Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Until I f---ing die or until I am incapable of doing it anymore.” - No Country for Old Arcades is great

photo credit: Oscar Chang

Geez, the arcade industry in the US is a mess. When was the last time you went to an arcade? Never? The only one left in Fort Collins is that god-forsaken Tilt in the Foothills Fashion Mall, and it's a microcosm for why arcades are dead across the country - the games are all ten years old and broken in some way, the guy at the front desk is surly and unhelpful, and the whole endeavor feels unnecessary and pointless.

So thank goodness that Jared Rea of Gametap decided to start writing No Country for Old Arcades - the first article series I've seen to cover the few remaining worthwhile arcades in the United States with professionalism and a genuine interest.

The first article covers Sunnyvale Golfland, which used to be a testing location for many of the biggest arcade game developers back in the 80s. He speaks to the current owner, Jason Kenny, along with expert fighting game player John Choi, and ends up piecing together the location's importance in video game history, along with some ideas as to why arcades in the US are in their current, sad state.

The second article, on the other hand, focuses its attention on the absolutely insane Keystone II, which is a guy's house. A house with many arcade games in it, but a house nonetheless. The owner, who is referred to only as "Albert," allows a limited number of people - all hardcore fighting game players - to come to his house via reservation on Keystone II's web site. He maintains the machines in his home on a donation basis, and his wife is eerily accepting of the endeavor.

Both articles are excellent pieces of mag writing, so go read them. Rea plans on visiting more great arcades in the coming weeks, and I'm looking forward to seeing what places he digs up and puts in the spotlight. With arcades close to dead in the US (and rapidly moving in that direction in Japan according to a recent Reuters article), they deserve all the attention they can get, y'know?


Jeff Browne said...

Nice tone, and interesting topic. Though other gamers are clearly your intended audience, it's still a readable blog so far.

Keep it up.


Matt Brown said...

I can still remember dumping a copious amount of quarters into Time Crisis at my local arcade as a kid. Good times, but I'm not rushing out to fill my house with arcade machines...yet... Cool post!

Slonie said...

This is a cool series, it looks like. I still haven't forgiven SVGL for getting rid of Daytona though...Maybe I'm old-fashioned.

It's amazing to think back to when Strider was on location-test there. A lot of history under the roof there.

Slonie said...

Also, holy crap, KS2 is in San Jose...I guess nothing like going to Keystone II for some gaming in a guy's house then heading over to The Veldt, which is a bar in some dude's basement that I've been to. Yeah, really.