to take a 30-minute bus ride with $10 worth of quarters in my pocket to what I considered the best arcade in Los Angeles in ’82 – Westworld in Westwood Village. It was dark, purple neon, all the best games, but I don’t remember it being particularly seedy. Sketchy maybe due to the high school kids that were milling about up to no good, but seedy? No. 
    By the way, Ground Kontrol in Portland is in fact a most excellent arcade, and serves beer. 

  28. Gyrofrog says:

    Just remembered the size of some of these places. Sometimes a mall arcade took up the equivalent of 3 Chess Kings, maybe more.  Those who grew up around D/FW may remember Forum Fair at Forum 303, which had a carousel and Skee-Ball along with video and pinball games.  Aladdin’s Castle at Red Bird Mall seemed like it was the size of a Sears, though of course I’m misremembering.

  29. Emma Jones says:

    My dad used to take me and my brothers to the arcade at the mall. Aladdin’s Palace. I got really good at skeeball when I was five. I was too short to reach most of the cabinets when it closed. That’s okay, he took us to the go-kart place, too, and there was a small arcade there.

    Now (in Philly) I go to Barcade. Yeah, so it’s not a ‘real arcade’ because it serves beer (lots of really expensive beer) but it’s got quarter plays, and a lot of classic games. Great for a night out with the friends. I’d suggest it to anyone in the area if you have the extra cash. (21 and up, of course.)

    • Emma Jones says:

      Also, in Springfield, MO, (my hometown) there is a pay-as-you-enter arcade called 1984. You pay $5(?) at the entrance and you can play all you want on any game except pinball, which you need quarters for.

  30. MrJM says:

    If you’re ever in Chicago, LOGAN HARDWARE 2410 W Fullerton (between Western Ave & Artesian Ave) 

    All free, all the time.

  31. flickerKuu says:

    Why the heck does it say you need to have a permit per game in the article? Is that like a licensing fee from the video game maker or something? Sounds like opening an arcade is harder than opening up a nuclear power station. I love the people at the hearings who felt kids would deal drugs at the arcade, as if the cabinets create some sort of “dealing drug is ok” aura that say a playground wouldn’t. 

    • nixiebunny says:

      That’s usually a local jurisdiction thing, designed to extract money from game operators into the coffers of City Hall.

  32. bcsizemo says:

    Cyber Sled was my game of choice.  One of the few more than a quarter games at the time.  I know it’s been brought out on Playstation and Wii, but the dual stick configuration is just awesome for the way this game was setup.  I pumped many of dollars into those machines.  Whenever I go past an arcade I was look in hoping to find one sitting in the back corner….

  33. Donald Petersen says:

    My local arcade was (barely) walking distance from my house, in a strip mall next to the 7-Eleven.  It wasn’t particularly seedy, but when I’d go there (1981-1984 or so), money was a bit tight around our house, and I never got good enough at any of the games for my quarters to last very long.  It just wasn’t a cost-effective form of entertainment for me.  Well, the pinball machines were, but other than Tempest, I never got very good at many arcade games.  I’d show up with $2 or $3 in quarters and leave 10 or 15 minutes later, heaving a sigh of dissatisfaction.

    My buddy Tom and I adopted the habit of playing on the two or three machines in our local donut shop / ice cream parlor.  That was more fun.  1943, Time Pilot, Contra, and (eventually) Xenophobe.  We actually spent enough time to get good at those.

  34. Nword says:

    I used to work in an arcade, the namco branded ones, I had some good memories, like playing Run N’ Gun against Phife Dog (A tribe Called quest was in town, and they came to the mall my arcade was in), and making sure the pinball games were as clean and well maintained as they could be, because it was so much nicer when the playing field was polished to a high sheen. Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of my faves.

    • noah django says:

       dude, that’s awesome.

      a lot of the 90s NY rappers live in Atlanta.  I was djing a warehouse party for a friend once that Dinco D was at.  I dropped the instrumental to OCs Time’s Up and he spat like 16 bars.  I wasn’t the biggest LOTNS fan, but that was pretty cool.  Oh and Da Brat used to come to my regular gig, but she never said anything to me.
      /off-topic

      you are a good man to have given extra care to the pinball machines.

      • Nword says:

        Thanks, it was a great job for an 18 year old, and keeping the pinball machines working as nicely as possible was as much for my own gratification as anyone else’s, I loved playing em.

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