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Classic Games (Games) Games

'Old School' Arcade Still Popular In NYC 177

pickens writes "In 2005, there were 44 licensed video game arcades in New York, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs; today, 23 survive. With the expansion of interactive online gaming, video game action has largely shifted to the home. 'Arcades are an anachronism now,' says Danny Frank, a spokesman for the Amusement and Music Owners Association of New York. 'They exist only in shopping malls.' But Chinatown Fair has become a center for all the outcasts in the city to bond over their shared love for a good 20-punch combo and 'old school' games that more popular arcades don't stock anymore — the classic Street Fighter II from 1991 and King of Fighters 1996, for example, as well as Ms Pac-Man and Time Crisis. 'Now, you can play a million people from all around the world,' says one player. 'For me, it's not the same as playing face-to-face. The young'uns may not care, but I do.'"
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'Old School' Arcade Still Popular In NYC

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  • hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:00PM (#33157760) Homepage
    Also Barcade in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn has an astounding number of working, old-school arcade games (Joust, Gauntlet, Dig Dug, that generation), so it's worth visiting if you're into that stuff and can put up with the PBR-drinking, ironic-t-shirt and black-rimmed-glasses crowd.
    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:08PM (#33157804)

      DisneyQuest in Orlando has a five floors full of original old-school arcade games

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        DisneyQuest doesn't have "5" full floors of "old-school" arcade games, but it is a decent arcade with a very nice section, about half of a floor of great old-school games by the Buzz Lightyear bumper car/game.

    • PABST BLUE RIBBON is an excellent trash beer. Sounds like my kind of joint! I miss my Bubble Bobble at Dairy Queen.

    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by CyborgWarrior ( 633205 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @12:01AM (#33158082) Homepage

      Just so everyone doesn't get the completely wrong idea... this place also has a VERY NICE beer selection. Everyone else may be drinking PBR, but you certainly don't have to. I absolutely love this place and I'm not even from New York (yet)!

    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @12:10AM (#33158118)

      You forgot to mention that they carry a wide variety of micro brew beer on tap. They have over 20 taps and even a cask tap that is hand pumped. On certain Thursdays they feature beers from a specific micro brewery to promote that breweries beer. So if your a beer lover (or snob) and love true classic arcades, then its worth paying a visit.

      The NYCGI holds their monthly drink nights there every second Thursday of each month.

      Yea the damn hipsters are annoying as hell but ignoring them is easy once you get lost in the beer menu.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        What, no classic pinball machines to go with the classic arcade machines, how could they (own a Meteor). The old fashioned shared gaming experience never translated well to watching someone play a PC, game play time makes it boring.

        • Hi there,
          I too lament the lack of classic pinballs. There is a skateboard shop on 11th street just off of first avenue that has a few classic
          pinballs if you are in the neighborhood, but nothing like the rows of machines we'd see in big arcades. On the plus side, the flippers
          are nice and strong. Nothing like walking up to a great pinball machine only to find out the bumpers are busted and the flippers barely flip.

    • Frank Booth: What kind of beer do you like?
      Jeffrey Beaumont: Heineken.
      Frank Booth: [shouting] Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

      • Sex in a canoe? PBR, fucking close to water that's all it is. Rogue Dead Guy, now that is a beer.
        • Double Dead guy is better. Or if you want to keep it low gravity, Hazelnut Brown Nectar. Really most of Rogue's beers are pretty awesome, they're one of the better breweries in the US. Not to say that there aren't beer individual beers out here than any specific Rogue beer; but for overall quality across an entire and very extensive line of brews, Rogue is in the top ten.

    • by BryanL ( 93656 )

      While I have nothing against professional bull riders, I must admit I have not been around one when he has been drinking so it might not be my cup of tea.

    • As a non-Yank, what is PBR?
      • be happy you don't know. PBR is why other countries think american beer sucks.

        • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

          I wouldn't say PBR is the reason. It's mainly Bud, Coors, etc.

          PBR is even worse than the above so it really has zero visibility outside the country.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by AndersOSU ( 873247 )

            PBR is what passed for good beer in 1893. (hence the blue ribbon)

            That said, it's still better than most mega breweries' swill.

        • No, Budweiser & Coors are why other countries think American beer sucks - PBR is so bad it doesn't even get sold outside of the US.

