"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Penny Arcade

Over at Kottke, I saw this story by Laura June on the life and death of the American arcade.

Man, this brings back memories. I was nine-years old in 1980 so I remember all these games–Space Invaders, Asteroids, Galaxian, Defender, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong–being a big deal.

Centipede was my favorite.

Check it out.

[Photo Credit: Retronaut]


1 Jon Weisman   ~  Jan 17, 2013 1:35 pm

The movie "War Games" was set in Seattle but the arcade scenes were filmed in my (long-gone) neighborhood arcade on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, CA.


2 thelarmis   ~  Jan 17, 2013 1:40 pm

Phoenix was my fave, Tempest was my brother's. My when i was really little, i loved pinball and had a cool mini-baseball pinball game. i remember having a birthday party - or going to a friends' b-day party - at a cool arcade on long island.

i think some "80's Arcades" exist, sprinkled around the country. nowadays, only game i play is Solitaire on my laptop : )

3 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 17, 2013 1:41 pm

Tempest! That's the other one. I liked the knob-controller thing.

1) Awesome. "Mr. Potato Head. Mr. POTATO HEAD."

4 YankInEugene   ~  Jan 17, 2013 2:08 pm

In our town 80's style arcades are making a comeback. We have three now and they all sell adult beverages as well. One that I went to has video games and pinball machines and the cost is similar to what I paid in the 80's. They also have what I think is called a shufflebowl machine, which is like a skeetball with bowling pins. And you get to play this machine for free. Haven't seen one of those since I lived on the East coast many years ago.

5 thelarmis   ~  Jan 17, 2013 2:21 pm

[4] that sounds "teh" awesome! plus, it's just beautiful in Oregon and you have *incredible* beer there! : )

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 17, 2013 2:42 pm

anybody ever see King of Kong? If not, watch it. Like...right now.

7 TheGreenMan   ~  Jan 17, 2013 4:13 pm

6) King of Kong was the tits!

I never met anyone who was as good at Galaxian as I was. I know they existed. I never had a high score on any machine. But my close circle of friends were incredibly impressed at how well I did at that game.

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Jan 17, 2013 6:09 pm

Haven't checked out the article linked above, but I turned 14 in '80 so I was all over this. Played in my local pizza parlors, arcades, 7-11s, wherever. Alex, you hit all the big names, but left out a major time destroyer for me: Missile Command.
That game owes me hours, and who know how many quarters.

I'm curious about the article because there's an empty supermarket in my neighborhood that was replaced by a brand new supermarket of the same name (go figure). I've been thinking an old school arcade/ game room would be a cool use of the space, or at least a cool waste of the space. Probably tough to turn a profit on arcade games these days, but it would be a fun joint to take my sons to.

9 Sliced Bread   ~  Jan 17, 2013 6:17 pm

4) excellent. I can see a place like that doing very well.

10 Dimelo   ~  Jan 18, 2013 10:21 am

I remember playing hooky and going to the video game "mecca", at least for me, in Time Square. Then the cops would bum-rush the place, trying to get all the truants, and then the fun began...rushing out fire exits, dodging cops. Man I miss those days.

11 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 18, 2013 11:44 am

11) I remember that spot. And also a place on Broadway between 51 and 52nd...

12 edoubletrouble   ~  Jan 18, 2013 12:46 pm

When I first got to the City in '94 I'd pick up NBA basketball games at the video game joint just south of 47th Street on the West side of Times Square. Who's got a picture? It was a great joint. Being an early 70s baby myself growing up in the San Fernando Valley I loved playing Joust, Galga and there was an Olympics one that I played at my local 7-11.

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