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classic arcade memories?


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#1 jd_1138 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 7, 2018 12:41 PM

I remember when the arcade craze was in full swing with Pac-Man Fever, a local malt shop opened up in the small town we were living in.  I think it was a house that they turned into a malt shop/arcade.  It was all new inside though.  Impossibly beautiful older high school "women" worked there.  They seemed a lot older than my ten year old scrawny self.  :)

 

They had a Dig Dug, Frogger, Asteroids Deluxe, Pac-Man (or maybe Ms. Pac-Man), Centipede, Popeye, and a Moon Patrol.  All were brand new games.  Just fresh and awesome.  Perfect controls and screens.

 

Now you walk into a local pizzeria, and you're lucky if they have a busted Narc game with cigarette burns all over.



#2 retrorussell OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 7, 2018 1:40 PM

One of my favorite memories of arcades involved MALIBU GRAN PRIX, the location of which is close to my house (and it was taken down a few years ago).  The family would go about once a month.  We'd do some sort of chore (like collect apples, wash dishes, dust, vacuum, etc.) for the month and get rewarded with a few bucks to spend at MALIBU (which didn't give you a deal on tokens, like 5 or even 6 for a buck at some places) but they did have the best games.  Even before the 80s rolled around my sister and I still enjoyed pinball, Asteroids, Depthcharge, 4 Player Bowling and Gypsy Juggler, and my stepmom would play Stunt Cycle and my dad would play shuffleboard and foosball.  As the 80s came around all the different Pac-Man machines would be lined up together (often with multiples of the same machine) and I got into Crazy Climber and Dig Dug, and also enjoyed the Pac-Man ripoffs Eyes and Thief.

 

All the pizza parlors around me were heavy on the arcade machines.  Rico's Red Lion Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor (now Round Table), Sunshine Pizza Exchange, Shakey's, Pizza Hut, and Godfather's all had machines I remember playing (especially the great Phoenix at Godfather's).

 

A bit later there were nickel arcades springing up around my neighborhood, the best of which were called ELECTRIC CASTLE'S WUNDERLAND.  About 5 bucks got you in the place and all the games were a nickel apiece.  All the great games were there.  I'd go probably once every few weeks.  I love that I have a fantastic memory for where I first saw a specific arcade machine.



#3 mbd30 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:46 AM

I'm most nostalgic for the game area that they always had in the back of pizza parlors such as Pizza Hut. There is something magical about putting a quarter into Shinobi, Rastan, Golden Axe, Star Wars, etc. in the darkness of the back of a fast food pizza place.

 

I grew up in central California and I too remember Malibu Gran Prix.



#4 butterburp OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 9:48 PM

I'm surprised this topic hasn't gotten more love, it's a very rich one! Well then forgive me as I talk to myself a time or three here...

 

Definitely have fond memories of Malibu and the Road Runner theme (yes, the one from Looney Tunes). You could get a party package with hot dogs and popcorn and the like. I think I may have gone on the go-karts once, but the games were the star of the show for me. They had some awesome and pretty rare games over the years, including Space Fury, Food Fight, Space Ace, and Thayer's Quest. It took me forever (and a lot of quarters) to realize I actually had to take the staff when the elves offered it to me. For the longest time I thought they were just making conversation so I ignored them.

 

If I remember correctly, our local Sambo's (when they switched their mascot to a bald guy with glasses) had a completely separate room with quite a few games, at least 20 I think. One of them was Space Odyssey, which I remember reading about in one of those "master the arcade games" books. I popped in my quarter (or token) and was promptly decimated in a matter of seconds. Guess the book didn't work.



#5 7800Lover OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 10:06 PM

There was one I went to at the Eden Mall in Eden, North Carolina in the late 1980s through the early 1990s called Take Ten.  There was another fun one I went to over in Four Seasons Town Centre in Greensboro, North Carolina called 2001.

 

I remember the South Beach Arcade in Staten Island, New York; I visited there in the early 2000s and had fun playing games like Super Pacman and Popeye.



#6 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 8:49 AM

I'm most nostalgic for the game area that they always had in the back of pizza parlors such as Pizza Hut. There is something magical about putting a quarter into Shinobi, Rastan, Golden Axe, Star Wars, etc. in the darkness of the back of a fast food pizza place.

 

I grew up in central California and I too remember Malibu Gran Prix.

