I think we all need at least one
really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single
day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something
simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may
be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to
aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll
be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you
readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will
get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with
you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun
things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.

9.14.10
By
David Oliver:  Author Page

What I’m Thankful For

Arcades

This is more of a what I was thankful for.  And I continue to lament the fact that it’s getting harder and harder to find quality arcades in this country, at least in Los Angeles.  Playstation, XBOX and all the other home games have gotten simply amazing, but there was and will always be something to me – part of probably the first generation that grew up with video games – that heartily enjoyed an afternoon spent trying to either get Mario up that friggin’ skyscraper, blow things to shit with Contra, kick ass and get ass kicked on the original Mortal Kombat, Ring King, Elevator Action, Victory Road, Heavy Barrel, Dungeons and Dragons, Nightstriker, WWE Wrestlefest and WWE Superstars, Vanguard, Final Fight, Burning Fight, Moon Patrol, Metal Slug, House of the Dead, Carrier Airwing and too many more titles to even remember.

I grew up in and around Louisville, KY.  There used to be a great arcade in the old Galleria in downtown on 4th Street.  Saturday mornings, I used to scrape together $2.50, hop on the bike, crank myself about four or five miles across the Ohio River on the 2nd Street Bridge, get to the arcade at 10:00 AM, get the $5 worth of tokens for the two bills and two quarters I had clutched in my hand (the best deal ever) and easily be able to kill at least four hours.  Then I’d hop back on the bike for the return trip, and look forward to the next encounter with my video nemeses.  Kept a kid in shape and out of trouble.  When I was 14, my best friend and I spent our last day hanging together making that arcade trip, which we did a few times.  He was killed the next day riding his bicycle on that very same 2nd Street Bridge.

Even when I was in college, there was a pretty good arcade at the River Falls Mall, which is now some kind of fucking gigantic bass shop since the entire mall, which was less than 20 years old, folded.  Southern Indiana….  I found a couple of good arcades here in LA when I first moved here in 1996.  Los Angeles Community College on Vermont Street had two (now just one), there was one on the Santa Monica Pier, not sure it it’s still there now.  There is one of the sleaziest arcades downtown on Broadway between 7th and 8th Streets.  You had to make your way past the homeless, the t-shirt and sunglass vendors and all of the other Downtown LA wildlife to get there.  And that arcade was just as clean as the outside environs, which is to say not very. 

There was a fantastic arcade across the street from Pasadena City College.  It had more games than almost any arcade I’d ever been in.  Folded about four or five years ago from what I gather.  I believe there’s still one in Westwood.  It was an upscale but small and overpriced joint.  Didn’t go there very often unless I was bumming around the Westwood shops.  Used to be a really handy arcade across from Westside Pavilion on the corner of Overland and Pico.  That got turned into a mattress wholesaler over a decade ago.  There are some arcades still to be found in malls.  But typically, they only have the ultra new games that cost about a buck to play for one credit. 

Good arcades, especially good arcades with good games both old and new, are indeed a dying breed.  But I was thankful for them while I had them.