One pound, in tens please

After a quick browse around our wonderful site it amazed me that no one has yet touched on the fabled temples we used to haunt.  The areas of sanctuary where like-minded individuals gathered to preach at the altar of weeny joysticks and large round buttons.  The smoke filled dens where only the wise entered, but more importantly the educated left.  Arcades.  To some people this could mean a small gathering of shops but to others it was gaming bloody nirvana.  Sadly in today’s towns and cities, the gaming arcade is a thing of the past, yes they are still there but most are populated with jackpot machines and the like, no hint of the gaming heritage they once housed.

Before great swathes of you start shouting that you still have working arcades (lucky gits) I base my knowledge on the Glasgow area where the arcades have all but vanished.  Many years ago we had loads of them here and most had the most up to date games they could get, ranging from Outrun to Point Blank, Ghosts and Goblins to R-Type and so on – we really were spoilt for choice.  My local town, Hamilton, had two arcades; one was attached to a cafe and was a bit naff, the other aptly called “Electronic Experience”, was a mecca for us.  After passing the puggy machines (fruit machines) you changed your pound for coins and entered into arcade machine heaven.  The first game I played here was Ghosts and Goblins and it was awesome, hard as nails but just so good. I also dabbled in Space Harrier in a stand up form, but fab none the less.  Back in those days one pound could last you for over an hour depending on your skills, plus for that one pound you could play ten different games!  Try doing that today. 

Sir Arthurs\' first time

The great thing about the arcades was that they were infinitely better than any of the home systems we had.  It was a place where we went to play games as they were meant to be: fantastic graphics, awesome sound, huge monitors, perfect controllers and we often came out totally in awe of what we had just played. 

It’s a real shame that the same cannot be done today really, our consoles are the pinnacle of gaming, we can play on huge TVs with surround sound and there really is nothing better.  Sure arcade machines are still getting made but they are not far enough removed from the consoles to justify the one pound a go price.  We all live in the knowledge that if a modern arcade game is good then it will be ported to the consoles making it a more cost effective prospect.  We never used to think that way, it was good to see home conversions but they were mostly naff compared to their arcade machine parents; that is what made the arcade such a great place to go.  Now think about this: being able to go to a room where like minded gamers were all playing games, outside of the home, socialising, interacting and competing – a great concept indeed.

this is heaven

To put all of this into some kind of context, a game for the home consoles today averages at £40.00.  In old money that translates to 400 arcade credits, that is 400 shots of a game, and if you were good that would equal a long time gaming.  I can complete the Star Wars Trilogy arcade game on one credit, which was 30p, but that was for twenty minutes of gaming joy.  Just think you wouldn’t have to worry about trade ins or losing the instructions, you just turn up and play kind of like being a human enabled Universal Plug and Play device.

We have to respect the fact that the arcades were where our consoles were born.  The technology on show was the precursor to modern machines, many, many ideas were tried and tested in the arcades years before we got to take them home.  Without the arcades we would have nothing just now, if you have one near you and you’ve never been, go, and treat it like a museum of our hobby.  You can even leave donations in the machines for their upkeep, plus you get to have a game or two.  Just don’t resent the fact that I used to play for 10p a go, just feel really jealous that you now have to fork out a pound.

So now I am going to list some of my all time favourite arcade games, please all join in and tell me what yours were.

Robocop R-Type Space Harrier
uphold the law bydo bastards welcome to the fantasy
Virtua Tennis Sega Rally Operation Wolf
love, me? long medium right Uzi 9mm







8 responses to “One pound, in tens please”

  1. John.B avatar

    Ahhh, I remember playing Virtua Fighter and Mortal Kombat on arcade on the top floor of Debenhams in Argyle Street in Glasgow. Happy days.

  2. Skill avatar

    I played it all in my day (far too many to list my favourites), and my collection of XBLA titles seems to include all the older titles.

    But there is an all-time champ.
    Street Fighter II: Championship Edition ate more 10p coins than all the other games in the arcade.
    And I was so good that when a good versus queue was going, I could make my 10p last hours. 🙂
    Good times.

  3. Dave avatar

    The Simpsons Arcade Game – I remember almost finishing this in Blackpool one year when I was there with my parents. I spent so much money on it too. The four player cabinet was superb. If I was rich enough I would buy it for my flat…I can only dream…

    I’m also partial to Time Crisis 2 and House of the Dead, superb games 😀

  4. Nick avatar

    Well te arcade bear em up like Simpsons and Xmen. Then of course Street Fighter and Motal Kombat. Oh God those were the days!!!!!

  5. Michael avatar

    I was gobsmacked at pictures of the Trocadero… mere pictures! It looks like a hotel or something to me, not an entertainment thing. It was a culchie moment, I think.

    I had an arcade once, I played Operation Wolf, maybe some Time Crisis, this sort of skiing or snowboarding game and maybe other stuff. The place that had the arcade got bombed when there was a nightclub (the River Club) there. Perhaps certain paramilitaries despised clubbers?

  6. Retro Boy G (Games Centre Manager) avatar
    Retro Boy G (Games Centre Manager)

    You forgot to mention that there is still an awesome Arcade in Hamilton.. well with one Astro City.. but that is still awesome! SF3 anyone?

  7. Razgate avatar

    I remember one time when i was a Largs a friend and i were watching a guy with a cast on his arm playing Street Fighter 2 which obviously made us want to play ,after we blew off all of the powder he left behind we had a good few shots, unfortunately i was getting a bit of stage fright cos a crowd gathered due to the fact that we could do “ROOGINS” as they called them.
    After that we decided to have a go at The Simpsons arcade game which we completed, i was well chuffed.

    I have too many faves so i’ll try and keep the list short.
    In no particular order

    Turtles in time
    Street Fighter
    Mortal Kombat
    Super Mario Bros.
    Indiana Jones
    Thunder Blade
    Time Killers
    Metal Slug
    Alien VS Predator
    and many,many more

  8. Derm avatar

    Hey, Was back reading a bunch of articles to get a feel for the site had to comment on this with a few of my favorites

    X-Men arcade – The best 4 player experience i ever had the pleasure of playing huge 3 screen cabinet with 6 playable characters

    WWF Wreastlemania – The Mocap fighter not the older animated one

    Sega Rally – Mmmm Forest direction Goodness

    Daytona Usa – as a child Rolling starts just made it more exciting

    Snow Bros – Never finished this evil game, it just liked eating my money

    Bust a Move – Puzzle bobble whatever

    New Zealand Story – Cute little birdy

    Metal Slug – Nazi’s, Zombies and aliens O, My!

    Snk Fatal fury/KOF – Fighting series gods

    Justice league – 2D fighter, i still think its better than MK vs DC

    Avengers – Ugh scrolling beat em up i had to finish just to make the comic geek in me shut up

    Capcoms scrolling beat em ups
    – Captain commando
    – Cadillacs and dinosaurs among the metric ass tonne of others which were delightfully entertaining

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