 

I can still smell the pizza from the shop that had Pengo when I play Pengo now.    That happened a lot,  Arcade games would remind me of the food of the establishment that had that game.   I guess not just food.   The laundromat near me had Vanguard, so that game still reminds me of the smell of detergent and dryer exhaust :)



#7 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 8:55 AM

I could go on forever with this topic but for now I'll just post one

 

I was at local mall with with my mother in the 70s, and there was a single arcade machine against the wall.   I was fascinated because I had never seen one before.   I don't remember many details of the game, you flew a ship/plane with bombs (Canyon Bomber?).  Soon it was joined by other machines-- Lunar Lander, Space Wars.   I forget what else.   Almost all black and white games at that point.  The Space Wars game fascinated me because it had so many buttons!

 

Eventually the mall had so many games that putting them against the wall wasn't enough.   They built a "shop" to hold them all, and that was my first arcade



#8 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 9:57 AM

I clearly recall seeing and watching the Pong attract mode in a Pizza Hut in California when I was a kid. I remember playing with the paddles and imagined I was playing the game itself. My parents seemed to be content with that.
 

It was in the front of the joint, in a cubbyhole of a sorts. It was also a cocktail table model too.

 

---

I posted this one before in another thread, but I'm sure it's buried, so a re-post could be useful perhaps?

---

 

I went to either a Dispensa's or Aladdin's Castle 1976. Whatever it was named. They had harsh overhead florescent lights. And an unfinished grid work ceiling painted in white. Much of the center area was open space, white speckle-peppered tiled floor. Nondescript, much like Toys 'R' Us of the day.

 

This one was more like a longer hall, about the size of a standard 40-lane alley. One one side they had plenty of Skee-Ball machines, and on the other some horse racing games and plethora of other mechanical games. The uber cool helicopter game, the mechanical Lunar Landing simulator. A baseball game with a real 3" wood bat and players that would pop-up out of slots in the pinball-like playfield. There were few videogames at that time. And the ones they had were B/W. I only vividly recall Sprint2. But they had some Tank and Pong cabinets. A tennis game, and something with a periscope. It was clearly a place for high traffic. And it really looked like a castle. Very much like Dispensa's.

 

I recall Sprint2 because I believe it was the first arcade game I ever played. I may have also played a Pong/Hockey/Tennis combo cocktail at Pizza Hut around the same time. Well one of them was the first game.. But it was fun trying to play Sprint2 when I couldn't reach the pedals and see the screen at the same time. Some of the bigger kids there would hoist me up and step on the gas pedal, and I just spun the wheel around and around like my Sit and Spin. And I'd swear and cuss like a truck driver. Bitch a Bastard, Bitch a Bastard, Bitch a Bastard, till I slobbered. The faster the car went the more I’d squirm and swear. Shit this Shit that. Fuckshit-fuckshit-fuckshit-fuckshit. Impossibly fast like only a kid can do. Made them laugh to high heaven

 

The place was full of druggies and Heroin shooters and smoke was everywhere. Full of those free-love hippies with long hair. But it was cool. It scared my parents though. One time something happened and they scooped me up and ran out and we never returned. I clearly remember smelling weed at the establishment. It was exotic. Custom. Not like the lame white cigarettes sold in vending machines.

 

Since we clearly weren't going back to the only arcade in town, I told my parents I wasn't going to behave no more in school anymore unless they bought me videogames to play at home. They gave me lip about how I had no choice in the matter. I'd show them. I'd teach them! So I went to school and caused trouble enough they had to come collect me. This went on for a week or two. They caved in and got me the mechanical Marx T.V. Tennis game. It was pretty cool. It made a hell of a racket (NPI) with all noise from the motor and the arm hitting the bell. Drove everyone nuts. But I was smart and used that as a bargaining point to get me a real electronic Pong console with real circuits and a proper volume control via the TV set or the console itself. So I ended up with an Indy 500 by Video Action. I taped my pocket calculator to it and my AM radio kit to it and added some random lights. I now had a control panel right out of Mission Control! I was in the SpaceAge!

 

I even conducted circuit-bending on it and blew something out in the process. It was put out for the weekly garbage collection and that was that. I kept the Interton F-4301 chip. We moved. In the new town I got into model rockets heavily and launched them via rubber bands tied to the roof, at first. When they hit the awnings and gutter overhangs I convinced them to get me real rocket engines. And eventually I got a VCS and Apple II. And more electronics. It was now 1979 and soon enough a new obsession with Lunar Lander and modems would begin. And it would carry over into when I got a TRS-80 Pocket Computer. Heck I even remember starting to write a text adventure on it! And that was that..

 

The Aladdin's Castle I experienced in the 70's was completely different than what one might have experienced in the late 80's or early 90's. The one in the 1990's was posh by comparison, air conditioned, quiet, subdued, controlled. Kid friendly. Full of pumped-in Oxygen. Not the Wild West anymore.

