Share your arcade memories


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peej
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Got a bit of an idea for an article about people's arcade memories. Some (most) of us probably misspent our youths (or still are) in amusement arcades and now that big players are increasingly pulling out of the market, and the annual Arcade Game Expos are being sadly killed off, I thought a bit of a retrospective would be cool.

So share and contribute in this thread, g'wan.
#1 at 16:50:37 - 03/06/2010
oneiros
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Swimming club at the local pool on Friday evenings: Taito's Phoenix as a cocktail cabinet. Still my favourite arcade game ever... :)

And another from a bit later in life. Lunchtimes at Loughborough University, I'd stroll down to the Union building and put a few coins into a particular machine; me and J-O-E would pretty much alternate at the top of the leaderboard. Years later I eventually managed to track the game down in MAME: Air Buster.
#2 at 17:01:13 - 03/06/2010
NewYork
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Playing Area 51, then these group of older kids come over and start teasing me with "ooh, you're doing so well" kinda stuff, and at the same time I become aware that I'm standing awfully close to the screen, and I just feel like a n00b, bottle it, lose and walk away with tail between legs.

Wanting to play DDR but one fat guy is hogging the P1 machine and demanding whoever wants a go should face him, which I wussed out of.

The Time Crisis (2?) demo video looking like the most amazing thing I had ever seen (or heard, for that matter).

Never really being allowed to play the games, I'd just stare in awe at the video demos :)
#3 at 17:21:16 - 03/06/2010
JimJam
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My grandparents lived near Wells-Next-The-Sea in Norfolk. Typical seaside town and had two brilliant arcades. Me and my brother used to insist on going there every time we visited. I had played Pong in 1976 at a service station, but over the years to follow, these arcades were the first place I ever saw and played Space Invaders, Galaxian, Gorf, Super Sprint, Operation Wolf and so many others.

My other gran lives near Tolworth, so she used to take us bowling, but I used to spend all my time on the Star Wars machine. My favourite ever arcade game I think.
#4 at 17:23:19 - 03/06/2010
peej
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NY makes me feel so OLD!

Thankfully Oneiros and JimJam made me feel better :)

Probably my earliest memory of being properly allowed in an arcade with a bunch of ten pence pieces clutched in my sweaty hands was on holiday in Kessingland (a place in East Anglia somewhere). Ended up spending the entire week rationing my pocket money to 2 quid a day, but spending that 2 quid playing classics like Asteroids, Defender (which I still absolutely love to bits) and Scramble.

The Star Wars arcade cab. First time I've felt properly immersed in a game to the point where I felt that weird sense of elation from destroying the death star that's been unrivalled by any game since.

And Pinball. Classic pinball games in a few arcades. Stuff like The Addams Family, The Twilight Zone and the surprisingly fantastic Last Action Hero.
#5 at 17:35:08 - 03/06/2010
Ace Grace
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Having been brought up in Portslade, Brighton was an ideal place for arcades, especially West Street and the pier.

I used to get enough pocket money (10p) to get a return bus ticket on a saturday into west street where I used to watch other people play games for most of the day.

Specific favourites were Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Astron Belt and Crossbow.
#6 at 18:07:38 - 03/06/2010
peej
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The arcade on the main Palace Pier is still awesome, in fact that was the last arcade I went in.

Not allowed to go anywhere near 'em any more, as the missus hates 'em so even if I spot a run-down one at a holiday destination I'm not allowed to indulge.

Formative years were spent trekking on the coach from here to London to go around some of the arcades on Oxford St and Soho, though thinking back it was a bloody dodgy thing to do :)
#7 at 18:14:23 - 03/06/2010
JimJam
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peej said:NY makes me feel so OLD!

Thankfully Oneiros and JimJam made me feel better :)

Probably my earliest memory of being properly allowed in an arcade with a bunch of ten pence pieces clutched in my sweaty hands was on holiday in Kessingland (a place in East Anglia somewhere). Ended up spending the entire week rationing my pocket money to 2 quid a day, but spending that 2 quid playing classics like Asteroids, Defender (which I still absolutely love to bits) and Scramble.

The Star Wars arcade cab. First time I've felt properly immersed in a game to the point where I felt that weird sense of elation from destroying the death star that's been unrivalled by any game since.

And Pinball. Classic pinball games in a few arcades. Stuff like The Addams Family,


That Addams Family pinball was great - it was in my local ! Forgot all about Defender, as I was, and still am, terrible at it. Star Wars - must be time for an XBLA release ? The dual triggers simulate the fire buttons on the cab perfectly !
#8 at 19:30:42 - 03/06/2010
HoriZon
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Used to go down to the local video shop many years ago and play Street Fighter Champion Edition with Silentbob after school a hell of a lot it was the hacked one as it had all that weird red fireballs mid air moves etc.

We also went to our local sea side arcade resort and i think we finished the old X-men 4 player game, TMNT 4 player and some others.

