Its another week for the Pop Culture League! This week’s topic:
What’s your earliest arcade or video game memory?
Remember, if you’re curious about the League, check out this post for more information:
Now, what do I remember about arcades and video games way back when I was a young Hellion? I know someone had Pong but I cant remember who. Babysitter, maybe? Also I do remember my first best friend having an Atari in the basement and an NES in his room. But that still doesn’t seem like the earliest memory. No, for that we have to go to three places. The first stop is Woolworth’s.
That giant building was the first catch all department store I ever knew. Woolworth’s was located in downtown Watertown and while that was the version I was most familiar with the store had other locations dating back to being the first five and dime in the country. On the second floor, all the way in the back, was the electronics department. I remember buying NWA/WCW VHS tapes, seeing some scary band cassettes like Iron Maiden, buying a ton of toys and Halloween costumes in this store. Also, for the point of this article, I remember the NES Console Arcade.
This is the closest example I can find of it:
All of the top games were on it and it was free to play. Within reason of course. If you died the system reset. If other people wanted to use it, or if the person working in electronics wanted to get you out of there. But it was a great way to try out games. Why else would we have played Kid Icarus? There must have been 10-20 games available to select on here but for some reason we always played Kid Icarus. Then we would wander around the store, check out toys and magazines, and ride the escalators. Then come back to play more.
A little later in my life the hometown got a mall. Hills was built first, which is a post all in itself, then the rest of the mall including a sit down restaurant called the Ground Round.
It really wasn’t anything special. If you remember Ground Round for anything it would be the free popcorn that was always on the table. Fill up on popcorn, order too many drinks, be too full to eat your food, piss off your parents who just spent a ton of money. Or, get out of their hair by playing the exclusive and elusive Pac Man table top.
Mom! Mom! We need quarters! For what? To play Pac Man! You can play Pac Man anywhere.
Now, this is true. But not in this fashion. By moving the screen 90 degrees it became new and exciting once again. What’s going to be a bigger waste of money? Us playing Pac Man while waiting for food or us filling up on popcorn while waiting? A couple quarters vs a doggie bag. Your choice!
Hey, what’s the rest of the League talking about?
There are more links at the very first link in this article. Read them all and enjoy!