Remember This… ‘Video Arcades’ 

            Goddammit remember when quarters meant something and not just jingo-jango dancing around in your pockets? Going down to wherever the hell you knew had at least one cabinet and spending hours pounding on the buttons, unless you sucked or just had only change for one or two dollars and those moments sucked ass because you always thought “if I only had a few more dollars”?

            Remember how there was always the pro-kid with a whole row of quarters lined up on the screen, decimating every kid who entered the arena? The pro-kids were also the go to people for all your video game info: new codes cheats, strategy or you were just lazy and watched him beat the game so you could go back to school and brag how you saw the ending before your friends did.

            Some of you had video arcades in nice areas like Multiplexes, Laundromats, the Mall and the others, which is fine. However, I like to remember all the places that had games but were in places that kids shouldn’t be in, like pool halls, drug fronts, and possible today – a Magic Johnson theater. 

            I and my friends would go to any place we could. We knew where the SNK games were, were the Tekken games were, Time Crisis, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha; we had that shit down like GPS. One of my favorite places was the Dominican pool hall on 147street, one of local spots to score ‘Charlie’. I liked it mostly because it had SF Alpha II. (I didn’t become friends with Charlie till years later).

            But, in Manhattan you had options. During the 70's & 80's there was PLAYLAND in Hell’s Kitchen in the heart of Times Square, a large space filled with every damn game you could think of. Street kids, kids cutting class and kids who couldn’t even spell school were there. You could even get a fake ID there and yes I had one and it served me well for years. Another arcade was further downtown and has since changed its feel but, I’m talking about CHINATOWN FAIR situated at the end of Mott Street. It was dark and dank and on and weekends hustlers would bet rent money and possibly win someone’s pay check over heated matches on the latest fighting games. The local gangsters would venture in and there were some rules you never broke like “don’t throw”. At one time they even had the infamous Tic-Tac-Toe playing chicken.

            The arcade days were fun… remember?

Nowadays, you get so pissed off after some douchebag kills you with a knife during C.O.D. ... On the bright side I will admit it is pretty damn fun now to be a sociopath on multiplayer these days but, it was even more fun and memorable when you knew a tense vs session could lead into the best donnybrook of the year.
            Alas nowadays, these are just memories and not many of the great spots are left. Chinatown Fair closed and recently reopened but, it’s friendlier and looks like something for the random passerby in spite of the Street Fighter and DDR still present. No, those days are over and we must accept our place in the present; screaming at the top of our lungs and throwing empty ramen noodle containers at the screen because, SwaGG187 called you lame.

             So what are your favorite memories of the video arcade? Leave some yarns in the comment box. And remember UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT and tap the rewind button.