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What were the arcades like back in 1982-1983?


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#1 Syzygy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 1, 2015 10:48 AM

So y'all probably know by now I'm making a film about arcades that takes place in 1982-1983. But what were the arcades like back then? I'm currently making a characters sheet and wondering what games would suit each character. What was the atmosphere like, and what songs were played? Share some memories!



#2 retrorussell OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 1, 2015 1:28 PM

I never saw arcades this fancy.. there were either the totally unkempt ones (usually hole-in-the-wall in like a strip mall or something) that had no paint on the walls, cigarette-smoky carpets, cigarette-stained control panels, etc.-- or the well-kept ones that smelled of cleaning materials (Windex, carpet shampoo, deodorizer, etc.).  Current pop/rock tunes might blast from a stereo system, token dispensers would often be near the front of the place or there might be multiple ones in the arcade, there might be high-score contest posters or just gaming posters in general, and you might get free tokens for good report cards!



#3 retrorussell OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 1, 2015 1:32 PM

Songs I probably heard in an arcade back then:

CENTERFOLD

PHYSICAL

BILLIE JEAN

MANIAC

SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS

TWILIGHT ZONE

MR. ROBOTO

DON'T YOU WANT ME

SEPARATE WAYS

NO ONE LIKE YOU



#4 retrorussell OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 1, 2015 1:50 PM

More songs:

PHOTOGRAPH- Def Leppard

DOWN UNDER- Men At Work

ONLY TIME WILL TELL- Asia

RIO- Duran Duran

EYE OF THE TIGER- Survivor

I LOVE ROCK & ROLL- Joan Jett

WAITING FOR A GIRL LIKE YOU- Foreigner

SHAKE IT UP- The Cars

PAC MAN FEVER- Buckner & Garcia

OUR LIPS ARE SEALED- The Go-Gos



#5 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 1, 2015 2:27 PM

I found the video to be rather representative of 2 arcades we had in the area. One was a huge sprawling bowling alley complex + arcade. And another was a smaller arcade in a moderately upscale mall. One even had had the videoscreen and for-2 cabaret tables!

 

Otherwise, yes, many were dingy grungy places with carpet that hadn't been vacuumed, no black paint, no neon lights, minimal or no 80's music, unfinished walls.. cigarette smoke and burns, druggies that skipped school for the day.. One positive thing was all the games were brand new, and didn't need too many repairs. And the ones that did seemed like simple button replacements that any idiot could do. Today you need an electronics' degree to whip the numerous failures and degradations into shape - or even replace whole sub-systems with modern equivalents.

 

The video idyllically brings together a lot of good games, it was rare for an arcade to have all those all operational all at once under one roof. You could play all those games in a day by traveling between two or three arcades. (today we have all them in mame emulation!)

 

Some places were thematic in that they focused on a particular age group, like kids, or teens and dance club. Others were for serious players or casual "brady bunch" family outings.



#6 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 1, 2015 6:52 PM

There were 3 places I visited regularly.  2 were mainly videogames, one had about 1/4 pinballs as well as about 8 pool tables.

 

2 of the 3 would have music playing most of the time.  Run to the Hills is by far the song I remember playing the most.  It's pretty atmospheric and fitting to many medium/fast paced games.

 

This was also in the days you could smoke almost anywhere and even though it was mostly under 16s there'd still be plenty of people filling the place up with smoke (as well as us).

Play was by coins, not tokens in any of them and no printed voucher prizes or anything like some arcades have.  Also, no general parlour games at any of them either.

 

There's an arcade chain here and in some overseas countries called Timezone - the 3 regular places of mine were standalone businesses and not part of any bigger operation.  I only ever got to visit probably less than 4 Timezone arcades, all in other cities.

 

There's still a few arcades around here though they're more part of entertainment centres that mainly cater for kids/families and have videogames and pinball as well as parlour/sideshow type games.  I've not really walked into one for years.

 

One sad thing though is that pinball has become so rare, I don't think I've played a real one in about 10 years.



#7 danny_galaga OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 2, 2015 12:22 AM

So y'all probably know by now I'm making a film about arcades that takes place in 1982-1983. But what were the arcades like back then? I'm currently making a characters sheet and wondering what games would suit each character. What was the atmosphere like, and what songs were played? Share some memories!

 

Dingy. Smokey.



#8 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 2, 2015 12:35 AM

More here for your research.

 

http://atariage.com/...rcades-anymore/

http://atariage.com/...back-in-the-day



#9 Syzygy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 2, 2015 3:41 PM

retrorussell, I made a playlist of all the songs you listed.  And I'll play it in my movie.



#10 RJ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 2, 2015 4:02 PM

You're probably safe playing any popular Top 40 pop hits between 79-83. I made an iPod playlist with just songs from 79-85.

Leave out any country & slow songs, of course.

#11 bkrownd OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 12:10 PM

I lived in outer suburbs, where things were usually new and shiny.  On one hand there were arcade chains like Showbiz, Circus and Aladdin's Castle, and on the other hand low-budget independent places operated out of strip malls or other minor shopping centers.  As I remember it these were all well-lit and tidy, and only rarely crowded.  The indies could be really spartan inside - a stripped-down retail space with bare walls and one or two dozen cabinets.  The "dark holes" were generally the tiny game rooms in bowling alleys and bars, with only 3-6 cabinets/pinball.  The independent places often had a mainstream radio station playing. 

