When I was a kid, the mall arcade was the place to be. Showing off your skills, and hanging out with friends was what it was all about. The amount of machines they had in those places was absurd. Everyone always surrounding the latest hot game where players went head to head.
I remember my mom dropping me off at the mall where I would first pay a visit to the music store, looking at all the CD’s I wish I had money for. Instead I would settle for listening to the demo box that had headphones attached every several feet. You guys in your 30’s and 40’s know what I’m talking about.
I grew up on games like Street Fighter 2, Outrun (racing game), Battletoads, The Simpsons, and NBA Jam. Those were the good old days, when I would go to the the arcade with 5 bucks I saved all week long and blow it like someone at a casino playing slots. Even when I couldn’t get to the mall arcade, there was always a corner store right down the street with one of the latest games I enjoyed. I could ride my bike down there and get my fix whenever I needed too. But those days are over. Sure there are places like Dave and Busters, but they just don’t feel like a real arcade.
My Daughter Will Never Know
While the local arcade was a big part of my childhood, I know that it won’t even be appreciated, let alone understood by my daughter. Everything gaming for most people is done on your phone these days. In fact phones and tablets seem to be killing even the home gaming console business. As a kid, I never had that privilege, and while I loved video games, there was always a time and a place for them. They didn’t consume my life because my mother didn’t let them.
Nevertheless, the old school arcade will hold a fond place in my heart, and one day I will explain how when daddy was young, he and his friends would go play 16 bit games with knobs and a few buttons for hours on end. Her reply will likely be, “why didn’t you just download some game apps and save your money for other stuff”, my response being, “because $700 phones didn’t exist back then”.