Timeless Thoughts: Arcade Games

Timeless Thoughts

It’s time for another round of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly blog link-up hosted by Georgie and me. This month is being hosted by Georgie, so head over to her blog and join up by submitting your post to the widget at the end of Georgie’s entry! This link-up is opened for two weeks, and your entry can be about anything you find unforgettable from your past or present! It can be an object, an event, a person — anything goes — and you can have more than one thing you miss. For this month, here’s what I’ve been missing lately!

Arcade Games (Image from Arstechnica)

My parents bowled in bowling leagues, so growing up I spent a lot of times at the bowling alley. While they bowled, I’d read, play with other kids who were there, and play arcade games. Of the three options, playing arcade games was probably my favourite thing to do in the bowling alley. Back then, the bowling alley had a ton of arcade games, and if I wasn’t playing them at the bowling alley, I’d also play them at the food court and the hotel on base. Let’s just say I had immense fun with button mashing in games like Mortal Kombat, playing shooting games like House of the Dead, and pinballing with games like Rescue 911.

I vividly remember playing Pac-Man. I was four or five, and I recall my parents giving me a quarter or two so I could play the game. I was fascinated with video games since. I never could play Pac-Man well, nor is it a game I actually like, but it introduced me to a world of video games and I haven’t looked back since.

Quarter Roll Wrap (Image from Staples)

The only problem was, as a kid, I didn’t have the funding I have as an adult, so getting the money to play the games required me to beg and plead for those quarters! Normally my parents only gave me like $2.00 worth of quarters, but I always wanted those $10.00 roll of quarters! Those thing meant hours of gaming for me, but I hardly ever received those. I think I received three or four rolls in my childhood. To me, those rolls were precious!

The bowling alley, food court, and the hotel no longer have those arcades, but there are the Korean ones off-base. However, with home consoles and handheld consoles, I don’t go to arcades any more. In a way I don’t miss them much because of the games I have now, but I miss what they represented for me as child and how the physical arcade machines feel. Things like pinball machines are better when you have the actual machine in front of you for the entire tangible experience. You can hear and feel when the balls collide into all the obstacles in the machine. The 8-bit music of those games has a charming quality to it. There’s all the buttons to push and the joysticks to twist and turn. I miss that, and I’m not the only one apparently. My boss was telling me that she saw a Pac-Man arcade machine at the bowling alley in another base, and while her kids bowled, she played the game, which made her feel so nostalgic! She told me this event, and that’s what inspired me to finally pick a topic for this month’s Timeless Thoughts column!

Did you play arcade games? What were some of the ones you enjoyed playing? Do you still go to arcades? Share your experiences with me in the comments!


  1. Oh gosh, I love arcade games! I was (still am 😉) THE best at Galaga! It is my all time favorite arcade game. Now you have me all nostalgic, LOL.

    • Yay! If I made you nostalgic, then I’ve achieved my goal with this post ^____^ I had to look up Galaga but once I saw the photo I knew what game you’re talking about :D

  2. I didn’t get to go to the arcade that often as a child, but when we did, they definitely were precious memories. I still remember my first time there with my whole family and family friends. I wanted to play the driving games, but I was only 4 so I needed my dad to help me drive. ^^;;

    • LOL! The driving ones didn’t come out for me until I was like 3rd or 4th grade, so by then I was able to drive them myself XD

  3. I don’t know why but we never had classics like Pacman in the arcades near our place. :( Hahaha! I love shooting up zombies and even people when playing. I think it’s Resident Evil and I forgot the name of the other one. I still play it once in a while. Always a child at heart so I’m not that nostalgic yet. As long as they don’t shut down the arcades!

    • Woot! I hope they won’t shut them down for a long time! I’m kind of surprise that some arcades are still thriving, actually!

  4. I love arcades! I actually frequented them more as an adult than as a child. When I was younger, I’d stop by the arcade whenever I was at the mall and get in a few DDR games before leaving. Then when I went to college, there were 3 arcades right by campus! My friends and I would go to them often, and even after graduating college, my husband and I would return to them.

    A few years ago, we discovered a really big one not far from our house. Half of it are old school pinball machines, and the other half are arcade games, so we started going to that one once in a while. I prefer to play games at home, but I agree it’s not the same as the arcades. There is a nice feel about being in one and hearing all the sounds and being on the large machines.

    • I did Pump It Up (Korean version of DDR) a lot when I was in high school! Those were the only arcade games I’ve played then!

      I miss pinball machines! We had one at work, but it broked so that went away. :(

  5. I loved going to the arcade with my family! There’s a chain in the Philippines called the Timezone, and you can reload a card with credit that can be used in any of their arcades.

    I was all about DDR. XD There was also this coin game that my sister and I didn’t really understand how to play. You insert your coins in the machine, and if it lands in the right spot, you can get a ton of coins back. We had no idea you can convert these coins to tickets which you can then use for for prizes. So we just put them back in the machine till we ran out. Oops!

    • I’ve no idea what the coin game you’re talking about! But it kind of sucked you guys didn’t know how to get those tickets! Oops, indeed! At least now you know :D

      And the card method sounds handy! But I think I still prefer the coins XD

  6. I never really went to them as a child. I lived in a seaside town so they were always just… there. They were the things tourists did when they weren’t on the beach.

