Bells, whistles and 8 bit soundtracks fill the air.
Begging for quarters so you can play one more game.
Children running from cabinet to pinball table without a care.
Competing for the high scores just doesn’t feel the same.
Games of skill and challenges ruled the floor.
Graphics and story lines really didn’t matter.
Teaming up with friends to get bigger prizes from the store.
All are gone, those dreams have been shattered.
Skeeball, Pinball and House of the Dead
Whack a mole, Fat Mary and the Crane.
We lock ourselves alone in our game rooms instead.
Choosing isolation and personal consoles instead of the arcade. Gaming will never be the same.
When I talk about arcade gaming with my younger friends and siblings it makes me sad that they never really experienced it. I can go on for hours about playing pinball tables, Skeeball and classic arcade cabinets only to be asked what the graphics were like and what is the point of hitting two buttons to get a high score no one may see.
The arcade was about more then that though. It was a place where your friends would meet up with you and you’d talk and laugh while trying to beat each others’ score or get tickets to trade in for cheap prizes you didn’t really need. The frustration of trying to get huge amounts of tickets for the good prizes and the excitement of landing a ticket jackpot are feelings new gamers don’t get to know. It was a social outing full of playful gamer smack talk and laughter at epic skill fails.
Now a days gamers can play online and talk over the Web if they can afford a headset. Or they can play through a complicated story line with amazing graphics and share their trophies or accomplishments over their Facebook link. Yet this style of gaming has isolated the gamer as they play with people all over the world who they don’t really know and though their friends are online they don’t have any real conversations.
Maybe I am just nostalgic for the old days, but I truly believe gaming technology has made us all loner gamers. I feel we need to teach our children the art of gaming in a social setting. How to see the faces of their competitors and be able to use skill to outwit and out score them. To talk again about life while playing and making real friendships while gaming.
A few arcades still exist and there are amusement attractions like Chuck-e-Cheese, but really the arcade style of gaming has been reduced to comic book stores and Internet cafes holding gaming tournaments or comic con events. These are rare events, but they make me smile when they happen. It gives me hope that the social aspects of gaming won’t go extinct, but will live on in the hearts of the true gamers to be passed down to next generation of gamers to come. We have the responsibility to let them know what the golden days of the arcade was really like.
~ The Incidental Scribe