Arcades - Memories of a Bygone Time

Arcades! Just the name conjures up images of my childhood, growing up as an 80's child, and seeing arcades on TV or in person and how magical they were. The name itself - "arcade" is synonymous with late nights, neon, the smell of popcorn (perhaps movie theaters were to blame for this) and older kids that are were likely 13 looking and acting SO much older than I was at the time. Arcades, a magical place where if you had money, you could spend all day playing them--and if you didn't, it was still a ton of fun just watching someone else play!

One of the first arcade I laid my eyes on were when I was 9, watching Tron. Flynn's Arcade - a huge place, with the aforementioned neon everywhere, and a loft upstairs where Flynn slept. This was what I wanted out of life, and to tell you the truth, as a 31 year old man...I still kind of want that setup. The arcades were glorious in film. Everything from Tron to T2 to Robocop 2, every arcade they'd show, I'd scour the scene and make note of all the games, secretly celebrating when I saw a game I'd played and enjoyed myself.

Eventually, time went on, and arcades started to die. They changed from a huge line of dedicated little machines to larger, more eye-catching games. Some of them with a gimmick to get you into them. Don't get me wrong, I like some games with gimmicks - anyone who remembers Afterburner's awesome hydraulic cockpit knows what I mean - but if you see a skateboarding game where you have to stand on an actual skateboard, I started to drift away.

The real arcade players kept playing fighting games, and the score attack arcade games died out. Technology caught up to the innovation and amazing graphics you would see, and now, in this day and age, with global leaderboards, there's almost no reason to go to an arcade anymore. It's sad - the prestige of arcades in the 80s and early 90s was certainly something to experience, and I feel bad for anyone who never got the chance.

So, let's go back in our memory banks and talk about some of the most impactful, profound arcade experiences you've had. I'll start us out with a couple.

My first arcade game I got to play was on a classic Playchoice-10 - which was just an NES in an arcade, but that didn't MATTER. I played Metroid for the first time and man, I fell in love with that game despite being a child and never managing to get out of the first door! I'll always remember it.

Later in life, I was about 12, and was invited to play mini-golf with a friend and I saw about 20 people gathered around a Street Fighter II machine. This was shortly after release, and I saw Ryu vs Ken, and Ken got hit with a fireball. In my head, I said "what's the point of fighting like that if you can throw things?" How little I knew!

Lastly, I have tons of memories of T2: The Arcade Game. The guns you used vibrated and they had clips of the movie in the game! I loved the futuristic intro to T2 so this game was just...the best thing ever to me. I wasted a LOT of money on that game...and it was worth every cent.

Share your classic arcade experiences!

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