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Do Arcades Even Exist Anymore?

posted on November 26th, 2006 by golden jew

Just got done with a vacation with the family on the world’s largest cruise ship, the Freedom of the Seas (Royal Caribbean). Why am I telling you this? Well, first, to make you jealous of my amazing Golden Jew lifestyle. But second, because cruise boats are one of the last places you’ll find an arcade.

Arcades–remember those? I certainly do. They were the ultimate destination growing up, at least for me. I remember begging my parents to give me quarters to go play at the mall arcade. I remember the glee of the giant arcades at the Santa Cruz boardwalk in California. Arcades have always been special to me–not only as a gamer, but my father’s cousin used to run one of the most well known arcades in New York City–the Broadway Arcade. It was later closed when their lease was up, to be replaced by Gold’s Gym. The management refused to renew their lease, they felt the clientele of a Gold’s (steroid users and anorexic chicks) was preferable to idle teenagers and deadbeat 20somethings.

Anyway, the Cruise Ship is brand new, and my brother (the MIA Horatio) and I went in eagerly hoping for some good shooter games. House of the Dead 4 was there, as well as Ghost Squad (with tragically broken guns–when you do find a good game, it’s 50/50 it’ll actually work). The House of the Dead machine later broke, ruining our quest for S rank. There were some other various shooting games, but nothing that was new or we hadn’t beaten. Of course there was a DDR machine, but it was one of the weird diagonal ones, knocking Horatio out of business. Really the only machines that are unique in an arcade that can’t be duplicated at home are the games involving a dance pad or a weapon.

Besides cruise ships, casinos, and boardwalks–does anyone else know where you can still find an arcade (and no, movie theater crappy arcades don’t count, unless they have a really nice setup)? When was the last time you went to one? Do you yearn for them as you did in the past or have you moved on?

12 Comments

  1. Dan said on November 26, 2006:

    I can honestly say that in my local mall, there is an arcade. It is terrible to be sure, filled almost entirely with really old games and kiddie rides. I would almost never go in there expect…It is one of the last places I know where I can find a duel screen "X-Men" arcade game. I still play it regularly. Often, I like to go in there while I am home with a few of my friends so together, we can "kill" X-men, beating the whole game for under five dollars. It is worth it just to hear magento say, "X-men, welcome to DIE!" 

  2. Zinco said on November 26, 2006:

    I AM MAGNETO, MASTER OF MAGNET.There are maybe two decent mall arcades in my area. Maybe only one of them is decent, I can’t remember. I think arcades probably started dying out around the time the machines started needed two quarters instead of one. I just remember first seeing the price of 50 cents, thinking "wow, that’s twice as expensive, no way I’m playing that" and then observing it spread to all the other machines.Oh well.

  3. christian said on November 26, 2006:

    I went on a Carnival Cruise about 5 years back that had a decent arcade on it.  Soul Calibur, HoTD2, and two Star Wars Trilogy machines, one having the big screen and the seat, the other a regular cabinet (that cost much less).  Other than that, no arcades near me at all.  There was one shop in the Towson mall that sold equipment for game rooms that had a small arcade along with it, but aside from the DDR Machine and a Marvel VS Capcom 2 cabinet it was worthless.On a plus note, my brother and I found an Alien VS Predator cab in my local run down K-Mart.  I’ll be writing about this one when we can go back during Christmas break and beat it. 

  4. Matt said on November 26, 2006:

    I had an arcade in my mall a few years ago, but sadly, it went out of business. I’ve found some arcade machines at bowling alleys, Wal-marts, and hotels. I remember going down to a hotel in Orlando, Florida and finding the Mecca of all arcade machines: The Simpsons Arcade game. We went to Universal Studios twice that vacation, but the rest of the time, I was down in that arcade room playing Simpsons. I basically stopped playing arcades when they started to go over the $1 mark. And all the games that were 25/50 cents were horrible. And yes, the X-men arcade game was uber-cool. I played that game like crazy at my local video rental store with my friends one summer.

  5. golden jew said on November 26, 2006:

    Are we talking about the x-men game that could go up to 6 or 8 players?  I remember on my birthday one year going to an arcade as part of my party, and being psyched we could all play and have massive carnage.  If I recall someone had to be the "gay" one and play as jubilee or rogue or whoever the chick was that wasn’t storm.Simpsons was another awesome one.  The dual attacks were awesome.  

  6. Tony said on November 27, 2006:

    Suprisingly, I’ve found quite a few good cabinet games in crappy bowling alleys.  There’s one in Silver Spring with one of the X-Men split-screens and even the Aerosmith "Revolution" shooter (with working guns!).  I’ve also seen an LA Guns, Simpsons, a number of 1st gen Soul Caliber machines and a whole bunch of Galaga’s, Centipede’s and Street Fighter’s scattered around northern VA alleys.  Most of the machines are still 25 cents, too (except Soul Caliber).

  7. chris said on November 27, 2006:

    Bowling alleys are usually a good bet, as are "family fun" places (mini golf etc).  Japan is also a nice bastion of arcade goodness (although obviously less accessible), particularly fighting, rhythm and Gundam games.  They even have weird MMORPGesque things and cards to save your games on are common.

  8. Stefan said on November 27, 2006:

    Somewhere near dewey beach is a little arcade with an old-school vector asteroids machine, flashing my initials as the top score (or at least it was summer before last, when I last played it – and I was top by a good margin)As much as it seems counterintuitive, that old vector machine is the best example I can bring to mind of what drew people to arcades – it was an experience I couldn’t get at home. 

  9. Akai said on November 27, 2006:

    Arcades are farily popular in Japan still, but somewhat on the decline.  At least where I am living, not much decent arcades anymore.  Dave and Buster seems like a good idea to revive the arcade scene, but the games are ridiculously expensive.

  10. Christian said on November 27, 2006:

    Also, does Dave and Busters actually have some decent fighters/shooters/etc. or is it mostly just big fancy racing game cabinets?  Variety is key to a good arcade, but if any exist these days, they often consist of only big, $2.00/game machines

  11. DeeMer said on November 28, 2006:

    There’s a Dave and Buster’s down in Pittsburgh that I’ve been to a few times.  They actually had quite a large collection; All of the Houses of the Dead and other gun games, Star Wars Trilogy, some fighters like Tekken, a Capcom multi Arcade that contain many, many games like Street Fighter, Megaman Power Up, 1942, Ghosts n Goblins, etc.  They even had a Donkey Kong/Dk Jr/Mario Bros cabinet.  I can’t really speak for the prices because I didn’t buy their points/card system, I just bummed of some of my friends. 

  12. Matt said on November 29, 2006:

    Dave and Busters is a pretty cool place. I love how they make it so you can sit down on stools and play a game, even when you have a mixed drink in your hand. Very nice setup.

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