|Where all the cool kids hung out.|
born too late to experience such places. Arcades were great. They were the social hang outs for us nerds and introverts. Instead of being a jocular football player we could be "cyber" athletes of a sort. Of course there were a handful of nerd girls who'd hang out at the arcades so if you weren't too shy you might be able to woo them with your awesome
Arcades were an awesome experience. They were usually under lit in order to make the games and artwork stand out. The sounds was a cacophony of beeps, bloops and the battling music of attract screens. The only modern equivalent I can give is walking in to a Las Vegas casino and listening to the siren songs of the electronic gambling machines. A lot of times there was the steady flow of Top 40 music coming from speakers embedded in the ceilings of these places. You might just make out the tunes of a favorite song above the din of the machines.
Many of these places had food aplenty. The aroma of pretzels, hamburgers, hot dogs and more wafted through machine lit halls of these paradises. Of course the decision you made was "a cheese covered pretzel vs playing more games". More often than naught the food lost out on that decision.
Friendships were formed at these places. You could play someone at Wizard of Wor or Joust and maybe the seeds of life long friendship would have been planted there. There were people who were looked up to such as the high score jockeys who seemed to be able to master any video game they set their minds too. Their were hidden opportunities too such as finding misplaced quarters or tokens laying on the floor behind some machine. These were nice when you had just spent your last quarter but wanted to play a little more Defender.
Today it's different now. Today sitting on the couch with an headphone set on has replaced the social aspect of arcades. Little kids who are screened behind a shield of anonymity shout obscenities and insults worse than any sailor I'd ever heard. In the arcades of yore it was usually a friendly rivalry that usually never got more intense than an average sports game. Now kids try to act grown up (if you'd call it that) by insulting in puberty cracked voices. It's comical and horrifying at the same time.
Sure, the games were old-school and you had to get out of your house to participate but the atmosphere and comradery were heads and shoulders above what today's latest bling-mapped graphics and game play can deliver.
I do long for the days of the arcade.