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???