 

And I'm pretty sure it was an Aladdin's Castle. It was a stand-alone establishment. I'm just dyin' to open up the family time capsule made in 1985. It's scheduled for 2020. And I know I put a lot of my pictures in there. As a kid I had a joystick in one hand, camera in the other.



#9 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 10:38 AM

I'm surprised this topic hasn't gotten more love, it's a very rich one!

 

I've been on AtariAge for 9 years and I can't get motivated to post the same arcade memories I've already posted years ago.



#10 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 2:55 PM

I'm surprised this topic hasn't gotten more love, it's a very rich one! Well then forgive me as I talk to myself a time or three here...

 

It is a rich topic indeed. However, and this is important, as the people that have been there in the 70's and 80's get old, so do their memories. It all begins to fade. They lose interest, become crabby old farts.

 

And if the memories are still intact, there are likely other things to distract those people from writing about the experiences and documenting it all, things like wider social circles with more personal meaning and connections. Travel. Expansion into new and more fulfilling hobbies. Philanthropy.. and more!

 

Videogames can only hold your interest for so long before they stifle you or you outgrow them. For example, the chipset-trio of the VCS, the 6507-RIOT-TIA, can only swirl in my head for so long before it becomes numbing and stale. I don't care how sophisticated a homebrew title is. It won't help much.

 

And all this stuff, arcades, true-classic 70's-80's systems, it's all pre-nes anyways. The torch is being passed on to the next generation. SNES'ers, X-Box'ers, PS1'ers, and so on it goes. A rolling window.



#11 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 6:03 PM

I lived near a small mall that had an arcade in it called Game Time; it was one of those places that was basically just a long, thin storefront that just had games lined up against each wall. Made it very efficient to just walk through and play your favorites in one pass as you went - play all the ones on one side as you walk down, all those on the other as you walked back. In the back on one side they had about 15 pinball machines, which were still really popular. For a long time I can remember taking my allowance down there every week and spending all of it. I remember it being very crowded most of the times I went there.

 

I didn't really know any better but it at least *seemed* like they got all the big new games, and they had all the staples too. Though once games got super old, it seemed like they'd either lend them out or sell them to the Bradlee's department store or the pharmacy in the same mall, both of which always had a few old games that I think came from the arcade. I used to go to Bradlee's to play Space Invaders sometimes, in the mid 80's. By then it was considered an old game that just took up space in a modern arcade, but I still kinda liked it.

 

There was another mall near me that had a Nathan's hot dog place in it and it had a giant game room. I used to love going there, though I didn't go nearly as often as Game Time because it was further away. But the funny thing is when I moved to Long Island 10 years or so ago, I found out there was a Nathan's near me again and I went there and they *still* had a big game room! This was in like 2008. It was full of both new and classic arcade games. Unfortunately that location closed a few years ago and with it, the game room. They relocated to a new location that's still nearby but it's a bit smaller and does not have a game room. (I still go there to get hot dogs, though!)

 

When I turned 17 and was able to drive, I used to go to yet another mall that was further away specifically to play Hard Drivin'. I remember just being floored by that game at the time. I don't know if there were different versions of it but they had the full sitdown version and I remember it being intensely realistic with the way the shifting, pedals and force feedback wheel felt.

 

That was about at the tail end of my livin' the arcade lifestyle, though. Shortly after I went off to college and only went to arcades off and on as I found them. Game Time closed while I was in college.



#12 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 9, 2018 9:04 AM

I remember how everyone put their quarter on the machines to "reserve their turn".   I never understood why this system worked.  How do you know which quarter is whose?   Seems easy to dispute and for some unscrupulous person to go out of turn or even steal someone's turn completely



#13 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 9, 2018 9:15 AM

How do you know which quarter is whose?  

 

The year and mint.



#14 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 9, 2018 9:47 AM

I remember how everyone put their quarter on the machines to "reserve their turn".   I never understood why this system worked.  How do you know which quarter is whose?   Seems easy to dispute and for some unscrupulous person to go out of turn or even steal someone's turn completely

You know which position is your quarter, e.g. first, second, third. You wouldn't dare touch someone else's quarter.

#15 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 9, 2018 9:51 AM

You know which position is your quarter, e.g. first, second, third. You wouldn't dare touch someone else's quarter.


You know which is your quarter, but they don't know.

What's to stop a guy twice your size claiming it was his? Who's going to stop him

I've never seen this happen though. So I'm amazed the system worked as well as it did.