Good times!
#9 at 20:51:00 - 03/06/2010
CrispyXUK
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Not a memory, but I've just bagged myself an Agetec modded DC arcade stick

/excited
#10 at 22:07:16 - 03/06/2010
Hughes.
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First game that had me desperate to pile more money in for another go was the vector graphics Star Wars cabinet. Sitting in it instead of standing up at a Space Invaders or Pacman machine was TOTAL IMMERSION!

I also dug that shark hunt and submarine game, can't remeber what they were called.
#11 at 22:20:14 - 03/06/2010
Rhythm
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First arcade experience was a PacMan machine in a local KFC. I was maybe 5 or 6 at the time and it was totally beyond me. From there it was all up though.

My great grandparents lived at a seaside resort in East Yorkshire and we'd go up there a couple of times each summer. They'd always give all us kids some change to go down the local arcade. The arcade was always a couple of years behind so it was never the latest stuff but I used to love playing everything from the penny falls right up to Afterburner, at which point I stopped going up there so often.

Aside from that, all my arcade experience pre-90 was out at seaside resorts. I loved Hang-on, WEC Le Mans, Power Drift, that awful Aliens side-scroller... Fave of all was probably Return of the Jedi though.

Post '90 the local launderette picked up a cabinet that hosted various games. SFII was there but by far the best was Shadow Dancer. SFII had a massive following but no-one ever played multiplayer as it was recognised that it was a cuntish way to play, what with it robbing credits from the other player and all.

93 onwards I used to hand around at a city-centre bowling/Quasar/pool hall. This was the time of Tekken, Virtua Fighter and Ridge Racer but it was also the time when stuff started getting expensive so arcade trips started dropping off. When the PS1 came out shortly after and it played "arcade perfect" games it spelled the absolute death of the arcade for me
#12 at 23:12:23 - 03/06/2010
Rhythm
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#13 at 23:13:34 - 03/06/2010
peej
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Games screwed my career up early on :) I remember spending far too much time in the chip shop just down the road from college, playing Capcom's Commando. It became a bit of an obsession with a load of us because the owner was too bone idle to switch the machine off at night, so the score table stayed put and because you could put long strings of letters in, unfiltered, we basically had a class competition going on to see who could get away with the rudest words on the high score table. Unfortunately everyone else got too good and I never got a look in. Still love that game though.
#14 at 10:10:08 - 04/06/2010
Sillothian
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So many arcade memories, I don't know where to start. We've got a seafront amusement arcade and two holiday parks with decent arcades where I live. Not that I've visited them for a long time, but I spent a lot of my youth (and pocket money) in them!

Earliest memories are of a sit down driving game where screen showed tv footage of a car driving along a road. I think you had to turn the steering wheel to mimic the action of the car in the film, but it's at least 25 years since I played the game so my memory of the gameplay is vague to say the least.

Another machine from the same period I used to enjoy was a sit down space shooter. You had bases at the bottom of the screen that you had to protect from alien bombardment. The bases where also covered by an energy shield that I think you could replenish once per wave of aliens.

You controlled your cross hairs with a yoke as different colour alien craft would fly progressively closer to you. Once they where close enough they would start dropping bombs that you had to take out. One thing that always stood out for me was the games graphics. It was the first game I had played with a sense of depth to the action as the aliens came flying towards you. Great game, but I can't remember what it was called.

Another odd game that sticks in my mind was a puzzle game where you moved a paint roller along the lines of an irregular grid. You had to go round the edge of each rectangle on the screen to fill it with paint, while avoiding the enemies that where also on the grid. Once all the rectangles where painted you moved onto the next stage.

Do any of you remember the Nintendo arcade cabinet that was basically a NES? You paid money for an allowance of time on the machine and could press buttons on the front to select different NES games to play like Tennis, Mario Bros and Excitebike.

Specially mention has to be for Tecmo World Cup 90, the only arcade machine I could beat! I took England to world cup glory numerous times that summer ;-)

Before I forget the sit down Star Wars machine was utter class. I don't know anyone who does not like this game.

The more I think about going to the arcade, the more memories come flooding back. It's dinner time now, but I post some more thoughts later \o/
#15 at 14:33:30 - 04/06/2010
peej
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Don't know what that TV car game is you're talking about there Sil (could be one of the early Laser-disk based games that seemed to crop up in the early 80s) but the other two sound like Gorf (wow! Speech synthesis in an arcade game!) and Amidar.

I have fond memories of the original Tron arcade cabinet. Light Cycles was great but I had a real soft spot for the "Enter the MCP" game where you had to shoot a rotating cylinder of coloured blocks to gain access to the MCP core. Great cheesy music on that game too.

Took me ages to get into driving games, Apart from Outrun and the exquisite full sit-on version of Super Hang On, I didn't really pay much attention to those big sprite-based driving games but I got properly hooked on Virtua Racer when it came out.

I remember the arcade in the basement of Hamleys (is that still there?) always had some superior games. And Oriental City also had a pretty good arcade with the only full sized version of 18 Wheeler that I've ever seen (fucking HUGE cabinet with a massive steering wheel in it the size of a dustbin lid).

Alright then, open question to the forum - what was the last "proper" arcade game you played in an arcade?

