Boy, am I sad. Very sad.
No, it's not a family or health related issue. Even though my favorite football team has had a multi-year losing streak that it not why I am sad.
I am sad because it is the end of an era. Recently I went to our local mall (haven't been there in months, never had the time, the money, or even a reason to go lately) and I thought I'd stop by the local Time Out Arcade while I was there....IT WAS GONE!!!! IT WAS REPLACED BY FREAKING AT&T STORE!!! WTH??? MY WORLD HAS ENDED HAS I KNEW IT!!!
Seriously, though, I'm surprised it lasted this long. 30 years. The mall opened up in 1981 and this particular arcade was there from the beginning. It's where I got hooked on the likes of Centipede, Asteroids, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Popeye, Galaga, Star Wars, Deluxe Invaders, Pole Position, Tron, etc. I could go on and on and list all the games I've dropped countless quarters in. Before indoor smoking was banned, the carpet was full of cherry burns. The machines had edges that were a mixed mash-up of melted plastic and drink & food stains. The placed smelled like a cross between cigarette smoke and someone who hadn't bathed in weeks (which, if you were trying to rack up the top score you didn't care what you looked like or even smelled like).
Those days have long since passed. The carpet had been replaced with a tile floor that can be spot mopped. The dark 75 watt bulbs were been replaced with bright white neon lights. The classic games were replaced with more modern games begging for my quarters. However, I do not think in it's later years that the arcade had games newer than 5 or 7 years old.
Some of the things I really do miss about the arcade:
* The sounds. The music. The sights. The neon lights.
* The coin changer/token machines. The jackpot sound these changers made when you stuck in $5, $10, or even $20 for tokens or quarters. I still have a few left from 1981 and some even more recent.
* The competition. It's something that cannot be duplicated even by the best of home game consoles. Sure they have network play, team play, head to head, etc. but the challenge of playing 2 players on a single unit (either uniformly or alternately) is something that will be greatly missed by this gamer.
* The prizes. When it first opened up, the local Time Out arcade gave tickets (the kind you get when you play games such as Skeet Ball) for the high score of the week or all time high score. You would in turn exchange those tickets for prizes. Most of the prizes were cheesy (like glow in the dark vampire teeth) but still fun to get.
* The atmosphere. Every time I walked into that arcade at the beginning of my gaming journey, it felt like I was walking into another universe where nothing mattered but how many quarters you had and how long you made your pocket full of quarters last. The more you played the longer your pocket full of quarters stretched. It was a time that wasn't for the meek or timid because competition was tough. The babe's of today know nothing of machine pounding heart stopping action. No one rested until someone was defeated and the other was crowned king.
Those were times that can never, ever be duplicated by a "modern" gaming console.
What do you remember about the arcade?http://www.caextreme.org/http://barcade.com/