The year was 1984. A certain fruit-logo’d computer company had run an iconic ad on television announcing a line of computers that would ultimately mostly fail but lay the groundwork for an electronics revolution in decades to come.
I was a 5 year old in Smurf pajamas when that ad ran.
There was very little in the world that sparked my interest than when dad would flip me a couple quarters to sit down and play Pacman on the arcade table at the Red Roof – Pizza Hut in Clarksville, Indiana.
The 80’s and 90’s arcade, really helped to define a lot of who I am today. Bands like Journey, Prince, Phil Collins, Jefferson Starship & more would pump from speakers in musty, kinda-dirty, overcrowded arcades while America’s youth would feed quarters into machines in hopes of seeing their name on high score lists or while playing head-to-head with other players.
When we moved to Alabama, I didn’t know anyone besides people that connected to my Warez BBS (google it), so I’d occupy my time by riding my bike to the local Gas Station to spend every possible quarter I could find playing Mortal Kombat head-to-head versus other looser kids.
Game Consoles, or the idea of them were considered mostly laughable. It was for this reason, the NES was actually referred to as a “control deck”, Nintendo trying to sneak around the failures of so many tv-attached game systems and family “computers.”
It’s both sad and intriguing that “The Arcade” is basically a dying industry.
Arcades killed the first game systems.
Nintendo gave birth to a new breed of “consoles”
Eventually, consoles all but killed Arcades
..now smartphone games stand to kill console gaming.
So, when we recently moved into a house with an unfinished basementesque storage area beneath the living room, I was anxious to get started on my own nod to the 80s and 90s arcade genre, pictured here. I mean, who DOESN’T like an arcade??
I had really no official budget for this project, so everything that I bought or acquired, I did so on-the-cheap. I first halved the storage area by making a wall out of $9 clearance’d indoor-outdoor rugs from Target and my handy stapler used for stretching canvas.
For sound, a $180 Klipsch/Denon receiver speaker set I found at a Best Buy. (Ahem, more than a little drama on that purchase.. but it all worked out..) Music is supplied by our Kindle fire and a side-loaded copy of Spotify with my “80’s and 90’s Arcade Music” playlist that I frequently tweak.
I found 72 –pin cartridge connectors and repaired my original NES (still had it).
A Sony Dreamcast, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64 & xBox 360 round out the other systems in the room, connected to a Optimo Pico Projector (a $100 craigslist acquisition) The projector is mounted with an upside-down Manfrotto tripod from Best Buy’s open-box section, affixed to the rafters with all-strap.
Then, I found Wayne.
Wayne Pully is a late 60’s/ early 70’s ish super-nice guy and proprietor of Waynes World of Home Amusements, located somewhere in the dangly-part of Florida. J
I found his site from a Craigslist ad, basically (I’ll be in Pensacola Area around July 9th, order and I’ll deliver the machines at that time).
So, this week, Wayne and his lovely and sweet wife Grace, drove from Pierson, Florida to Spanish Fort, Alabama to visit with family and drop off the game systems you see here. An Air Hockey Table, A Foosball Table, A Mortal Kombat Arcade machine, a 309-in-1 Multicade and a 60-in-1 Cocktail Multicade (back in the back of the room, on the other side of the foosball, beneath the stretched out sheet acting as a projector screen)
… all for less than you’d pay for a really good Digital Camera and lens..
The room will continue being a work in progress and in a year or so, I hope to reclaim the full space from storage to use as arcade. For now, I’m very happy with the result, considering everything … My kids will love the space, for us to play in, my wife will love the space because the kids will be out of her hair.
A place to visit, enjoy a nice craft beer and listen to the soundtrack from an Adam Sandler movie. Really, how better to spend a Saturday?
If you are in the Florida area and would like a MultiCade, Pinball or other system, I’d recommend you jump over to 2waynesworld.com and check out Wayne’s ever-growing and ever-changing selection - a veritable arcade-bone yard, ripe for refurbishment, which he does.
That’s http://www.2waynesworld.com . Thanks, Wayne. It was great to have met you and your wife and we’re looking forward to having you back the next time you’re in town! Keep an eye out for that Star Wars Pinball machine!