When I was a teenager we had to find somewhere to go, somewhere that kept us entertained, gave us something to look forward to and something we enjoyed!
So I’m 17 maybe 18 years old and started to drive, the next town has just built a spanking new shopping center which includes a cinema, ice rink and we have heard some games were there. What's that.....games you say....do you mean an arcade!? My mates and I tried to confirm these rumours of an arcade near to us. At the time, the most local arcade cab was either a poor Space Invader rip off in the chippy or maybe a bus trip to the coast!
There was nothing else we could do but buckle up and make a trip to this promised land!
On arrival at the shopping center we looked and hunted for the arcade..we found nothing but shops, shops and shops. Disapointed we decided to spend our coins in the new McDonalds which had a flashy drive thru.
We trundled off, heads hanging in shame as we realized we have been duped by word of mouth (no internet back then!). But wait.....as we walked through the gangway to the exit we heard the unmistakable sound of do do do do do do doooooooo Daytona and that video game explosion of noise you can only get at an arcade!
Our heads rose in unison and we started to walk that funny fast walk we all laugh at! Then there it was positioned in between a bar and a restaurant.....was the arcade.
Blue, pink and red neon lights lined the white walls and the sounds of dozens of arcades mixed the airwaves with electronic white noise! We starred at each other in delight and we went in our separate directions to find the games we wanted to play.
My heart was pumped as I could see Daytona racing, Sega Rally and the Enduro Racer cab all lined in one area of this packed arcade. Immediately I took out my wallet and pumped a £10 note into the change machine to receive ten pound coins!
What do I play? Holding two or three quid in my hand I stand behind a guy thundering bullets through an Uzi on a Operation Wolf arcade game, his game ends and he moves on. I slip a coin into the slot and the sound of new credit rings in my ears as the cab fires up.
I love this game because its louder then many in the arcade and the cold heavy metal Uzi that feels very real (apart from the small red grenade button). I take aim down the gun as if i know what I'm doing! The game starts and I just start pumping electronic bullets into the enemy. The screen flashes with every round I let off! There is no feeling like it, the sound bounces through my ears and the kickback from the gun shakes my hand which makes it difficult to aim!. But before I know it, the game was over. But the high was still there.
There were plenty of other games to play, Mortal Kombat constantly had a bunch of school kids locked around it, bags on the floor all trying to get that death move out of the game. Finish Him you could hear them cry!
More sophisticated games of the time like Virtua Fighter shone through with its bright colour and pumping soundtrack. There was also that punchbag game were we all tried to 'out do' each other by getting the hardest punch, and yes it was a big boost to your status with your mates if you got the highest score on that game!
But soon after after a few games on other machines I would keep £2 or 3 quid back for my last few games, desperately trying to make my cash last longer. But every time the last few quid would be pumped into the two seater Daytona cab, where my mates and I would race around the track, changing views because it made it feel faster.
We would get excited as we raced side by side, resisting the temptation to take each other off the track as we wanted to win. One of us would make the countdown and get that extra lap or few seconds on the game and would have the bragging rights all the way home!
Then that was that, money spent, games played and rush over. We found the rumour of an arcade to be true, we found it, and spent alot of time visiting or hanging out there. But as with all arcades it wasn't long before it was replaced by something else, even though it was rammed with kids every time we played there.
So now the Arcade at the Galleria Shopping Center becomes a memory, just like the arcade scene is now to many but I will always remember.
Written by @Rollie3333