#16 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed May 9, 2018 10:04 AM

The honor system and by position. It's like sitting down at the dinner table, and touching everything in your immediate area. And if anyone invades that space incomfortableness ensues - and no one knows exactly why. Counting coup developed out of such phenomena.

 

As long as you know your quarter, you simply watch it move down the line. You knew your number in line. And, because, "arcade games", everyone was hyperfocused and knew when something in the line changed.

 

Typically people would snap the quarter against the glass marquee. And everyone updated their status at that point.



#17 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 9, 2018 1:08 PM

I remember it being kind of a faux pas to put your quarter on a machine if somebody else had theirs on it already. Maybe this was just where I lived, I don't know, but I remember people kind of rolling their eyes and muttering back and forth whenever somebody did this, which I don't remember being all that often. I feel like in my area, if you were already playing, then you were allowed to put as many of your own quarters on the machine and reserve as many games as you wanted - so sometimes you'd see 5 or 10 quarters on a machine, but they all belonged to the guy who was already playing as kind of a warning to other players saying "I'm gonna be hogging this machine for a while".

 

I remember you weren't really supposed to ever reserve more than one game in advance (before starting play), because lots of people wanted to play more than one game and you'd quickly run out of room on a machine if multiple people could reserve multiple games. So you were supposed to wait until you were playing to reserve more games. Which meant that if multiple people could reserve in advance, you could never play more than one quarter. So that was the system; only the next guy could reserve in advance, and only after the current player had decided if he was reserving more games. Then you could put your quarter at the end of the line.

 

The couple of times I specifically remember more than one person putting their quarter on a machine in addition to the current player, I also remember the people who had their own quarter on first moving back in to space them out so that it was obvious they weren't all in a row. It was like a supermarket checkout line when they don't have those little dividers. You just make sure there's enough space in between so it's clear there are two separate owners. This was always done kind of passive-aggressively; it wasn't out of politeness, it was to say "you put your quarter too close to mine so now I'm going to move it so everybody knows you don't own all these quarters and I'm actually next - see this inconvenience you've put everyone through?" They always seemed to make a little show out of doing it.

 

Of course none of these were hard and fast rules, and people did break them all the time. They were just a system we'd collectively agreed on. But I do remember arguments occasionally breaking out, and I remember people getting annoyed at *me* sometimes for putting a quarter on a machine while they were playing even when there were no other quarters there.

 

Pity the fool who put his quarter *in front of* the current player's quarters. I saw that happen a couple of times too. Usually those guys just ended up losing their quarters and never playing the game.


Edited by spacecadet, Wed May 9, 2018 1:09 PM.


#18 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 7:59 AM

Where I lived it was if you wanted to play a popular game, you just put your quarter "in line". There were no spacers, no faux pas. Actually I'm not sure the current player could expect multiple plays in a row-- that might have been the faux pas in my area :)

But it was informal, I don't recall anyone ever talking about it or making any rules. But if you slapped your quarter on the machine, everybody just kind of understood what it meant.

#19 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 9:05 AM

I typically coined-up at the start to ensure I had time to play. Especially when I got into one of my legendary Gyruss sessions.



#20 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 12:57 PM

I definitely remember being taught the quarter thing by somebody, not formally of course (none of this was formal), but either my brother or one of his friends just told me the first time we went to an arcade how to do it without pissing people off. The subtleties of it I think people just picked up as they went along and they saw the reactions of other players. But there definitely were unwritten rules, like a lot of stuff involving kids or teenagers. It was like calling "shotgun" in a car; you can't call that until you actually see the car, that's the rule and every teenager knows it. If somebody breaks that rule, there's gonna be a protest, and then it just depends on who the rest of the people in the group are more sympathetic to. (I've been on every side of the shotgun argument.)

 

But kids have these little informal court sessions about a lot of stuff, and the arcade quarter thing was one of those. If somebody broke one of the unwritten rules, sometimes other people would let it slide and sometimes there'd be an argument. Usually somebody would just say something like "you can't do that" and the offender would just say "oh, sorry" and take his quarter back. That's how people usually learned how to do it. Putting your quarter at the wrong end of the line is the one situation where I specifically remember at least one time the guy who was currently playing just taking that quarter and using it for himself, then laughing at the kid whose quarter it was.

 

I also usually put a bunch of quarters up on any machine when I started playing, if I knew it was a machine I wanted to play for a while. I did that instead of buying a bunch of credits in advance both as a courtesy to other people (so they'd see I was going to be there a while) and also just in case I got sick of the game and felt like playing something else.