    Now, though? So much love. I can spend hours playing on some of them. Especially 2p falls or racing games!

    • Yay! Glad you’re enjoying them now. They are a fun way to kill time and reminiscence with!

  7. I played them a little when I was younger, but not a ton. I grew up in a gaming family so we always had some kind of game system to play on. Arcades could be fun though!

  8. The arcade is awesome! Even though I always dreaded playing the 8/16-bit games, I learned to appreciate them because they’d bring in lots of challenges where I would spend hours on a level.

    I wonder how many hours of fun (in quarters) would equate to a home console today XD.

    I don’t really play arcade games these days. At the most, I would go to the arcade to play newschool games that’s Vegas style XD. Though, the classic ones I enjoy are the motorcycle/car driving ones!

    • No idea how many hours would equate to home consoles, but I imagine it depends on how much you’re playing and what you’re playing :3 I know RPGs and all those long games are better on a home console!

      Ooooh! Driving games — reminds me of Crusin’ USA, which I adored!

  9. I briefly played arcade games in my youth but since being born in ’89 I don’t remember the hayday of arcade games, but I think they are coming back with the new arcade place: Round 1. I’ve been in there and loved it!

    • I think it’s good that there are still arcades for later generations to enjoy! :D

  10. I miss arcades, but there has been a huge spike in barcades (arcade bars) here in the US, so I get my fix of vintage video games (seriously, they have some pretty nice, old school games) and alcohol at the same time. I used to go a lot when I lived in Chicago– made for great dates, but now that I’m single, living in a ridiculously expensive city and don’t like to drink or spend money on going out as much– I haven’t been to the one here in SF. I want to go again, and have been to a couple of pretty old school “arcades” (Musee Mechanique is great) but I do miss just playing some games.

    • Barcades? That’s a new one on me! Thanks for introducing that XD I think someone was telling me just now that there’s a new bar in my area that offers free gaming if you order a drink. I need to check that out one day ^^

  11. That would have been such a great experience and I can understand why you would have wanted those $10 rolls, that would have felt like winning the lottery of fun! xD

    • Indeed, it is a lottery of fun! That’s a great way of putting it :3

  12. I love arcades! In my home city, there used to be a big arcade place – it was like the size of a big mall! xD I used to go there a lot with my family and friends – using up my saved pocket money! Those days were the best, they unfortunately demolished it though when arcade games became less popular and there was the move into consoles!

    I used to play car games, shooting zombie games and of course, Pac Man.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! A shame that place was demolished, but it’s understandable since home consoles did take over most of the arcade gaming industry . . .

      I like the games you used to play XD Those are a fun variety!

  13. I definitely played a lot of arcade games as a kid. And of course, the quarters were an issue for me too! Because my family was poor, haha!! My orthodontist had an arcade machine with the original Super Mario so I played a lot of that. We still have arcade machines in bars but not with the games I like! :(

    • You know I don’t think I’ve ever played the original Super Mario on the arcade machine! I’ve only always played the home console versions!

  14. I love arcade games, most of them can be simulated on computer now but it’s not the same. For a long time there were still arcade games in the gaming centres here – we have a place called Galaxy World in the city that has a few of them – but many of them have modern games now. Still, I don’t think they have died down yet. I love the 8-bit quality, as someone who played old games like a Kings Quest and Commander Keen, I found their simply graphics so charming, it brought more fun to the game. Now everything is too focused on having amazing graphics and there is a sacrifice in how enjoyable the gameplay is.

    • Yeah, the computer simulated ones doesn’t feel quite the same unless it was originally a computer game.

      In a way I like the games with pretty graphics, but if they sacrifice gameplay for it, then that’s not good either!

  15. Adrianne on

    Psh, oh hell yes LOL. Asteroids, Pac-Man, Missile Command, my cousins (all male) really exposed me to them, and I think they were trying to make me think like a guy, which was why my parents weren’t really keen on letting me go with them to the arcades before.

    And then when we moved here in the U.S., I begged for going to the local arcades here, even though they already bought me and my brother the NES so we didn’t have to leave the house just to play games. And then high school game and a small arcade place opened and then Street Fighter II came to my life LOL. The rest is history.

    When it comes to games, I’m one of those weird ones who prioritized gameplay over the graphics. I mean, sure, the graphics are always the eyecandy, but it won’t help me enjoy a particular game unless I grow to love its gameplay. ^^

    • Ahhh! The memories of Street Fighter and button mashing . . . those were the day. Thanks for sharing your arcade gaming history :) Sounds like it was a great way to bond with your cousins ^^

  16. Going to arcades was always fun! :) When I was a kid, my favorite was this Star Wars Podracer racing game. It was cool because they had a cockpit, so I felt like I was racing for real!

    It was a fun treat to go to the arcade for my siblings and I because my parents didn’t like taking us often. They thought playing too much video games “kills braincells.” haha…

    • LOL! My mum never liked me playing video games because she claimed it wasn’t good for me! But my dad allowed me, much to her dismay, and she finally gave up on trying to get me to quit video games after he bought me a Gameboy and an SNES! :D

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