Return To My Mis-spent Youth

Gather ’round, kiddies, and I’ll tell you a story. It’s about the days when there weren’t no Xboxes nor Playstations. Sure, there were some home game consoles, but mainly we fed quarters into machines. Oh, so many machines…

Coin-operated video games were everywhere in 1982. I can remember at least five arcades in Bangor, but they weren’t limited to special rooms just for sweaty game geeks. Every single convenience store, pizza parlor, drug store, laundromat and video rental store had at least one game sitting in a corner. And when I say “mis-spent youth” the accent is on “spent,” because I must have dropped hundreds of dollars in quarters into those things between discovering Pong at the campground up the road in the mid-70’s until they all went away around 1987. It was the Golden Age of Arcade Video Games.

Well, today, I got to spend some quality time with my old friends, and I didn’t have to feed dollar bills into the change machine. My Disney-employed daughter got us into DisneyQuest with one of her annual perks.

In case you don’t know what DisneyQuest is, imagine the biggest mall arcade from your youth (talkin’ to the old folks here, kids). Now, take that arcade and double it…then put one of those double-sized arcades on each floor of a four-story building…add two large snack bars, a build-your-own virtual roller coaster simulator ride, a 3D pirate ship adventure, a magic carpet ride, animation art classes, and a couple of other rides and simulators, and you might just about have a picture of the place.

That list of games from the “Golden Age” link above? Yep, pretty much every one of them is there. I personally played Galaxian, Centipede, Missile Command, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Galaga, BurgerTime, Dig Dug, Joust, Robotron 2084, Tron, 1942 and…my favoritest game of all time…Asteroids! (And did the virtual roller coaster and pirate ship thing, as well as shooting some baskets, driving about six different race car games, and blasting bugs in a weird, Japanese safari game.)

Needless to say, it was a ton of fun, and if I were rich, I’d have the biggest, baddest game room ever. (And I’d probably spend 99% of the time playing Asteroids.)

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2 Responses to Return To My Mis-spent Youth

  1. Ric The Schmuck says:

    Ah yes, breakfast at Sam’s (after they changed it from Sambo’s) then off to The Nite Owl to try and “roll” the Asteroids machine….leaving sometime after 3AM.

    I remember it well.

    Good stuff.

    And yes, Asteroids was the best.

  2. Karan says:

    Do I have to go all the way to Florida for this sort of noise and chaos? When my kids were small, we told them they could play the video game in the pizza place as long as they wanted because it was free. Actually that was a lie…they were allowed to play the introduction forever and we never let them know that there was more to the games. Bwahahahaha

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