July 6, 2018
One of my favorite parts of Terminator 2 is the part where John Connor and his friend are hanging out at the arcade. I love the vibe. It's obviously the cool place for the teenagers to hang out, plus it has a mix of classic hits, and cutting edge games. Sadly, in the movie the fun is short-lived, as the terminator ruins everything. Arcades were dying out as I grew up, and I never got to enjoy them like John Connor did, as the "cool" place to hang out. But I still loved going, and had some favorite games. This is a list of my favorite arcades.
Idaho State University Student Union Arcade
The arcade at the SUB was awesome. It was right next to the bowling alley and had tons of games. Shooters, pinball, racing, everything. This was the main arcade in town and it was always a great time. Usually I was there with a birthday party, and had to wisely choose games with my limited number of quarters. I usually ended up going with "The Lost World Jurassic Park Pinball", a game of "Asteroids", and finished off with some two player "Area 41"-blasting some aliens with a friend. The games here were truly all about fun. There was no winning tickets to get stupid prizes. You played for fun. Eventually they got a "stacker" machine--basically gambling for kids. This machine is clearly a scam.
The opposite end of the spectrum from the SUB arcade, Aladdin's Castle was all about winning tickets. The arcade was in our mall. Usually we walked past without going in, but my dad would sometimes take us in, usually to play ski-ball, one of my favorites. By the end of our games, we would end up with enough tickets to get a "spider-ring". It was a fun arcade, but sadly closed, along with most of the other cool stores at the mall.
Random Mall Arcade in Temple, Texas
This arcade was your average mall arcade, but it is on the list because my brother, my cousin, and I beat The Simpsons Arcade game in one sitting here, and we got the top three high scores. I chose Lisa, and dominated with her lasso. My dad and aunt dropped us off there (most likely so we wouldn't bug them) and gave us a TON of money, $20 if I remember right, which translates into endless arcade tokens. It was an awesome day, and a great Texas memory.
Fudruckers in College Station, Texas
I don't remember much about this arcade except that it was cooler than the restaurant, and it had DONKEY KONG. I was obsessed with Super Mario at the time, and could hardly believe I was playing the original game starring the pixelated plumber. It was like an interactive museum and I thought it was great.
Giant Sega Arcades in Tokyo
I was an adult when I visited Japan, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the arcades. I couldn't believe they were still popular! Not only that, but they were huge, taking up four or five stories in a building. I didn't really get in to any of the games, I just liked seeing them being popular, it was like Terminator 2 again, hanging out at the cool arcade.
Nickelmania in Murray, Utah
Nickelmania is a confusing place. It has by far the best selection of arcade games I've ever seen. They have everything, Donkey Kong, Soul Caliber 2, X-Men, Asteroids, tons of pinball, and way more. But it also has a lot of "ticket" games, for winning tickets. I am more of an "arcade" guy than a "ticket" guy, but usually I go into Nickelmania with a "ticket" person, so we end up spending a lot of time at the ticket games. Not all are bad, but they aren't even close to as good as the classics. Another confusing part of Nickelmania is the atmosphere. The place is usually packed, but it doesn't have a cool vibe like you would think. No, it is packed with young people on dates. The awkwardness is in the air. I try to ignore them (they tend to stay on the "ticket" games), but you can feel the tension as these young people get to know each other. Despite this, I still like Nickelmania, but it is just so confusing.
My Favorite Arcade Games
- The Simpsons - I love the four player cooperation in the crazy Simpsons world.
- Ski ball - Classic
- Jurassic Park Pinball - Pinball is great on its own, and even better with a dinosaur theme
- Asteroids - I love the vector graphics and challenging gameplay. Plus it is super old, like playing an awesome antique.
- Ms. Pac Man - One of my mom's favorites, and great game. It is fun to have a video game in common to talk about.
- 1942 - I've always liked top-down shooters like this, and 1942 was the best one we had
- Marvel vs Capcom - A cool fighting game with so many great characters to choose from
- Donkey Kong - I always play it when I get the chance, it is still cool seeing where it all started for Mario