Modern Relics: The glory days of the video game arcade

Modern Relics: The glory days ...
The rise and fall of the video game arcade
The rise and fall of the video game arcade
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The rise and fall of the video game arcade
The rise and fall of the video game arcade

The relentless march of technological development means once cutting edge inventions are continually being relegated to the scrapheap, or at least the musty bottom drawer. From what might have been to what never stood a chance, our Modern Relics video series takes a look back at technology that has fallen by the wayside, found itself on the wrong side of a format war, or was simply superseded by new innovation.

In this episode of Modern Relics we examine the rise and fall of the video game arcade, a new social space that exploded in popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. While kids flocked to game arcades not everyone was happy with this entertainment trend and concerned parents united to try to moderate the impact of what they saw as a dangerous and anti-social new movement.

Modern Relics: Arcades

Let us know in the comments what your experiences with video game arcades were. Did you hold the high score for Pac-Man in your local arcade? When did home consoles begin to draw you back home from the classic arcade?

Feeling a little nostalgic? Check out our previous episodes of Modern Relics here.

I went round the score clock on defender, took me almost three hours, had to bunk off school for the afternoon to do it 8-)
Chris Waddell
Fondest memory of one of the bands I played in during the early 1990's was that our rehearsal spot was in the warehouse of the guy our guitarist worked for. His boss' company fixed the province's gambling machines, but before arcades went to the grave due to home video game systems, he used to fix arcade video games. So this entire warehouse was filled with every arcade game you could think of, Pac Man, Donkey King, Centipede and on and on. And all these games, pinball machines were at our disposal for free. You could click on a ton of credits and play play play.... Wonder we got any practicing done at all.
I got to the point I could play TRON forever on one quarter. I was only lured away from the arcade after the Commodore Amiga came out and, waaaay ahead of other computer platforms in graphics/computing power (and stayed that way until after the early days of OS X. As far as actual multitasking, the Amiga still has modern platforms beat.
Gyruss, the game with Sky's cover of Bach's BWV 565. Highest score was 99,999 and I got more than a million points if I were to add all the times I got that score in a single run. I was able to play for hours with a single coin, until I was banned from the arcade "for life". They even unplugged the cord when I was approaching! Fond memories, fond of the tunes (I still like to hear Gallga's theme). Next came Sinistar, I loved it as much as I loved Space Invaders, first edition. Last thing I remember is when I was playing Dragon's Liar, the first game using a laser disc. Sometimes if got bored with the videos, you went straight to the pinballs. There was one with Hugh Hefner and bunnies Patty McGuire and Sondra Theodore in the marquee, another said something like "Prepare for mission". Another of my favs of all time was Gorf: the first game with synthesized voice: "You are doomed in Gorfian contestes"; "Not bad, not bad", and several other things it uttered against the player. I used to code in a small IBM System / 23 machine, in BASIC, under EBCDIC. After looooong hours doing it or working in Assembler, the treat was to go and spend an extra hour or two playing in an arcade. Fond -as I said- memories. BTW I was well over 20 at the time.