Friday, July 16, 2010

What the hell happened to the Arcade?

Last night, my oldest son and his best friend wanted to go to SEGA's Gameworks mega arcade to celebrate my son's 12th birthday and as luck would have it, it was "Play thru Thursday" where $10 gets you unlimited play from 7 pm to midnight off your swipe-card (apparently quarters are too cumbersome for the medicated, zero-attention span pre-teens and young adults of today's blank-stare society. It's four hours of unlimited gaming, how bad could it be?

Now, at age 12, I LIVED in the Arcade, often taking the Massachusetts Ave Bus from Mass Ave & Boylston (in the heart if Boston, where I grew up) to Putnam Square (past Central Square, but not Quite Harvard Square) and hit the arcade there. I would go with $10-$12 and easily be there three-to-four hours. Even when I had played my last quarter, either alone or with a few of my hommies, I would hang around and scope out "next week's games". The sounds, the colors, the lights, all of it was spell binding.

Last night... just awful. Too bright, too many repetitious games. Too many babies screaming, too many people there who had no interest in being there. WTF is up with that?!? You know why I don't go to cosmetic counters in department stores? Because I have no reason to be there! So--I--don't--go!! Young women (like, in their 20's to early 30's) there walking around, texting, bumping into people and then shooting them sour looks like the person they walked into is the idiot. Really? Get the hell out of here! Some of us want to actually have a good time here no one will think ill of you if you leave. Here, lets Google a local cab company on your Blackberry. Maybe you could actually speak to the person you are texting. Crazy huh? Anyway... BYE!! It's a lot like being in a movie theatre and some Jack-wagon (my new favorite semi-abusive, kid-friendly insult) pulls out a cell phone and starts texting during a movie. Alright, I'll be the one to have to say it... STOP IT!!

And the games? The arcade game has devolved into one of four main archetypes; The shooter (usually with a plastic simulated gun), the racer (could someone explain to me why TWO people are needed to drive ONE vehicle?), The Flight Sim and what I call the "Life Emulators" this will include Dance, Dance Revolution, Bass Hunter (you can figure this one out -- and yes, it is a fishing rod simulator!), Big game hunter (why does this exist?), air hockey and Guitar Hero: Arcade.

Babies? People, please, why are there 3-6 month-old kids there with you? Look, pick up the phone, you know, that blackberry or Smartphone you spend waaay too much money on that causes you to bump into people in Video Game Arcades? Call Grandma or a sibling or a neighbor to watch your kids for a few hours. I literally saw a couple with a 8-10 month old playing a shooting game inside a gaming booth with the little girl OUTSIDE the booth, holding the Mom's purse. I really just don't even know where to begin with that one...

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