Now, I started playing games when I was incredibly young. The very first game, like some of you, was the Super Mario Bros./Duckhunt game. I fell in love with gaming right then & there.
More Marios, Tetris, & Kid Icarus were to follow in my early gaming life. I didn't even own an NES for some time; the one I played was my dad's friend's. I played more games, and did eventually get my own NES. I kind of remember that day; wonderful.
I thought the NES was the best thing in the world.
Then, one day, at the laundry mat, I saw something that changed my life.
I walked to it, and just watched. I watched, looked over the joystick and buttons, and something just clicked. I knew what to do.
I didn't do it right away, but instead watched someone else walk up to it & play. I was in awe. I had to try this.
After much begging, I was finally given a couple of quarters. I will never forget that feeling. It was so different from my controller at home, yet somehow the same. I had so much fun, even though I sucked. My mom didn't approve much when she saw what I was playing, so she gave me a couple more quarters for the game next to it.
It wasn't quite the same, but it was somehow still fun. I was hooked.
(I'm not sure I even equated my console games to being the same thing until my parents got me an SNES & I saw my first arcade experience again. My uncle bought me Mortal Kombat.)
So that's where it started. With dirty clothes. It wasn't just the game, it was the experience. I went to the laundry mat every single time afterward. I'd help do the laundry with the promise of quarters in between loads.
I found these wonderful machines other places, too. The movies, the mall; it seemed anywhere fun had to have arcades. I even found them in more obscure places, like Movie Buffs and some pizza joints.
Eventually, I made it to other places that made those places look truly boring.
The Arcade. Nothing but games everywhere. It's like heaven, except for the spending all of your money part. It's like mini-Vegas.
I tried pretty much every game in some arcades. I developed favorites, of course. But whenever I saw a new machine, I had to play it at least once.
The feeling you got in an arcade was similar to what Destructoid is now; a bunch of gamers in the same place doing the same thing & loving it. A community. Sometimes people would gather around one player to watch their epic struggle.
The arcade is also where I first started multiplayer; playing with or against other people of varied ages & skills. There was no skill-matching with arcades. You couldn't see how many achievements the other player had. or how many wins. You either have to play them or stand there & hover over them like a weirdo. I won't lie; I got great satisfaction out of beating older players. Some people didn't want to play me when I was young. I don't know if they though I was wasting my quarters, or whatever. After the we played, their attitude usually changed a little. :)
I'm not sure how much I spent in various arcades, but I know it was a hell of alot.
Especially on my favorites.
Some pics of my faves:
I don't want to post a thousand pics, but you should get the idea. I played so many games. Anything that said "Street Fighter" in the title got some of my change. Same goes with alot of the fighting games; MK, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, etc. Fighting games were, and still are, my favorite genre at the arcade.
To me, Street Fighter defines the arcade. I love me some older school games, but you just can't beat SF. I think I may have played every iteration.
The variety of the arcade is another thing that makes it such a special place.
The sports games that eventually came along were fun, too. NBA Jam, anyone? BOOM-SHAKKA-LAKA! NFL Blitz, some hockey.
Some of the best were the multiplayer button-mashing fests. Gauntlet, The Simpsons game, X-men, TMNT. A pic of maybe my favorite of the bunch.
Of course, you can't walk into an arcade without seeing a racing game. Another great example of multiplayer. The first I ever played was Pole Position. The sit-downs were all kind of fun. The Cruisin' series was a big one; fun but not great. There are some interesting variations on racing;
and the motorcycle games & such. I've even seen a snowmobile game.
I think the shooting games had a big impact on me. I think the Arcade is where alot of gamers got a taste for shooting games. Virtua Cop, Area 51; good times. I've actually tried one of those hunting games; it was almost fun.
Shooting games with guns have been tried on many consoles, and some are pretty fun.
Although much of today's shooters are on Xbox 360, The Wii reminds me most of the Arcade games. Obviously, it's the controls. I should pick up a Wii Zapper.
And who doesn't like to play old-school games? Galaga, Pac-man, so many. ASTEROIDS FTW!
I would even occasionally play air-hockey & foosball.
I don't blog much, because I admittedly suck. I just had to share my feelings about what I think is a big part of our history as gamers.
When I was younger, if I ran out of money I would walk around poking the insert quarter slots. (gaming's guilty pleasures)
If I had my way, there would be more Arcades. (If you love it, change it)
There's two months worth of topics lol
I know some of you get that same feeling when you walk into an Arcade. There's something very romantic about walking around with a pocket full of jingling quarters.
How many of you have three-letter monikers? I would bet alot. If you ever see KWE out there, you know I was probably there. I hope some of my scores still stand. I had some #1s on SF machines, Galaga, Paperboy, MK, and some others. I know I had the #1 spot on 3 different Marvel VS Capcom machines. Part of the fun is coming back & seeing your letters still there. There's of the course the obligated name of ASS on probably any game with high scores ever.
While The Arcade feel has been copied before, I don't think it can be duplicated. You may get that feeling from a single game, but being at the Arcade is just different.
There's still games I haven't played, so I don't think I'll stop trying to find good arcades.
However, It makes me sad that the Arcade seems to going the way of the Dodo. Over the years, I've seen less and less Arcades. What was the last really big hit? Maybe DDR?
I think some of it comes down to the price of some arcades. Some places have just continued to jack the price up. Knock it off. Tokens FTL.
I have just recently become aware of a new nickel arcade not too far from my city. I will indeed be checking out that place. There are some Nickel-cades around, but from what I've seen they don't keep their machines in good repair.
All in all, there's little hope for the Arcade; but I have some of that little bit. If there's anything that looks promising, it's Street Fighter IV. Perhaps by some miracle, this game will resurrect the Arcade from its dusty goings. I think it's great that this won't be coming to consoles 'till 2009. I hope this will sway people to go the arcade more often. (Not only does it give me hope for the arcade, but it looks to be great.)
The Arcade is something I think we should support as gamers.
So to my fellow D-toiders: Take some of that money you were saving for a new game, and find an arcade. Please, stop playing video games, and get up to go play some video games elsewhere.
I promise that if I ever win the lotto, I will open an Arcade where D-toiders play free. I promise
See you at the Arcade.
Long live the quarter.