#21 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 1:25 PM

I recall that my parents used to let my brother and I run around downtown while they took care of whatever errands or appointments they had. Not a lot of parents these days would let a couple kids (8 and 14) spend the whole day in a busy urban core without supervision. 

 

We'd first stop at one two-floor arcade, play Tailgunner and then head over to the main shopping avenue and hit two more arcades (one which was also arranged on two floors and another that was a bit sketchy and on one level). My favorite was the two-floor arcade on the main shopping avenue. It had glass banisters, tons of blue neon, mirrors, and black walls. All three arcades were packed with games and lit by the screens. It was also conveniently close to plenty of fast food, book shops, music shops, and theaters.

 

1980 through the end of 1984 was magic.



#22 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 2:03 PM

I remember it being kind of a faux pas to put your quarter on a machine if somebody else had theirs on it already. Maybe this was just where I lived, I don't know, but I remember people kind of rolling their eyes and muttering back and forth whenever somebody did this, which I don't remember being all that often. I feel like in my area, if you were already playing, then you were allowed to put as many of your own quarters on the machine and reserve as many games as you wanted - so sometimes you'd see 5 or 10 quarters on a machine, but they all belonged to the guy who was already playing as kind of a warning to other players saying "I'm gonna be hogging this machine for a while".

 

I remember you weren't really supposed to ever reserve more than one game in advance (before starting play), because lots of people wanted to play more than one game and you'd quickly run out of room on a machine if multiple people could reserve multiple games. So you were supposed to wait until you were playing to reserve more games. Which meant that if multiple people could reserve in advance, you could never play more than one quarter. So that was the system; only the next guy could reserve in advance, and only after the current player had decided if he was reserving more games. Then you could put your quarter at the end of the line.

 

The couple of times I specifically remember more than one person putting their quarter on a machine in addition to the current player, I also remember the people who had their own quarter on first moving back in to space them out so that it was obvious they weren't all in a row. It was like a supermarket checkout line when they don't have those little dividers. You just make sure there's enough space in between so it's clear there are two separate owners. This was always done kind of passive-aggressively; it wasn't out of politeness, it was to say "you put your quarter too close to mine so now I'm going to move it so everybody knows you don't own all these quarters and I'm actually next - see this inconvenience you've put everyone through?" They always seemed to make a little show out of doing it.

 

Of course none of these were hard and fast rules, and people did break them all the time. They were just a system we'd collectively agreed on. But I do remember arguments occasionally breaking out, and I remember people getting annoyed at *me* sometimes for putting a quarter on a machine while they were playing even when there were no other quarters there.

 

Pity the fool who put his quarter *in front of* the current player's quarters. I saw that happen a couple of times too. Usually those guys just ended up losing their quarters and never playing the game.

 

Wow! In the circuit that I played, they would not allow a person to place multiple quarters on a header. Anyone who tried that would get bumped off the game. You could only start another game if there was no one wanting to get a turn (kind of like a pay phone). Trying to put a quarter in front of someone else's is something that I never saw anyone even consider (for the reason you mentioned). And I definitely recall the snap of the coins against the glass that Keatah mentioned. There was no issue with putting a quarter on a machine that already had a quarter on it though. It actually was pretty amazing how people really did keep track of the sequence; they'd even yell "Hey man, you're up!" at the next person in 'line' if they weren't paying attention when it was their turn.

 

Something I should add to my recollection post is that all of the arcades (including five others that I didn't mention) contained only coin-ops or pinball machines. No redemption or other kinds of games. Just pure arcade video games and pinball. That's another thing I miss. They were more like dark classic-rock labyrinths than the arcades that followed.


Edited by Nebulon, Thu May 10, 2018 2:13 PM.


#23 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 2:37 PM

Something I should add to my recollection post is that all of the arcades (including five others that I didn't mention) contained only coin-ops or pinball machines. No redemption or other kinds of games. Just pure arcade video games and pinball. That's another thing I miss. They were more like dark classic-rock labyrinths than the arcades that followed.


My recollection is that amusement parks and beachside arcades had ticket redemption arcades even back then. Of course those had skee-ball, quarter bulldozers and other such machines. The game/pinball arcades were separate arcades.

#24 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 2:47 PM

One of my local arcades back then had in-house hi-score competitions. Prizes were movie theater tickets, or gift certs to McDonalds, or free play time/tokens. This was toward the late '83-'85 time period.



#25 NE146 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 2:47 PM

I got kicked out of an arcade for doing the 255 lives trick in Mr. Do.. after they unplugged the game on me.

 

I always tell this story so the details are elsewhere.. but thats the jist of it. :P






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