Growing Up In Arcades: 1979-1989

The biggest tragedy of the triumph of console gaming is the end of arcades. It’s a point I touched on in my Marvel vs. Capcom 3 review. Nowadays, if you want to play video games in a public place, around strangers, not using handhelds, your options are either preview consoles at the big box retailer or video game shop or Dave and Buster’s. Neither is particularly fun or even close to the actual arcade experience.

I’m talking tons of kids packed into giant buildings filled from wall to wall with coin-operated games of every conceivable genre. Kids who were probably dropped off by mom at 8 PM with a 10 dollar bill or a pocket full of quarters, only to be picked up 2 hours later broke but happy. Kids feeding quarter after quarter into hungry, greedy games like Pac-Man, Frogger, Golden Axe, Space Invaders, Punch-Out!, Pitfall, Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, Dragon Slayer, and by the 90s, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat and Primal Rage. Hell, by the mid-90s peak of Fighting Games, a video arcade was almost like the underage smoking version of fight club where total strangers dueled at the drop of a hat, and enormous crowds gathers behind them to watch.

I’m not saying you kids today are missing out; you couldn’t pry my Xbox out of my cold dead hands. But spent a lot of time in arcades – Hell, I even worked at an arcade for two years in the mid 90s – and I still miss it. If only because the expense of playing in an arcade prevented epic XBLA-style beatdowns from kids who can spend hours and hours and hours and hours practicing at home. Which is where Growing Up In Arcades: 1979-1989 comes in. It’s a group pool on flickr compiling snapshots from the peak era of the video arcade. they’ve already got 116 photos on the stream, and if you have any of your own, now’s as good a time as any to share it.

Luckily for me, I live in Los Angeles. When I need an arcade fix, I can head down to Barcade in Korea Town, where I can play classic costs-a-quarter cabinet games and get boozed up at the same time.

Via Badass Digest.

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