Arcade Childhood


Some parts of my Family are from Leigh On Sea, Essex, and throughout my childhood and early teens, I would occasionally travel from London to Southend, during the Summer Seasons

Recounting a childhood leading to a life with the love of the Arcade - Guest Writer Cheeky Crissy recounts his youth. Follow on Twitter here:

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I loved the fairground, the food, the pretty lights, (Mini Golf anyone?) but I REALLY looked forward to going to the Arcade.

As a small boy ‘Galaga’ ‘Space Invaders’ or ‘Pacman’, were the first arcade games I was ever introduced to.  

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The Arcade was truly where my obsession & relationship began with gaming.

In the 80’s & 90’s, you were either a fan of Bedroom Indie gaming, Console gaming, or Home Computer gaming. But there was another gaming culture I truly connected with and that was Arcade gaming.

I’m literally playing on machines that have SO much more graphical power thrown at me, than the machines I played on at home.

And it’s not so much that, it was sociable, playing with other gamers either in Co – Op ‘Gauntlet’ (Dammit they shot the food!) or against ‘Streetfighter’.

(I can’t even write this article without mentioning the Streetfighter series, because although the first game wasn’t much to work with or look at, it was the SEQUEL that came afterwards, that was the real game changer!) 

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One popular gaming type that stood out for me was, Arcade Conversions for the home. 

And most of us either looked on in amusement, debated, (or even PRAYED) that the game in question, LOOKED like the game we played for countless hours and threw money into. 

During that time, I was playing games on a humble Amstrad CPC computer that looked NOTHING like the machines I worshipped at the Seafront. 

And it took a few Christmases of begging my dad for a 16 bit machine, after drooling over screenshots of the latest games in the gaming Publications of the time. 

Even then, games were close in terms of looks and gameplay, (It was still miles apart from it) but honestly, you really go to the Arcade for the EXPERIENCE.

Sure, you could play ‘Outrun’, ‘Space Harrier’ Or ‘AfterBurner’ at home,  but you’re never going have that experience of being thrown around in Hydraulic seats, with Stereo sound blasting through your earballs.  

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You went to the Arcade back then, because it was nothing like you could have at home.

It was like going to the Cinema. It was just a completely different experience.

Consoles today are pretty much evenly matched to what’s out there & to be fair, for us Arcade gamers back then pining of owning an ‘Arcade perfect’ game,  Sorta / kinda got what we wanted.

It was a classic case of ‘They were so preoccupied with whether they could, they never stopped to think if we ‘Should’.  (Jeff Goldblum – Jurrassic Park)

Any gamer that sees a new game at an arcade these days would be like “I’ll wait till it’s available on console” – Like they were waiting for a movie to come out on Netflix.

I’m personally loving the revival of arcades here in UK, Like Arcains in Liverpool, Arcade Club in Bury, Manchester, Four Quarters in London & Neon Knights in Essex, all places that would instantly bring me back to my Childhood & there’s a positive community out there that you could hang with and reminisce of the Golden Age of Gaming.

(Maybe talking of Playing ‘Golden Axe’ or the game I absolutely obsessed over, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’)

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Even today if I’m at a Gaming Con and there’s a machine that I would recognize, like an ‘Operation Wolf’ Or a ‘Double Dragon’ or even a ‘Star Wars’ Deluxe cabinet from 1983, I’m there! THIS was my era and I would absolutely 100% defend it!

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Some people, outside of gaming (Or even the modern gamers) would give us retro-gamers the ‘Side eye’ but I would honestly tell them, that it’s no different from listening to a favorite song, or watching a movie, over and over that you remember & loved from your childhood.

And you can’t take that away from anybody.

Article by Cheeky Crissy 

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