Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wandery Wednesday: "Arcade"

I woke up this mornings with memories of arcades. No, I didn't watch Wreck-It Ralph last night. But all the same, I've spent the day thinking of two arcade cabinets in particular. My hometown didn't really have arcades, see. I grew up at the tail end of arcades being a thing. Even the local movie theaters only had one or two dingy cabinets, maybe Area 51 or Street Fighter. If you wanted a "real" arcade, you drove an hour or two to Chuck-E-Cheese. (Or was it Freddie Fazbear's? Eh.) And Chuck-E-Cheese had two cabinets that lured me in every time I got to go there. I spent all my tokens on two games in particular. That, and skee-ball, because the attendants didn't care that you could stand right up by the skee-ball targets and just drop the balls into the 10k point hole. Easy way to get some tickets for cheap tat. 

Anyway. First was the Star Wars Trilogy cabinet. The Death Star trench run, the Hoth walker assault, the Endor raid... Dueling Darth Vader... It was great. For kid me, it was just like being in the movies. And the control joystick kicked and jolted just like a lightsaber or a speeder-bike throttle. ...looking at these suckers, they're only a couple thousand dollars... And this is why I'm broke. 

The second game was The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It was one of the rare few cabinets where the whole thing was enclosed, in a jeep-like structure with blinds on the sides. (I'm sure a few people misused that feature.) It was an Area 51-style light gun game loosely based on The Lost World. Once again. So much money wasted in this thing. But it was scarier than Area 51, and it had dinosaurs, and I was a kid in love with dinosaurs. 

I don't know where I'm going with this. I miss arcades, I guess? It's nice to see them making a bit of a resurgence as people my age and older get nostalgic.