Mine was that bizarre zombie rifle shooting game that has a massive wide screen (could be Warzaid or something like that?)

#16 at 14:40:15 - 04/06/2010
NewYork
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Can't be sure but I'm willing to settle on Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring.

Some dude put a coin in but then left, so I took over and played a bit as Tifa (which was so cool as I was an FFVII freak at the time and it was still a novelty back then to see the FFVII characters in a different game), actually for a bunch of rounds, until I eventually lost. But I was surprised how long I lasted because arcade games are usually freakin' difficult.

Honestly doubt I ever played anything after that because we were firmly in the PSone era by that point so I doubt anything was worth spending coin on that I couldn't play at home.
#17 at 15:39:11 - 04/06/2010
oneiros
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Agree with everyone else re. the Star Wars cabinet; wonderfully evocative (with speech samples from the film) and a true classic.

I also remember a racing game at the Trocadero in London which had a full size car (a real one) and a massive projection screen. I presume it was OutRun or something, but it couldn't have been a Ferrari. Was it a shiny red MX-5?

These days I get the most enjoyment out of the air hockey (now with four players) as everything else can be pretty much replicated at home..
#18 at 15:52:32 - 04/06/2010
peej
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Oneiros, that was Ridge Racer and yep you weren't hallucinating, they had a full sized MX5 up there for ages acting as the "controller". I never had a go on it though as I think it was a quid a pop (unheard of at the time for an arcade game).

Not too far from that, the Trocadero had the vomit inducing 3 player version of Galaxians 3D (basically a gigantic wrap-around screen playing a sort of Starblade rip-off). Was great though but ugh it was really vom inducing.

Weirdest arcade memory was from visiting a tiny little backstreet arcade down in Weymouth that had one of those Sega "Time traveller" holographic games in it. I just couldn't believe that the effect could be so convincing. The game was shit but it really did boggle my eyes at the time.

#19 at 15:55:49 - 04/06/2010
Ace Grace
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I've got Time Traveller on DVD. Not quite the same though.
#20 at 16:19:17 - 04/06/2010
Espad
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i was always a huge fan of spy hunter, i loved the peter gunn track blasting through the rear speaker of the arcade cab.

the most vivid memory is of me playing the robocop arcade endlessly at the cab station in tulse hill on the way home from school.

'thank you for your co-operation'
:)
#21 at 16:20:33 - 04/06/2010
peej
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Ahhh Robocop was awesome stuff. I think I only ever got past Ed 209 and just died endlessly after that.

Another classic well loved big cab was Super Sprint. I managed to master the art of spinning / braking the steering wheel just enough to whip round that first course like the clappers almost a lap ahead of the other cars.

Also Ivan Ironman Stewart's Off Road Racing in a similar vein.

#22 at 16:24:02 - 04/06/2010
Sillothian
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peej said:Don't know what that TV car game is you're talking about there Sil (could be one of the early Laser-disk based games that seemed to crop up in the early 80s) but the other two sound like Gorf (wow! Speech synthesis in an arcade game!) and Amidar.


The space shooter definitely wasn't Gorf. It was a first person shooter where you used the yoke to control the laser sites of a space ship. The enemies were scaled sprites to give the impression that they were flying towards you. Once they got really close they would start dropping bombs to take out a force field and then the buildings it was protecting.

The only other things I remember about the game was the sit down cabinet, the yoke being a hefty bit of kit (set on a thick, metal column that moved in and out of the cabinet as you moved the yoke to and from you) and the cabinet being stickered inside and out to look like a space ship.

I wish I could remember what the game was called!
#23 at 22:35:05 - 04/06/2010
DDevil
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Playing Time Traveller in Blackpool.

It was a shit lazerdisk game - BUT HOLOGRAMS!
#24 at 22:47:43 - 04/06/2010
Sillothian
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Two player games were always a great love of mine at the arcade.

Championship Sprint was a big favourite with it's steering wheels that you had to give a give old spin to get round the corners.

I always liked Jackal where you each controlled a jeep armed with a machine gun and a grenade launcher, that could be upgraded to fire rockets. The game was a vertically scrolling shooter where you had to rescue prisoners of war and get them a helicopter. Classic co-op fun.

Another great 2 player game was Bucky O'Hare. Based on the early 90's cartoon show this was an awesome side scrolling shooter. The 2D graphics were really detailed with loads of enemies on screen. Some of the boss characters were massive. The game played like a dream with 2 people and you got great value for your 10p ;-)
#25 at 00:00:28 - 05/06/2010
repairmanjack
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Dragon's Lair taking a pound off me in just under seven seconds. The Star Wars cabinet. Space Harrier.

Belting the two-pee slot machines and making loads of change fall into the bucket... before the days of pikey's fitting them with alarms.
#26 at 01:40:46 - 05/06/2010
JimJam
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Lots o'love for the Star Was cab here. They need to get it on XBLA !
#27 at 04:29:08 - 05/06/2010
ilmaestro
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repairmanjack said:before the days of pikey's fitting them with alarms.

What is this?
#28 at 04:36:47 - 05/06/2010

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