          (Disclaimer: I *love* good American beer, especially Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Lager, and think it's a crime that generally only the poor stuff makes it over to the UK)
      • A cheap, yet reasonably good, beer.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pabst_blue_ribbon [wikipedia.org]

    • I am depressed that my generation is now officially called *THAT* generation.
    • by guinsu ( 198732 )

      I've been there and loved it. Very excited that my neighborhood in Philly is getting a barcade soon.

  • Bar Arcades (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mconeone ( 765767 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:02PM (#33157768)
    What about Dave & Buster's/Gameworks? Although straight-up arcades are rare, these places are somewhat common.
    • I always thought of Dave & Busters as Showbiz with liquor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moryath ( 553296 )

        If you can ever find a D&B with a properly working machine that's not a fakie-gambling device, my hat's off to you.

        There's a reason nobody goes there any more. None of the shit is EVER repaired. The local one by me had a wall of 16 of the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade units and not a single one had anywhere close to a working joystick. They left the guns on their House of the Dead machine broken for more than a year - not "broken" as in "sights a bit off" mind you, broken as in not a single shot registered o

    • We more places with pinball games and working ones.

      To many places have games there are beat down and they don't get fixed.

      • by halowolf ( 692775 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @05:17AM (#33159072)
        Back home they always tried to shutdown the dedicated arcades for 'Attracting an undesirable element'. ie more than 5 kids in one place at a time. Admittedly one of them was a dank dark hole of a joint and I wasn't sad to see that one go, but the other was a lovely bright affair with great games and not a single bad element in site, well not counting the kids, and there was never any trouble there.

        The only place we could rely on was the bowling alley and its rather good selection of games both arcade and pinball. Good luck trying to shut that place down, it was far too popular.
        • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @06:50AM (#33159426)

          It seems like all throughout the 20th century, whatever the young people found popular and entertaining at any given point was campaigned against by the older generations, especially in the US.

          It happened with pool/snooker/billiard halls. It happened with pinball. It happened with Comic Books. It happened with amusement arcades. It happened and continues to happen with all kinds of music including Rock & Roll, Punk, Metal, Rap, Hip-Hop etc. And its happening today with Internet Cafes. Many local and state authorities are trying to shut down or control Internet Cafes (especially Internet Cafes that offer gaming) with restrictions on opening hours, requirements for security guards and requirements to log everyone who comes into the cafe to use it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta ( 162192 )

          Admittedly one of them was a dank dark hole of a joint and I wasn't sad to see that one go

          Those are the best arcades.

  • by gravos ( 912628 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:07PM (#33157800) Homepage

    The photo at the top was obviously staged. No girl would kiss any guy who hangs out in an arcade all day.

  • Popular! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:09PM (#33157808)

    Twenty in a city of twenty million, and half as many as five years ago. How is this "still popular"?

    • by morari ( 1080535 )

      That's twenty more than I recall ever seeing anywhere else!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrgnDancer ( 137700 )

      The place itself is still popular, not the medium. The medium only retains enough popularity to keep a relative small number of places in business, but among those who still enjoy it, this place is popular. It's one of the advantages of living in city like New York. In an area with 20 million people, all of whom can get to anywhere in the city fairly trivially on the subway, there's bound to be enough of a market to keep at least a few of any type of business afloat. Thus whenever you have whim to go to

  • Joystix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:13PM (#33157830)

    Joystix [joystixamusements.com] in Houston is pretty damn popular as well. Every first and last Friday of the month, the bar next door sells $15 wristbands that get you in to the showroom, where everything working is on free play aaaaallllll niiiiight (well, until last call...). They've got an arcade machine that pre-dates pong (they don't turn that one on...) all the way to up games that are almost kinect-like (seriously, they had a rail-shooter that, instead of stepping on a pedal, it watched which way you dodged out of the way and did that). It's freakin' awesome. And because it's a repair/resell shop, the stock is constantly rotating, so there's always something new. It's an arcade gamer's paradise. Except when some stupid singles group sets up an outing.

    Sorry if that sounds like an advertisement... I'm there every chance I get, and I think I've dragged every one of my friends along at some point. I needed somewhere new to proselytize.

  • by MunchMunch ( 670504 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:14PM (#33157840) Homepage
    I've lived in New York City for years, a few years back, and I determinedly Googled trying to find arcades. I found about two. Now I've moved back, and would really like to find these 23 arcades, wherever they are.

