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Arcade Memories- Post Arcade Stories!

VHSMARONITE

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As you push aside the blacked-out double doors, your eyes adjust to the smoky darkness of the game room. You've arrived at the arcade. Dim black lights illuminate your clothes to an alien neon, and a barrage of pops and clinks washes against your ears. To your left, you see rows of shoddily-kept dining tables, stuffed with sugar-high children and bored parents. To your right, you see a never-ending row of flickering cabinets, each adorned with fanciful colors and characters. You rustle in your pocket to find your wallet, and approach the token dispenser. Where to first?

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When I think about the concept of "childhood", arcades are the first thing that come to my mind. As a "zoomer", I would be remiss if I didn't recognize that I only experienced the back-end of the arcade lifespan, but for many people who grew up in the 2000s without the means for vacation or the access to the luxurious technology, arcades were the pinnacle of family entertainment. Simply put, it didn't get any better than this. But what about you? Did you have any significant memories in the arcade? I have a couple to share:

I remember there was always one arcade cabinet I'd flock to every time I visited my local spot. Carnevil, it was called. Excellent game. It was a rail shooter from the 90's with goofy enemies and a spooky setting.
My brother and I once attempted to finish the entire game in one go. At 50 cents a play, it took us about $15 to beat the entire game. I remember being shoulder to shoulder with him blasting Ludwig von Tokkentaker and his cheating firework rockets into a blimp propeller. Good times. Also, the soundtrack is amazing. It's becoming rarer and rarer to find a working Carnevil cabinet these days, ever since Midway's bankruptcy and subsequent acquisition by WB. I wish they'd remaster this game for modern consoles or even PC. This would look amazing in VR, don't you think?
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Here's a link to a great fansite dedicated to the game!

I also remember Stacker, that game was completely bogus. It was 100% rigged, I can guarantee you that. But it was still fun competing against fellow party members, to see who could get the closest to the top. Always go for the major prize, only pansies settle for the minor prizes. They used to have the worst prizes for the minor section too, you could get that stuff at the dollar store. Has anyone here ever beaten the illustrious Stacker machine?
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Finally, how could I talk about arcades without talking about the biggest draw (for me): the animatronic band? There was always one. Of course, being a zoomer, the only band I ever saw was Munch's Make Believe Band. Surprisingly, the location closest to me used the Rock-a-fire reskins that CEC's Concept Unification protocol installed. They were pretty well-kept too, I don't remember them ever breaking down or being closed for maintenance purposes. Then again, that could just be my rose-tinted glasses speaking. Usually, older bots like the Rock-a-fire reskins would have been replaced by the Mijjin models or the Studio C show. Unfortunately, it was not to last. In the summer of 2016, they sold the bots to collectors in order to make room for that God-forsaken dance floor. Who thought that this was a good idea? I'm kind of glad that they're going under after that.
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Notice all the empty seats on the right? Talk about a downgrade.

Well, that's all the arcade memories I have for you. But, I wouldn't have made this thread if I was only interested in my arcade memories. How was your experience at the arcade? Share any stories you have.
 

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VaporQuake

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I remember my 10 birthday (Yay double digits!) my parents allowed me to take some friends to a laser tag arena. The place was huge, and matches were like 20 minutes or more. but while we waited there was a whole section (like half of the lobby) dedicated to arcade games. I remember playing house of the dead any time I could while waiting for the next round to start. good times.
 
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VHSMARONITE

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I remember my 10 birthday (Yay double digits!) my parents allowed me to take some friends to a laser tag arena. The place was huge, and matches were like 20 minutes or more. but while we waited there was a whole section (like half of the lobby) dedicated to arcade games. I remember playing house of the dead any time I could while waiting for the next round to start. good times.
I loved House of the Dead. I hope that remake is good!
 
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brentw

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Arcades are heaven to me.

My earliest memories are of walking though an arcade at the mall and one of the most special places in my childhood Showbiz Pizza.
That's right, I got to see the original Rock-afire Explosion. And I loved it.
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Sadly they shut down when I was still pretty young.
We got to go to a Chuck‐E‐Cheese in another city a couple times later but it wasn't the same.
 
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Chen

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I'll chime in two stories, though they aren't all that interesting maybe.

