Moments after being handed my first set of car keys, I began a ritual that would be
repeated multiple times each week for nearly a decade now. I’d grab my cup full of tokens,
the latest Super Eurobeat release (it being the style at the time) and proceed to tear
through the windy hillside road that exits Livermore, kick the Nissan over four lanes and
blaze down the freeway. Thirty-five miles and forty minutes later, I’d find myself at
Sunnyvale Golfland: the arcade mecca of Northern California.
I’d like to think that like most good anti-social gamers, I spent the majority of my childhood
in an arcade, but talking to a lot of folks I know within the industry, that doesn’t seem to be
the case. When I speak of arcades now, in the present tense, I get confused stares and
“There are still arcades?”
The arcade industry, if we can still call it one, is hurting. No doubt about it. All the
advantages that kept us coming to them up until the 90’s are gone, their technological edge
having withered. For the young gamers of today, there seems to be little, if any point to
venture into one of these dungeons of videogames and that’s a shame. Ten years from now
there may not even be any arcades to cry for.
While putting together my current feature,
No Country for Old Arcades,
two arcades were shut down across two different states. If not now, we’ll never have a
chance to tell their stories.
From now until whenever I’m actually stopped, I’ll be traveling around the country in search
for the last great arcades in America. Interviewing the operators, talking with the players
and attempting to give a voice to a piece of our culture that is slowly and very surely,
If you have some spots in mind, I’m all ears. I have some truly incredible folks
already lending me a hand such as Eddie from
Bemanistyle and Seth from
Capcom, but any input is good input. Already this
feature is starting to gain a life of its own and snowballing into something truly special.
It's cold, grey and really ****ty in general. Winter is here and to me that only means one thing.
Fiona Apple. And lots of it.
Speaking of feeling cold, grey and ****ty in general, how about that Duke Nukem Forever trailer, eh? I'm with Tiff on this one, but my fascination with this game will never end! It even owes me five bucks! Back in the 90's, I walked into my local Software Etc and put down a pre-order for what was sure to be the hit of the holiday season, Duke Nukem Forever.
Yes, I had to go to Software Etc, which is what they called GameStop in those days, to pre-order the game. So I tied a Pocket Pikachu to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to pre-order the game it cost $5 dollars, and in those days, $5 dollar bills had pictures of bumblebees on them! Now where were we? Oh ya.. The important thing was that I had a Pocket Pikachu on my belt.
Three or four years later, that Software Etc closed down and with it, my bumblebee money. The moral of the story is to not live in the days prior to the Internet. You'll lose all your bumblebees.
What's more shameful than hanging out with yourself on a Saturday night while playing
guitar and vocals at the same time in Rock Band? Having not just one of your instruments
fail upon starting, but two instruments find their way to an early grave. Sweet jesus!
So here I was, locked up in the house and hyped up on Vitamin Water, when I felt the
sudden urge to rock. Maybe it was knowing that I could be in the city right now watching
some local punk rock, or the Flight of the Conchords I was watching on YouTube, but I
wanted to get up and do something ridiculous.
I push the drums aside and make way for the microphone stand (LOL). I strap on the
guitar, pick "Little Sister" by Queens of the Stone Age (Expert guitar, Medium Vocals even!)
and I get about ten notes in before I realize that the strumbar on my guitar has died.
So I pause, fiddle with it for a few moments before trying again. Upon pausing the game, a
warning pops up. The controller that's in charge of my microphone has run out of battery.
Why does Rock Band hate me so much?
In related news, I swung by EA's campus earlier this week to play the game on PS2. The
word is out on the (lack of) features, but damn does their setup always seem to impress
I shall retire to bed with a wired controller, a bottle of something and my second
playthrough of Mass Effect. I'd kill for a Wrex plushie.
Do you enjoy Bubble Bobble? Do you feel as though you possess what the kids refer to as, "mad skills?" Would you like to receive a prize for said skills? Splendid! Because you'll have until midnight tonight (EST) to prove yourself in the first ever GameTap leaderboard challenge!
The rules are simple and you don't have to be a subscriber. You just have to sign up, download the client and play you some Bubble Bobble, for free. So go compete and claim honor in the name of Destructoid! That way I could interview you and ask, "How did you do it?"
And you could respond, "Cocks."
Tomorrow: Rock Band. My house has yet to claim a band name, but we're down to the finalists. Some of the raunchy ones got cut, but I'll be sure to clue you in come decision time and pass on the dirtier ones ;)