    How do you find the arcades? Do Slashdotters know of any other good NYC arcades?
    • by lyinhart ( 1352173 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @01:31AM (#33158434)
      Arcadelocations.net has a listing of arcades with classic games in New York State [arcadelocations.net]. So does AURCADE [aurcade.com]. One location not mentioned is Peter Pan Games in Queens. Depending on where you live, it might be easier to get to than Chinatown Fair, which is blocks away from the nearest subway station.

      Otherwise, there's some good looking places in New Jersey (*shudder*) like Richie Knucklez and 8 on the Break.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by story645 ( 1278106 )

      I play games at pizza shops, movie theaters, and the like, spent a ton of coins on area 51 at the Chinese takeout place by my elementary school, and I've only really been to arcades if I was going to a birthday party thrown at one. There's a teeny one in the basement of Queens Center Mall, and it might have something decent buried behind the DDR (haven't had a chance to check) and I've seen some boxes at the local comic book shop.

  • by OnePumpChump ( 1560417 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:17PM (#33157866)
    I can't stand playing Counterstrike on the Internet, but on a LAN it's a different story.
    • by cosm ( 1072588 )

      Even some PC games are better face to face.

      Real face-to-face [youtube.com] counter-striker's would straight up pwn your average Larper [youtube.com]. Nubsauces.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      For the social gamer that's lost his LAN crowd (due to them all growing up, gettin' wedded, what-have-you) there's a breed of bar/internet cafe/gamespace that is becoming more and more prevalent. The Atlanta one is called Battle and Brew and rents time on PCs loaded with most of the modern games, as well as big screen TVs and a full rock band setup.

      I'm curious to see how this new sort of gamer's pub does in the modern social climate.

      I'm hoping they will do well--it'd be a good thing to be able to wan
  • by dannyastro ( 790359 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:24PM (#33157904)
    If you want really "old school", check out the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, CA (near Oakland) - http://pacificpinball.org/ [pacificpinball.org]. They have pinball machines from the 1930's to 2000's, with a big collection of "woodrail" and "wedgehead" games. No video games. Only pinball (and an odd electromechanical rifle game here and there).
  • Pinball Hall Of Fame (Score:5, Informative)

    by Travco ( 1872216 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:47PM (#33158008)
    The Only place for Pinball. Over three hundred games on site, over a thousand in the worlds largest collection. The proprietor has been in the biz for almost 40 years and can tell you anything you want to know about any game you can name. http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ [pinballmuseum.org] And for you youngsters he has twenty or so classic videos.
  • by StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:49PM (#33158018) Homepage Journal


    It was a Junior high school field trip to Chinatown. Other than seeing a bum sleeping on the street, and picking up a copy of ANALOG with a Joe Haldeman story, I don't remember anything else BUT this arcade.

    A tough kid offered to sell us switchblades.

    We played the "chicken" games.

    If there were video games, I don't remember them specifically. But they'd certainly be old school stuff that make the "classics" mentioned above seem science fictional.

    • Unfortunately, the chicken died several years back...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by coughfeeman ( 608160 )
      I remember this place in the 80's. My parents would take us out to Chinatown every week from the 'burbs to get some "real" groceries, and my brother and I would beg for a quarter so we can play a game. That was the one and only place I've ever seen the the machine where you can play Tic-Tac-Toe with a live chicken.
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:51PM (#33158026) Journal
    A museum of video games would try and buy up every game ever made. Then people could pay admission to visit for the day and play every video game the museum collected. The goal of the museum is to own every video game ever made.
    • by Travco ( 1872216 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @12:02AM (#33158088)
      Having been a Video game service person in the early 80's I can tell you why your dream can't come true. Many of the early games depended on short run parts that were unreliable and are now Gone. Most of them could be emulated with no trouble but then you could have the museum in your own home (MAME)
      • But you can't have it legally on your home built MAME machine (at least with EVERY game you could think of). The various MAME cabinets that you see in arcades get most of the popular ones though, and you can buy those machines.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jlb.think ( 1719718 )

          But you can't have it legally on your home built MAME machine (at least with EVERY game you could think of). The various MAME cabinets that you see in arcades get most of the popular ones though, and you can buy those machines.