 

I actually played a most of my arcade games at local neighborhood options like convenience stores , mini-golf courses, movie theaters, and the like, which had 1-3 games. 


Edited by bkrownd, Mon Aug 3, 2015 12:33 PM.


#12 Turbo-Torch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2015 10:59 PM

During Christmas shopping season of '82, Aladdin's Castle at our mall was so busy there was a waiting line to get in due to fire codes.  As people left, more were let in.  I think the sign out front said the capacity was 115 people.

 

The mall arcades were dimly lit but very clean and family friendly.  No food, drinks or smoking allowed.  We had a huge arcade in town that also had about a dozen pool tables.  It never had that cool arcade feel as it had commercial tile floors, white walls and ceilings all brightly lit.  Music from the jukebox was loud and great and the games were always kept in perfect condition.

 

Then there were the mini arcades in places like Montgomery Ward and Sears.  Usually all black rooms with dim lighting and maybe dozen games at most.  Cool place to hang out if the mall's main arcade was too busy.  Even department stores like K-Mart got in on it too.  If they didn't have the dedicated arcade room, there would at least be a bunch of games near the entrance.

 

Most pizza places had dedicated rooms but Showbiz Pizza was the ultimate as the whole place was like a giant arcade.

The local roller rink was incredible.  Games were placed anywhere they had an open space and the loud music and lighting made it the perfect experience.

 

Don't believe I ever experienced a disgusting dive arcade in the early 80s.  The games were in the $3,000 range and operators protected their investment.

 

By '88 it was Game Over for that magic era.  Mainly the big mall arcades lingered on and by the 90s they were ghost towns featuring crappy fighters, overpriced drivers that were like carnival rides, redemption games and the obligatory beat to hell Galaga and Ms. Pac. 



#13 Syzygy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 7:14 AM

how many of you have played Rolling Thunder in a mall arcade, I know I did!



#14 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 7:32 AM

how many of you have played Rolling Thunder in a mall arcade, I know I did!

 

I didn't. I think the latest arcade game I played when it came out was Arkanoid. I was playing a lot of pinball and still the pre-crash games in the mid to late 80s.



#15 Nutsy Doodleheimer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 9:53 AM

how many of you have played Rolling Thunder in a mall arcade, I know I did!


I couldn't get into Rolling Thunder. Too difficult for my liking and waaaaaay too many cheap hits/deaths.

#16 bkrownd OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 10:32 AM

I'm not familiar with that one, so it probably came after my arcade years were over



#17 Major Havoc 2049 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 12:59 PM

how many of you have played Rolling Thunder in a mall arcade, I know I did!

 

My buddy and I used to skip Sunday School on Sunday's and play Rolling Thunder at the 7-11 about a block away. |:)  :evil:

 

Arcades need to be dark with black lights and neon everywhere.



#18 Syzygy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 1:28 PM

 

My buddy and I used to skip Sunday School on Sunday's and play Rolling Thunder at the 7-11 about a block away. | :)  :evil:

 

Arcades need to be dark with black lights and neon everywhere.

THAT'S HOW WE DO IT

 

(cue the game over screen!)

 

Does anyone remember playing Sea Wolf when it came out?



#19 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 1:58 PM


 

Does anyone remember playing Sea Wolf when it came out?

 

The game was a huge hit when it came out. I remember it well.



#20 bkrownd OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 2:15 PM


Arcades need to be dark with black lights and neon everywhere.

 

Aesthetically, yes.  However, snazzy neon and black lights are a bit more expensive than most arcades were willing to lay out cash for back then, and dim lighting was probably undesirable because it gave more people cover to damage the machines and try to cheat the coinbox.  Most of these places were run on a shoestring.



#21 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 2:19 PM

The arcades I visited had wood paneling



#22 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 3:02 PM

Today's arcades have the machines packed in like sardines. Years ago there was more space.

#23 Major Havoc 2049 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 3:15 PM

Aesthetically, yes.  However, snazzy neon and black lights are a bit more expensive than most arcades were willing to lay out cash for back then, and dim lighting was probably undesirable because it gave more people cover to damage the machines and try to cheat the coinbox.  Most of these places were run on a shoestring.


It didn't take much to make a good arcade if the owner was into it. There was a strip mall arcade near me when I was a kid and all the owner did was tint the windows (one of those strip malls where the store front windows went from floor to ceiling), paint the walls black, a few signs and posters and about 20 games. It helped that there was a good selection of games, one of them being a sit down Star Wars arcade machine and a bunch of Williams classics like Moon Patrol, Joust, Defender, Stargate and Robotron. Great arcade.

#24 Syzygy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 6:07 PM

It didn't take much to make a good arcade if the owner was into it. There was a strip mall arcade near me when I was a kid and all the owner did was tint the windows (one of those strip malls where the store front windows went from floor to ceiling), paint the walls black, a few signs and posters and about 20 games. It helped that there was a good selection of games, one of them being a sit down Star Wars arcade machine and a bunch of Williams classics like Moon Patrol, Joust, Defender, Stargate and Robotron. Great arcade.

And Sinistar, don't forget Sinistar.



#25 TheObscureGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 7, 2015 1:39 PM

I would assume arcade games from 1983 and back, music from 1983 and back, and neon lights 






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