Ok technically this isn’t a new rant, this is one I posted on MySpace but this is probably my favorite article that I’ve written so I’m gonna cheat and post it here too. Enjoy!
Sometimes it seems to me that technology is moving way too fast. Don’t get me wrong I love my tech toys and I’m just as guilty as anyone else of the whole “I want that” craze but technology has some downsides as well. Case in point…technology has killed off the arcade. No not THAT kind of arcade you sicko I’m talking about the video arcade. I miss the days where you could head down the street with a pocket full of quarters and kill a few hours with your friends. Sadly arcades are few and far between nowadays. Sure you can still find some places with arcade games, but gone are the days of Frogger, Q-Bert, Spy Hunter and Rampage. Now all people want is high res graphics, on-line play & voice chat. What happened to good old competitive trash talking over a game of Street Fighter? What happened to the feeling of awe that you first had when you saw Dragon Slayer or Space Ace? When I was a kid, let me rephrase that..when I was younger and the Nintendo first came out I was in awe over how defined the graphics were. After years of playing Asteroids and Ms. Pac Man on the Atari 2600, the Nintendo was amazing! Now you can download those same games on your computer!
Most of you probably don’t know or probably even care, but one of my favorite jobs was at the local arcade. We had just moved to Colorado a short time before and one of my favorite places to go was to a store called Biggs, not to shop for groceries but because there was a video arcade just down the way. There was a time when Time-Out was THE place to be. It used to have the arcade, a miniature golf course, bumper cars, a carousel, planes, trains and automobiles! It had the miniature swings and even RC boats! I was never big on the rides, no my place was in there with the dim lights and the neon and the cacophony of noise from all the different games. All my favorites were there, Galaxia, Gyrus, they had them all! As I was walking in I noticed a sign that said “Now Hiring”. How cool would it be to work in a place like this? All the arcade games a guy could play AND you get paid?!?! Where do I sign up? So I got the arcade, filled it out in my illegible chicken scratch and turned it in not expecting much. I mean why would they hire me? I had no experience working in a place like that, there must be TONS of people wanting to work there. Weeks went by and I forgot about the application, figuring that they had already filled the position. I walked in after school one day and was told to call Wanda about an interview. “Who’s Wanda?” I asked. “I don’t know but I bet if you called her she’d tell you that” was the response I got back, or something along those lines.
Anyway, long story short, I got the job and started an ongoing love/hate relationship with what would end up being on of my favorite places to hang out. All told I worked there a total of 3 different times, I was a ride attendant, arcade attendant and assistant manager. I could tear down a pinball game and clean it top to bottom, I could replace a broken button on a video game and I could make change for you faster than you could ask for it. I watched the arcade rise to the height of popularity with VR machines, Mortal Kombat & Street Fighter and I watched it fall from grace moving slowly towards the ticket games like skee-ball. I’ve counted so many tickets I think I still have ink under my nails. I’ve mastered the claw machine, I’ve changed the marquee’s on the cabinets when the Frogger’s became the Samurai Showdowns. I hated it and loved it at the same time. For every “this game ate my quarter” I heard, there was some little kid trading in their tickets that they’d saved months for just to get that one special prize. It really was a great job, I sometimes wish I would have stuck with it, I would have been running the store at some point I’m sure. But all good things must come to an end and sadly it seems that the arcades days are over. Kids today will never know the thrill of walking in, seeing a crowd of people and wondering what all the buzz is about. Today it’s all about the X-Box, the PS3 or the Wii. For the nostalgia gamers out there, you can download Nestor and countless other video game simulators for the PC. Hell they can even download them into the new consoles directly!
I’m not saying that technology is a bad thing, I just wish there were times when it would slow down a little.