          Buying old broken machines allows you to do a full restoration, exempting hardware, that flawlessly plays classic games. When you buy the machine with the ROMs, or a machine from an owner you bequeaths you all rights including his right to all information on the ROMs all lost parts, et cetera, then get the right to run the game. You can buy a crapped out box and gain the legal rights to a full restoration in a commercial or private environment. Someone could probably make a hand-some amount of money sel

        • by jonwil ( 467024 )

          I have yet to see a single one of those "Multi-Game" arcade machines (either in an arcade or offered as a home machine) that is in any way legal.

          None of the games usually seen on these machines (Donkey Kong, Galaga, Galaxian, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Frogger, Dig Dug, Mappy, Missile Command, Centipede etc) have (to the best of my knowledge) ever been licenced by their owners for use in such multi-game machines (certainly not ones that can be made to accept coins)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by gameguy1957 ( 937850 )

        Believe it or not, there are several companies out there that have started to reproduce a lot of the hard to find items. With things like artwork there will only be a short run every few years for some of the more rare titles, but the more popular games have reproduction parts available from many vendors.

        There's a company that has actually reproduced the yoke for the Star Wars games and they are also looking into having the vector tubes reproduced for the old X-Y games. So the rare stuff is getting easie

    • I think that task has been delegated to various P2P emulation groups who do indeed collect every game ever made that they can get their hands on.
    • by S-100 ( 1295224 )
      They are working on it. The Video Game Hall Of Fame is trying to acquire one of every video game ever created. It's located in Ottumwa, Iowa, home of the famous Twin Galaxies Arcade, and the self-proclaimed "video game capital of the world".
    • by Destoo ( 530123 )

      There are several arcade and console restoration and conservation groups.
      The American Classic Arcade Museum [classicarcademuseum.org] was present at Pax East.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gameguy1957 ( 937850 )

      Videotopia is a museum display that travels. They currently have a setup in Tallahassee, Florida. I saw it last Friday while passing through there. They have everything from the first commercial video game (Computer Space) through some late 1990's era games.

      There are more working classic video games today than there were ten years ago. It's not cost effective to refurbish and keep them running commercially, but there are hundreds of home arcades where people collect, restore, and share their games with t

    • Be one of the only museums that could make money.

    • by edashofy ( 265252 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:13AM (#33158904)

      In addition to the efforts going on in Ottumwa, there is the already-existing American Classic Arcade Museum [classicarcademuseum.org], located inside Funspot [funspotnh.com] in New Hampshire. This arcade was prominently featured in the cult-favorite documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters [imdb.com]. I don't think their mission is to collect every single game ever (that would be a lot of them) but they sure have a huge collection [funspotnh.com] of both popular and obscure games.

      The museum is really just one floor of the arcade (there are three) featuring many, many classic arcade games in excellent working order. I imagine the maintenance is a perpetual nightmare, but they do what they can. There is no admission fee, just ordinary tokens to play the games. Most still cost one token (each token costs a quarter, or less if you buy in bulk), and let me tell you $20 goes a long, long way there. For maximum childhood regression, they keep the lights down and play awesome 80s tunes over the sound system. I was there a couple months ago and got to play some games that I had not laid hands on for a long time: Elevator Action (last played at Fuddrucker's), Missile Command (pediatric dentist's office), Sinistar (Lamppost Pizza), Dragon's Lair (Chuck-E-Cheese), Star Wars (basement of the local Sears), Tapper (local bowling alley), Crystal Castles (by the front door of the local Alpha Beta supermarket) and so on. A few machines I had never seen before in person (a stand-up Pong machine, Satan's Hollow). They even have a friggin' Computer Space [wikipedia.org], but alas it was broken when I visited. The fact that you're even allowed to touch it is amazing.

      I also got to play the infamous Donkey Kong machine, where I was proud to hold the high score (a piddly 18,000) for probably five minutes, and the same Pac Man machine where Billy Mitchell played the world's first perfect game of Pac Man (I think I cleared about 3 boards).

      It's a real experience - if you're in the area I highly recommend stopping in.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I grew up in arcades and absolutely loved them. They were a huge, huge part of my life and the next biggest social hub outside of school to meet people -- well, other geeky boys like yourself, other than the legendary Arcade Gamer Girl who existed but was rarely seen.

