Thursday, March 30, 2017

Arcades, Part II: Beyond Home

This blog now will be about arcades I went to, whether vacation or other reasons. In the early 2000s, arcades were still a place to go to. A place we stayed at had a handful of games. It had Crusi'n USA, The Simpsons, X-Men, Thunder Blade. There was a police training game. Even one of those NES PlayChoice 10 systems, where I played NES games for the first time since 1994. That was long before getting an actual NES in 2009. We went back there in 2006 and they were gone. A motel had a few arcade games. There was the 1989 Ninja Turtle game and that same police training game.

In the town where we stayed, there was an arcade area, and it was a combination of an arcade and  a fair. There was a target shooting game. Skee ball was in this location. I don't really remember much for the actual games, but they did have The Simpsons and some Sega driving games, mostly Daytona USA.  A couple towns away was an indoor arcade with an outdoor kart racing area. It had some driving games, a couple shooting games. One example was Silent Scope. We haven't been up in that area in a decade, but it wouldn't surprise me if most of that stuff is gone. Arcades are dead everywhere in the world except maybe in Japan. There are exceptions like that place in Illinois called the Galloping Ghost, but the odds of finding something like that is very slim and will require a lot of gas to go to these places if you're not close to them.

My family has a camp area and that's where they spend their vacation time in the summer there. There is a pool, playground type stuff around the vicinity, a place to fish. You can buy stuff, rent films. One thing they have is a little arcade area. It's changed a lot in the last few years and for the worst. Early on it was some racing, a couple other games and maybe a pinball machine. It had at times throughout the years Frogger, X-Men, Revolution X, Cruis'n USA, Outrunners, Die Hard Arcade, a RUSH racing game, a Tekken game and a couple other Sega racing games. I've seen 1942 and 1943 in recent years, but it's become kind of like the generic stuff you see at a mall or place that gives out tickets. I get they are trying to adapt to different things, but they have done a pretty poor job of taking care of the machines. Unfortunately, it's a sign of the times. People are more interested in playing Bingo and getting drunk.

When you're in school, you'll have a trip somewhere if you are in something like with your band for example. I went on a few of these trips and one of these was an indoor skating rink. It also had mini-golf, a water slide, and arcade games. There wasn't much, but it had The Simpsons and Crazy Taxi along with a maybe a few other racing games. One of the trips a couple years later was to a water park, and they had quite a bit of arcade games around the area. It had a RUSH: Alcatraz Edition game, The Simpsons, and X-Men. They also had Frogger, Thunder Blade, and Altered Beast. They had a decent combo of older and newer arcade games. That was one of the better experiences, especially trying to beat the Frogger high score that was seen on Seinfeld and failing miserably. Another park had some arcade stuff, but all I saw was Daytona USA.

A casino that is about 70-80 miles away from where I am has arcade games, but similar to the baseball park I worked at, it has mostly Raw Thrills games. Games like Terminator, Jurassic Park, and one or two others. At one point, it had Time Crisis 2 or 3, a Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga combo machine. It also had some pinball from time to time such as Indiana Jones. There was also a hotel that had I think a laundry area with one or two arcade games around 2000. It was Clutch Hitter, an arcade baseball game from Sega and I remember playing maybe half an inning or a full inning and not wanting to continue putting quarters in.

Going to Disney World when you're a teenager, you will remember a lot of things at around that age frame than you would at 5 years old around that age frame. They had rides, attractions, little stuff that goes on at certain points of the day and evenings. It really was a nice place when going there in 2009 on vacation. The arcade stuff was all around the place but it was a little different. There was a mix of stuff that related to the park and stuff that you would see at an actual arcade. One game I got a chance to try was the original Space Invaders. I knew about it a little bit from a game parody sequence in Futurama. It's tough as nails, I'll give it that. Other games there included Centipede, Millipede, Star Wars Trilogy from Sega, Crazy Taxi, Tekken 6, and  F355 Challenge. Being able to play some of them is an experience that can never be replicated.

Then there's PAX East, which I'll end the blog with this. Going there for two years in 2011 and 2012, it was a nice place. Some of the food was expensive, but overall, a good place. It covered a lot of stuff was gaming, Lots of consoles from Atari up until at the time the original Xbox were in one room. Modern systems were in another. The same is said for PC gaming. Then there is the arcade room. If you grew up in the 80s during the big arcade boom (I didn't. By the time I was 8 years old arcades were on its deathbed and dying very quickly), this would be a major nostalgia overload. They had Dragon's Lair playing on a projector. A lot of Atari games like Food Fight. Some of the Nintendo games like Donkey Kong and Punch-Out!! were represented. A number of Pac-Man franchise machines saw a bit of love. Racing games like Turbo were a lot of fun. They tried to cover all of the big name games and the convention did an excellent job of bringing those titles that were enjoyed by many. It would have been nice if 90s games were represented. Stuff like Turtles in Time, Mortal Kombat, and some other arcade. Still though, they did well.

That's it for arcade experiences. Maybe sometime down the road, I'll talk about the experience of playing older games at PAX and what they have you do. In the mean time, check out the Part I blog of arcades. I hope it brings back memories for some people of their arcade experiences.

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