First, when I went to Korea a few years back I was amazed at how living the arcade scene is. If nowadays arcade are mostly kids, over there I've seen adults wearing suits beating it out on Taiko drums, highschool girls on some machines, older women in the karaoke booth. It was magical really. This was before Tekken 7 came out to console and I was fairly hyped for it at the time, and then bam out of the corner of my eye I'm seeing a Tekken 7 machine. Obviously I had to get some coins and play. Gaming on an arcade is always more fun than at home with the huge screen, the stick and the sound blasting at ya.
And I'm playing by myself for a while before someone challenged me on the machine in front of me. This caught me by surprise but the dude was good at this game I only managed to beat him twice.

Didn't see his face or talk to him, but in my heart we're friends till this day.

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Second story was when I was younger (I think I was six), I went to a small arcade that was inside this hotel my family was in. Some dude with his kid found a way to get free games out of a Super Hang-on machine by giving the coin case a small kick and he was showing it off to all the kids over there, me included. So without thinking too much I join in and get a few races in. Meanwhile the owner of the machines came around and the dad showing everybody the trick split. As soon as the owner sees me kicking the machine he picks me up and throws me away from the machine in panic. Memory might be exaggerating but that's how I remember it.
After that my mom had an angry talk with him and he came to apologize, even gave me free games for the rest of the holiday lol so I had a blast for the rest of the vacation
 
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xX.majin_TwEeN.Xx

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Back in like 1998 I was playing the Star Wars arcade game where you shoot ships and stuff, and some other kid walked up and yelled "this is my arcade! Get out of here!" and I was so intimidated that I hopped off and ran away and I haven't played it since.
 
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Kaputski

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I think my interest for vaporwave has always been related to my love of arcade culture, and the nostalgia that comes with it. I'm 28 now and really into fighting games (mainly 90's Capcom and SNK games), i used to travel a bit to tournaments and get my ass kicked before covid. I only knew the end of the arcade era (early 2000's) but these times were so great, and it saddens me to see that it almost completely vanished in Europe. Thanks to the fighting game community and their dedication, i get to play old games "competitively" and share great moments with friends/strangers, one weekend at a time.
 
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Mint Jam

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when I was in elementary school I went to a birthday's party at a place where they had some arcades and there was one with Kirby's Adventure, it was the first time I played a kirby game and I spent all the afternoon playing and actually finished it
 
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brentw

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when I was in elementary school I went to a birthday's party at a place where they had some arcades and there was one with Kirby's Adventure, it was the first time I played a kirby game and I spent all the afternoon playing and actually finished it
I had no idea there were Kirby's Adventure arcade machines.
 
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punishedgnome

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I am 38 and I can remember when arcades were basically everywhere. Airports, malls, ferries, campgrounds, bowling alleys.

In the 90s, my parents used to take my sister an I on a lot of RV trips. These campgrounds used to have all kinds of stuff to keep your kids distracted while your got drunk with your friends. There was usually a takeout with and ice cream parlor, a miniature golf course, a pool or a beach and of course, all the campgrounds used to have a little 20x10 plywood shack with a half a dozen or so arcade machines from the 1980s and a pool table in them. You parents would give you $10 or $20 for the day and get on the beer with their buddies.

My favourite arcade was in a park owned by a Shriners chapter. They had a three player game called Xenophobe:
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It's the only place I ever played it. I rented for NES, but of course it wasn't the same experience.

My mother also used to get our groceries at a store in a small mall with an arcade. She'd often give me a dollar to go to the arcade while she got the groceries. Keep in mind this is when it was still 25 cents a play, so this was good for a good 20-30 minutes of fun. I would usually play WWF Wrestlefest, my all time favourite arcade game. Other favourites there were GiJoe, Xmen and The Simpsons. There was a guy who used to work there changing up money for quarters with one of those little coin changer belts. He was always playing games and you had to wait for him to finish up before he'd change stuff up for you. I beat him at Soul Edge when it was brand new and he got pissy.

I also remember Stacker, that game was completely bogus. It was 100% rigged, I can guarantee you that. But it was still fun competing against fellow party members, to see who could get the closest to the top. Always go for the major prize, only pansies settle for the minor prizes. They used to have the worst prizes for the minor section too, you could get that stuff at the dollar store. Has anyone here ever beaten the illustrious Stacker machine?
It is possible. I beat the stacker machine at a local arcade once and won some racing game for PS3 I didn't want. I traded it for store credit at Gamestop.
 