    Sadly arcades are dead. Why? The technology. Arcades had games based on the absolute forefront of technology and every vendor was trying to beat each other with better sound, flashier graphics, and more interesting gameplay. Once games went to

  • Aah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @12:25AM (#33158176) Homepage Journal
    There was a good solid decade between 1978 and 1988 when you could go into any mall and you'd hear the arcade from a mile away. I'd make a bee-line for 'em and blow any quarters I had on me. They always turned the games up way too loud, and the most distinctive sound was the falling bug from centipede. Going to the arcade was a very sensory experience.

    Occasionally you'd get lucky and they'd have a new machine in that you'd never seen before. All arcades seemed to have that new-electronics smell. Occasionally you'd find a broken control, but a lot of the guys who worked in those places could actually fix the machines, and they always seemed to have spare parts on hand.

    They were on their decline with the 90s. I remember being horrified upon discovering an upscale mall in Florida that didn't have an arcade. Eventually this became the norm. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. I'm glad to have been growing up in that time.

    If I ever get back to New York, I'll have to go looking for one of these places, if only for the chance of hearing those bugs falling one more time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phillymjs ( 234426 )

      There was a good solid decade between 1978 and 1988 when you could go into any mall and you'd hear the arcade from a mile away. I'd make a bee-line for 'em and blow any quarters I had on me. They always turned the games up way too loud, and the most distinctive sound was the falling bug from centipede. Going to the arcade was a very sensory experience.

      For any young'uns out there who want an idea of what it looked and sounded like, check out the video found here. [cinemarcade.com] (If you play the Quicktime version, be sure t

  • Asbury Park, too (Score:4, Informative)

    by S-100 ( 1295224 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @12:38AM (#33158236)
    The Silverball Museum opened on the boardwalk in Asbury Park earlier this year. There are over 200 classic pinball machines and a smattering of early video games and other early games such as pitch & bats, shuffle alleys, and such. http://silverballmuseum.com/ [silverballmuseum.com]
  • is that unlike most computer games where at most your "ranking" is the only thing up for grabs, the people involved in an arcade match actually have something tangible, ie their money, at stake. If you win you get to keep playing and force the other guy to pony up more cash if he wants to keep playing, if you lose then you gotta put up the cash. Humans seem to respond better when they perceive there are real consequences to losing and prizes for winning.
  • Old School? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @01:28AM (#33158430)

    But Chinatown Fair has become a center for all the outcasts in the city to bond over their shared love for a good 20-punch combo and "old school" games that more popular arcades don't stock anymore — the classic Street Fighter II from 1991 and King of Fighters 1996,

    Games from 1991-1996 are considered "old school" now? A person born in those years would be described as very young.

    • Games from 1991-1996 are considered "old school" now? A person born in those years would be described as very young.

      Yes... pecause people and computer games are not the same things. You know that means that the games are getting on to 20 years old. Take one of the era all-time classics, SF2 CE. The system board was a 10ish MHz 68k variant (probably 68000), with a few thousand colours (4096??) and a little spot of RAM. I seem to remember to also had a Z80 for sound and a hardware blitter. I think the graphi

      • They are now adults, remember. So yeah, the games are certainly old school.

        Someone born in 1996 is not an adult, s/he is only 13-14. I think that end of the scale is pushing it a bit. We were beginning to see 3D accelerator cards in 1996. Starcraft came out in 1998, and Starcraft II hasn't really added anything of significance in those 12 years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by discord5 ( 798235 )

      Games from 1991-1996 are considered "old school" now? A person born in those years would be described as very young.

      1991 would mean that it's 19 years old, which for video games is pretty old. I do remember enjoying Street Fighter 2 a lot when I was 19 years younger, which seems like ages ago. What's perhaps more surprising about it is that aside from the sequels, this game has actually been ported, published, republished, ported again, overhauled, balanced, given new art, rebalanced, etc etc etc and people are still playing the latest incarnation from 2008 Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.

      There's also a very activ

  • From the summary, emphasis mine: "In 2005, there were 44 licensed video game arcades in New York"

    Somebody please tell me that a gubmint license is not necessary to operate an arcade in New York.
    • Re:License? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Arivia ( 783328 ) <arivia@gmail.com> on Friday August 06, 2010 @03:43AM (#33158834) Journal

      Well a business license would be. And I suspect you'd have to put the type or purpose of business on there.

      Is there a crack force of arcade investigators? No.

    • Somebody please tell me that a gubmint license is not necessary to operate an arcade in New York.

