The 80s Arcade Games

All Those Fun With 80s Arcade Games

By Ronnie Tan -
Those 80s arcade games were the only place for under 21-year-olds and the only activity center, really, save the malls. And since we were not the mall-dog types, we took rolls of quarters and devoted our after-school time to the arcades. This made me remember the old commercials from when I was a kid, so I told him about how Peggy Fleming would attach a Bic pen to her skate blade and skate around the ice with it; then, the advertisers would write with it, to show how it still held up.

The kid then asked if that was way back in the fifties and I laughed, as it was clear that my way-back-when story had triggered him to calculate the actual dates. He didn’t scoff, but instead said he would love to have grown up then, when things were cheap and new—like McDonalds, he said, and like the first video games (those we now remember as having the most popularity as 80s arcade games, really.

So I got to thinking about what we had that few kids today grasp as valuable or worthy of attention. As one who is a bit older than the twenty-something video game (or computers, for that matter) generation, I am fortunate to have the experience of playing the 80s arcade games that pioneered the way for the home computer and hand-held games.

Yes, of course, Pong was a huge deal: we could do something virtually for the first time in our lives. But that was the 60s. I’m referring to the fondness I have for memories of the 80s arcade games that we (my boyfriend and I) would play by physically going to an arcade (and not an amusement park, at that—an actual arcade that had nothing other than a change machine and walls of stand-alone, full-sized games like Pac Man, Mz. Pac Man, and Asteroids and Donkey Kong.

My favorite arcade game, which I have never ever found again—not online, not on CD-ROM, nowhere—was a game called Quix. On the screen was a huge rectangle. The joy stick controlled a "stylus" on the screen that you used to partition off percentages of the space…WITHOUT getting zapped by the approaching electrical fuses/sparks.

If you did get caught, your score went back to zero, your stylus went “poof? and you started over. It was for quasi-lateral thinkers, I guess, who have limited spatial maneuvering abilities or who prefer a game that doesn’t involve killing and guns.

Though, I do have a place in my old heart for the few months I was addicted to Space Invaders.

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