Tag Archives: Space Invaders

Arcade dreams

Galaxian machineDiary date: 29th May, 1985

Galaxian, Pac-Man, Defender, Space Invaders, Track and Field, Star Wars. Worlds of wonder when anything seemed possible.

Engrossing, state-of-the-art video games in colourful, custom-made cabinets. Seedy arcades in gloomy rooms with sticky, concrete floors. Tumbling coins landing loudly on silver-metal trays. Piercing, earworm music looping endlessly. A grabbing claw, too frail to carry off its booty. Armies of upright fruit machines, bandits’ arms poised and ready. Air hockey, shoot ’em ups, water guns, penny falls, basketball and bingo. A horse race on sticks with a random, last-minute winner.

Games you wish you were good at.

Players huddled round glowing screens, murmuring appreciatively as the latest level starts. Initials rolling upwards in a slow scroll. A hi-score that speaks of unseen worlds.

Games you wish you had the cash to play.

Checking shiny trays for the forgotten coppers that could be just the start. Longing looks at the Change machine. Pinball wizards making their money last forever. Side-by-side racing cars with pedals the penniless players can’t reach. A game demo so good it saves the cost of feeding the hungry slots.

Games you sit inside. Games you stand on, or in front of, or next to. 1UP, 2UP, 3UP, 4UP.

Games you lose, and games you win. Games you play just to see what’s next.

Games you wish the girl from Art would watch you play.

A teenager in a glowing room, fingers dancing on a complex controller. Hypnotic, immersive action on a rich, realistic screen.

A headset with a microphone. Go left. I’ll look upstairs. Invisible collaborators from across the town and around the world. Competitors, enemies, teammates. Cover me, I’m going in. Hi-scores constantly redefined as ratings, reaction times or efficiency. Games played with whoever you want, whenever they’re there. Fly solo or assemble the dream team.

Games you lose, and games you win.

Games that check your heartbeat and sense your movement. Watch and be watched.

Games you play just to see what’s next.

Games you wish the girl from Art would watch you play.


(Image credit: http://www.coinopspace.com)