      Somebody please tell me that a gubmint license is not necessary to operate a bank in New York, it's a terrible distortion of the free market.
      Somebody please tell me that a gubmint license is not necessary to operate a fast food restaurant in New York, it's a terrible distortion of the free market.
      Somebody please tell me that a gubmint license is not necessary to operate as a dentist in New York, it's a ter

  • Nice place (Score:4, Informative)

    by lyinhart ( 1352173 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @01:41AM (#33158464)
    Yeah, Chinatown Fair is a great place. I remember that they were probably the first arcade in NYC to get Street Fighter IV a couple of years ago. Keep in mind that the game wasn't even officially available to U.S. arcade operators. And they shelled out for four Japanese style sit down cabinets (you needed two cabinets to play two-player versus games), which no doubt cost them thousands of dollars. They still had some of the older games though, including Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Chinatown Fair does cater to one-on-one fighting fans - I don't know any other arcade around that has Blazblue and Arcana Heart cabinets.

    It's too bad they're so out of the way though, they're almost hidden in a corner of Chinatown and blocks away from the subway station. So unless you're in Southern Manhattan or Western Brooklyn, it's a tough place to get to.
  • Such a shame (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 06, 2010 @02:07AM (#33158558)

    The arcade industry here in Japan is still thriving - I myself go to one in the middle of Shinjuku most days after school to play Border Break or goof off on other games. It's one thing I'm really going to miss once I head back to the States in a week and a half(among other things). Living in a suburb in central Jersey doesn't help in that regard too much after having lived in Tokyo.

    I suppose it's easier for arcades to survive in cities, where people commuting to and from work/school can stop by there and play a few rounds of Street Fighter or something, but the difference in gamers' tastes and preferences between America and Japan is like night and day. A lot of gamers my age and older(mid-to-upper 20s) seem to prefer older games almost as a result of the rise of stay-at-home Internet-connected game systems, whereas here in Japan people of all ages are always psyched about the next Gundam vs Gundam or Street Fighter or whatever the new big deal is. Maybe if we had up-to-date brand-new arcade games in the US, people would be more into it, but the difficulties in localizing arcade games from a country halfway around the world seem rather obvious.

    I'm just rambling, so don't mind this anonymous coward who can't remember if he has a /. account or not.

  • by mbstone ( 457308 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:09AM (#33158894)

    I arrived in '75 for my freshman year at NYU, and I was one of a group of students who hung around the pinball machines at the dorm. Steve was a fellow student, known as a wheeler-dealer and an elite scalper who could get you front row at Madison Square Garden for anything, the Who, the Stones, sections A and R, front orchestra. We would serve as his ticket-buying crew, often lining up all night behind the metal barricades of the MSG box office. Anyway, Steve somehow wrested the dorm pinball concession away from the existing operator. I got the job of pinball repairman. The pinball machines of '75 were strictly electromechanical Gottliebs and Willamses which, of course, used lots of relays, solenoids and stepping motors. In '76 the first solid state (TTL) machine came out, Spirit of '76. No more relays and stepping motors, only the solenoids and contact sensors (e.g. rollovers and bumpers) remained. What an interesting challenge to go from troubleshooting electromechanical logic to TTL! We had a Pong, but the first real arcade vidgame was Atari Starship One followed by some submarine-hunt game with a periscope. Next came Breakout, Clean Sweep, and Lunar Lander, followed closely by Asteroids, Pac-Man and Galaxians. These last were huge moneymakers; Steve decided to expand. He set himself up as vidgame and pin purveyor to various candy stores and bodegas. One of these was out in Flushing, Queens, it was called Space Age Amusements. One day I get a service call that all of the machines have gone haywire. I observe that it is a hot summer day. I remember the National Semiconductor TTL Handbook and that the operating temperature range for commercial grade TTL ICs is 0-100 degrees F. I tell Steve I have to go and get some boxer fans from one of the (former) electronics surplus stores on Canal Street. He thinks I'm nuts, but after I put the fans in the back of the machines they suddenly started working again (and the game OEMs started building fans into their products). Now Steve thinks I'm a genius. He calls me "the fan man." The mob owned the machine distributors, probably still do, and occasionally we would go out to Jersey or Pennsylvania to buy the equipment. One time I'm driving this van Steve borrowed from this mob guy. I stop for some cannoli on 11th street and park the van on the street. Unfortunately the wiseguy never paid his NYC parking tickets and the van got towed. Steve and I had to go and explain to the mob guy what happened to his van. That was an experience I won't soon forget.

