I mostly prefer playing arcade games by myself.
Crazy, right? Given how much people praise the social aspect of arcades—myself included—you’d think I’d be most inclined to gather a group of friends before hitting the proverbial scene. That’s simply not the case.
Most of the time, I visit a given arcade with the explicit intention of completing a given title. Such a focused initiative is much better suited to solo sessions, during which I tightly manage my time and money.
I suppose my fondness for going it alone is carryover from my console habits. As much as I enjoy playing competitive or cooperative multiplayer with my brothers, I find it considerably more satisfying to see an engaging single-player adventure all the way to the end credits.
But wouldn’t you know it? Playing arcade games with other people is actually kinda fun.
Last week, I briefly mentioned the trip to Gatti’s Pizza in Murray, Kentucky I took with three of my friends October 31, 2020. The night began with the usual victual-gorging shenanigans before we decided to peruse the game room.
Now, I’ve certainly been to the Gatti’s game room before. (In fact, I’ve said some mean things about it that I probably shouldn’t have.) This trip, however, showed me what social gaming really looks like.
The four of us took turns playing the two-player Jurassic Park. When one person would die, another would take or his her place. We pushed through the story mode using a baggy of quarters I’d brought with me. When we emptied that bag, I had an idle player dash to the change machine and break some of my bills.
Miraculously, we ended up completing the game on a more than reasonable $7.50—and had an absolute blast doing so. We capped off the night by playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nippon Marathon, Fight of Gods, and Dragon Ball Fighterz back at the dorm.
Because I’m such a gosh danged hermit, this sort of experience felt remarkably fresh to me. So fresh, in fact, that I plan to continue during the spring semester, showing my friends all the games they may have missed since we started college.
I think what I witnessed closely resembles the description many adult gamers have provided to me of the 1980s/‘90s arcade atmosphere. We were a gaggle of kooky kids whittling away our funds on video games over the Halloween weekend. You don’t see that quite as often in the modern era.
As with last week, today’s article isn’t breaking news or even an intensive review. I simply wanted to share a more personal view of coin-op based on my recent life events. I truly hope you enjoyed what I shared.