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Aladdin's Castle arcade chain


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#51 schuwalker OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:37 PM

We had an Aladdin's Castle in the Hawthorn Shopping Center (Vernon Hills Mall) growing up. Truly kick ass times. It was a large room, in the corner of one of the entrances. To the left of it was a Kay*Bee and to the left of that was a nice sit-down Arby's where we'd get Black Cow's and roast beef sandwiches for the rare treat of eating out. Directly across from Aladdin's Castle was a Musicland music store and to the right of that, a Baskin Robbins. So... just in this one end of our beloved mall (at the time) was a quintet of unparalleled awesomeness for a teen growing up.

Tucked away upstairs, behind the mens clothing section, even our Sears store had a mini arcade! Kind of a dingy/dark/scuzzy little place, but fun all the same.

Anyway, in my 20's, I found myself actually working at that Sears. The arcade was long gone, but Aladdin's Castle was still there and I'd sneak away and play such awesome games as Sega's Virtua Racing - which was totally hot. Best, most visually and audibly stunning arcade racer bar none at the time. Gottlieb's Rescue 911 pinball was another fav as was the Jurassic Park pin.

If my memory serves by the mid 90's though, Aladdin's Castle was *starting* to align itself more with a much younger crowd. I remember valuable floor space being taken up by a couple of picnic type benches that were cordoned off by those dividers like you'd see in a movie theater so they could host parties for the real little kids. Not exactly the type of environment someone in their late teens or twenties wanted to hang around in. Which may have been fine, because again, at that time, games were changing or perhaps I was becoming less and less interested in gaming once again. Seemed like all there was for a while were fighting games too. Gone was the ingenuity and variety of the stuff I had grown up with and fighting games just seemed trashy to me. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Street Fighter II to this day, but all the spinoffs, etc., just got ridiculous after a while.

We also had another Aladdin's Castle in another kick ass mall at the time in Waukegan, called Lakehurst Mall. Another incredibly magical place, that of course, is gone today. In many ways Lakehurst was superior to Hawthorn. Instead of a Sears, we had a Montgomery Ward (which I also sold electronics at - lol!)... and we also had an Electronics Boutique so I had an outlet for Amiga stuff too. But back to Aladdin's Castle... it was fun getting away from Ward's to whip some squid's ass (Naval base was nearby, and the booters would often shop in the mall) at the Bally Gameshow pinball machine. lol BTW: you could smoke in these places back in the day. I didn't smoke, but was never really bothered by it much. Was just part of the atmosphere was all.




I keep forgetting you were a denizen of Northern Il. I moved to the northern burbs (Arlington Heights) in the early 2,000's. I do remember an arcade in Randhurst Mall - it was in decline by the time I got there. But, did Woodfield Mall ever have an arcade???

#52 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:53 PM

I do remember an arcade in Randhurst Mall - it was in decline by the time I got there. But, did Woodfield Mall ever have an arcade???

I moved to Wheeling in the early 90's, but I'm not sure about Woodfield having an arcade. It must have back then. Strangely (or not), I never really cared for Woodfield for whatever reason. Still don't. Even when I lived in Wheeling, I'd still go to Hawthorn or maybe Northbrook Court. That was a very cool mall too. I remember Randhurst... nice mall as well.

Over by Rockford, Machesney Park Mall was one of the last of the greatest old school malls around. That and Beloit's. Both are nearly empty now. It's soooo sad to think about the difference in times that way.

#53 schuwalker OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:59 PM

The two A.C. chains I rememeber the most both were in malls...

1)Spring Hill Mall (Dundee,Il.)- I would say this had to be around '82ish or so when I first encountered a Taito Front Line and Zookeeper - both I remember brand new.
I also recall seeing a Paperboy, I-Robot, ROTJ, EDOT, Journey, Two Tigers, Dragon's Lair, Marble Madness, 720, Gauntlet , Three Stooges to name a few...

I also recall seeing The *Bally* logo in the chain name in this particular arcade... RIP '98 or '99

2)St. Charles Mall (St.Charles). This was in the jamma time frame - mostly the late '80s. This is the one I first encountered Double Dragon - Wow... the lines of people waiting in line for this! Also recall playing APB, 720, Gladiator, Cadash, Ghouls n Ghosts, Strider, Karnov, Alien Syndrome, Operation Wolf to name a few..

RIP '91 or '92

#54 DaveD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:57 AM

Years ago, there was a nice Aladdin's Castle at some Mall in Milwaukee, WI. The arcade is long gone, not eeven sure if the mall exists anymore... I also have a token or two yet.


I know this is an old post but thought I'd post what I know.

There where a few Aladdin's Castles in Milwaukee back in the day. One was in Southridge mall. I recall they were in a smaller location then later moved to a larger store in the mall and nearer the McDonald's/Arby's. In later years this may have been renamed Time-Out.

I think there was also an Aladdin's Castle in Brookfield Square that later turned into a Time-Out. There may have been locations in the other malls also including Capital Court and Northridge.

Finally there was an Aladdin's castle that moved into the old Go Banana's location on S. 76th St. This turned into AC sometime around '84/'85 I think and remained at that location until about 10 years ago I think.

#55 retrorussell OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:59 PM

Visited my mom when she lived in Vancouver, WA on the weekends back in the early/mid 80s. Rather good sized two level mall across HWY 217 from her with Aladdin's Castle on the 2nd floor. I loved the hell out of Kung Fu Master when I first saw it there. I think you got 6 tokens for a buck.

#56 cparsley OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:21 PM

Wierd, our AC has been swapped out in favor of one called "TILT" -- Wierd considering there isn't a bloody pinball machine in the place!

#57 racerx ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:14 PM

We also had another Aladdin's Castle in another kick ass mall at the time in Waukegan, called Lakehurst Mall. Another incredibly magical place, that of course, is gone today. In many ways Lakehurst was superior to Hawthorn. Instead of a Sears, we had a Montgomery Ward (which I also sold electronics at - lol!)... and we also had an Electronics Boutique so I had an outlet for Amiga stuff too. But back to Aladdin's Castle... it was fun getting away from Ward's to whip some squid's ass (Naval base was nearby, and the booters would often shop in the mall) at the Bally Gameshow pinball machine. lol BTW: you could smoke in these places back in the day. I didn't smoke, but was never really bothered by it much. Was just part of the atmosphere was all.


Ah, Lakehurst. God, how I miss that mall. There's a super Walmart on that hallowed ground these days.

I spent many, many quality hours in that Aladdin's Castle while my folks shopped. Hot Sam's was right next door and in the really early years Orange Julius was just across the way. Everything a nine-year-old needed in life.




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