    • One time I'm driving this van Steve borrowed from this mob guy. I stop for some cannoli on 11th street and park the van on the street. Unfortunately the wiseguy never paid his NYC parking tickets and the van got towed. Steve and I had to go and explain to the mob guy what happened to his van. That was an experience I won't soon forget.

      So how come you're not wearing a concrete overcoat and sleeping with the fishes?

      • by Toy G ( 533867 ) <toyg.libero@it> on Friday August 06, 2010 @06:38AM (#33159388) Homepage Journal

        Dunno about NYC, but European coin-op distributors have always been controlled by mafia cartel, and they still are (although videogames have been replaced by videopoker, slots and partygames). They make for excellent money-laundering devices: low profile, wildly different volumes of income depending on location, very distributed, loose accounting. Many large arcades also doubled up as drug markets in the early 90s (dark, full of youngsters...), before the authorities started to crack down on the practice. Nowadays, you can still find very small arcades on small streets far from the city centre, but you wouldn't dream of actually enter the place unless you're somehow affiliated with the mob.

  • Keep it Real, NYC. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by keatonguy ( 1001680 ) <keaton DOT prower AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:45AM (#33159004)

    We've got places like this back west in good ol' Portland, Oregon. There's a Barcade downtown that's all ages by day that rocks it just like this, and a pizza place nearby with some classics including an original Pac-Mac cabinet. The Wunderland is pretty solid too, especially since everything there costs 25 cents or less, but it's mostly ticket games these days.

    I'm still holding out hope for an arcade 'revival' of sorts. The idea of video games as a communal pastime has a lot of merit, all it'll take is a bright spark of an idea, the lure of something you can't do with a home console to incite the gamers from their living rooms, dungeons, and desktops and back into the epileptic glow of the arcade.

  • Thats if they're still in business at all. You won't find a video game anywhere on the premises. The only arcade I can think of that still has them is The Trocadero in london. How thats still in business is anyones guess since the few times I've been there in recent years its got fewer people than a ham sandwich festival in tel aviv.

    • by RMH101 ( 636144 )
      every motorwary service station has a video game room though. Plus most seaside towns have a few traditional arcades.
      • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

        You might have a point about the seaside towns , but every service station I've been to recently is just fruit machines :(

  • Why is it that Ms. Pac Man always makes it into retro games arcades, but hardly ever the original Pac Man? Back in their respective heydays, wasn't Pac Man way more popular than Ms. Pac Man? Is it a licensing issue? What gives?
  • I think one of the things that turned me off from arcades was the archaic controls. There was rarely an attempt to deviate from the standard joystick and button configuration. Granted - this was a setup that could withstand a lot of abuse - it by no means is friendly on the wrists.

    Additionally, something I noticed was deviating from games that encouraged you to play with friends. TMNT was a four player side scroller - how awesome was that? Even Daytona had the option to link at least 8 units together (proba

  • I've always wondered why arcades haven't gotten the same treatment as, say, radio parts. It's pretty rare to find a store for radio parts (or just electronic parts in general), but there are lots of stores that have a section for them (Radioshack (for now), for instance).

    To me, arcades would seem to go hand-in-hand with a video game store. Stick a few arcade machines in the back with one or two out front to lure people in. Those who come to play the arcades will likely browse the store and make a purchas

  • New York, NY, population 8,391,881 has 23 arcades. That's one for every 36,4864 people.

    San Rafael, CA, population 55,649 has 2 arcades. That's one for every 27,824 people. That's not counting Pinky's Pizza which has about 20 games in the back.

    Starbase Arcade has some really cool old school games. I've been drooling over the table version of Tempest that he has for years. He almost never turns it on because the color vector screen is impossible to replace. http://www.starbasearcade.com/locations.p [starbasearcade.com]
  • I have a pretty good friend who used to own a retro game arcade on State Street just off the UW Madison campus.
    Rising rent forced him to close down a few years ago, which has deprived me of playing the classic Star Wars arcade game circa 1983

    Occasionally the Wisconsin Historical Museum will fill their first floor exhibit space with his games.
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

    ArcadeControls [arcadecontrols.com].

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec