Whatever happened to the great American arcade? Where did the good old days go? That time way back when a quarter had value, it had meaning. That meaning was a credit, a glorious single credit. Back in those days that’s all it cost, one quarter.
In the blink of an eye your lunch money had vanished trying to take down Mr. Bigs Drug Empire. Big head codes and fatalities are a thing of the past, now it’s all memory cards and expensive prizes. I remember when three little letters could make you a neighborhood legend. Not only were your famous within a square mile radius you were a target, you had to be taken out!
With the advancement of home gaming it seems as if those days are lost forever. Sadly the cost to profit ratio of owning and operating a standalone arcade isn’t there. Combine that with the fact that video games of today’s youth are so complex that bringing them into an arcade setting would prove disastrous for profit and patience. Nobody wants’ to slap they’re quarter up to be next while waiting for the guy playing to finish his multi level overly elaborate adventure game of today. Back then it was best of three while everyone huddled around waiting to be next!
Today’s youth have zero interest in those mayhem filled side scrollers of yester year, it’s like handing them a phonebook. They’d look at you like your speaking Greek then inform you to just look it up on your phone! The days when every town and city had at least two arcades are long gone. The days when movie theaters had full rooms with 50 cabinets and 10 pinball tables are just a memory. Those days when every liquor store had at least two games and a pinball machine are gone forever. The days when I could find something worthy of sticking my quarter into are a thing of the past. Somebody please hit me over the head with a bad dudes marquee and tell me I’m dreaming.
By Jason Burum