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In the 90s, when I was 10 or 11, we lived in Houston, TX for a year or so. My mom dated a guy who had a small construction company that was doing work for a new mega-arcade called Exhilirama that was located in a nearby mall. From the get go, he was awesome. Single dad, had kids of his own and they were awesome too. Anyway, after a few months, he offered to take us up to the arcade with him. It was Summer, my brother and I were out of school, and my mom was working overtime like crazy, so she said Hell Yes and we would get a chance to go up there from time to time, and it was one of the best Summer's ever. Being in an arcade with no crowds, just workers making noise all day. We'd get to play video games, run around in the playground, no waiting, jump over to the food court and grab some pizza and a coke, go back and play some more games. The place was huge and we had never seen anything like it (we didn't know about Dave & Busters and similar). Amazing.

Here's the exact arcade:


View: https://youtu.be/Ga_658FkhVE



That was the coolest arcade memory, but there are others. The one we went to most often was at Speedy's Fast Track which had a massive arcade attached to a go-kart track. That place was the best. Not much to be said. It was just an awesome arcade that was cheap by comparison to the arcades at the movie theater, and the go karts were badass. I felt so cool because I was tall for my age and got to ride them and my brother had to watch from the sidelines, crying his eyes out. Then there were all the hotties hanging out. Good times.

Looks like it's still there:


They've expanded a lot. The arcade looks about the right size, all those games cramped in, going ass to ass with the person playing a machine on the other side of the row. No laser tag or mini golf back then.

Houston was a cool city. Glad I spent some time there.
 
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Jessica3cho

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The heat of the bright sun beats down on your neck like an ever-watchful parental eye in the sky, even as a gentle, cool wind blows and your junior league baseball cap sits the wrong direction atop your head in an attempt to prevent sunburn. You gently glide along on your skateboard, the rough asphalt of your small town's roads making your legs feel like Jell-O, your buddy's legs on his Razor scooter probably having an easier time than you. You crack open the fresh bottle of Mountain Dew Livewire. You'd heard of Cod Red, but your buddy showed you a strange orange Mountain Dew you'd never heard of and tried to convince you it was the best damn soda you'd ever drink. The cold fizz hits your throat. He's right, it's pretty damn good. You ride up to a non-descript building, worn out grays trimming the worn-out browns of the slightly industrial one-story commercial building. It looks right at home nestled between the local Teriyaki joint and the abandoned crack house.

Luke-warm air blows across you as the bell-jingle of the door opening catches your ears. Its muggy, but the temperature drop feels good for now. A lone man stands behind a desk reading what looks to be an old Nintendo magazine. It's before your time. He ignores you as you tread across the blue-gray carpet. There are no windows aside from the two store-front style doors, the florescent lights emit a low hum that bothers you, but neither the dimness nor the hum are an issue. Brightly lit screens emitting raucous 8-bit and poorly compressed Japanese songs fill your eyes and ears as you and your buddy prop up your rides against Street Fighter II.

It's not a lot. It's more like a community center. Hardly. 3 wood tables, plastic folding chairs, and a defunct pool table hardly constitute any sort of focal point for a community. That's not why you're here though. The 12 large cabinets lining the wall are what call to you. They're probably the only reason this place is still around. It's not much of an Arcade, but you'll get what you can out in the middle of nowhere. The flash of lights enthralls you, the 8-bit music your parents call noise catches your breathe. The thrill of the many adventures you can have in such a compact area send your child brain into a sugar-induced rush of excitement as you drop the quarters into the two individual slots. You pick Chun-li. Your buddy picks Guile. This asshat always chooses the broken characters. He never has any staples, just picks whatever has some insane combo or broken hit frame.

You melt away into the only the only thing that interests you in this town. The one room movie theater gets old quick and the local sheriff keeps his eye on the only good skate spot in town. You're not much of a skater anyways. You'd rather feel the thrill of whooping someone's ass with a super move or blasting zombies with your buddy and a pair of light guns. You even hit up Nascar racing machine now and then. Why does this hole in the wall have these? No idea. The guy running the place probably just has an interest in them. I doubt the machines pay for the overhead.

3 years later the community center shut down and, with it, the arcade cabinets were lost to time.
 
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juicy_ricky

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Was born in 91'....spent a shitload of time and money in the arcade growing up. Best memory I ever had was playing DDR back in middle school. I used to meet up with my friends pretty much every saturday to 'battle' if you will. I was once challenged to a round by some random older guy that came into the arcade, girlfriend in tow. I smoked him so thoroughly and so publicly that I got a kiss on the cheek by the guy's girlfriend. You couldn't tell me SHIT for like six months after that I'm telling you - I felt like a champion
 
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