Why I used to go to arcades

If you made the rounds to all the local arcades, you would start to notice archetypes in almost all of them.

First, we had the proprieter. They came in two types: those you could never find, and those that you could never get rid of. The ones you couldn’t find were a problem if the bills you had were not the right denomination to use in the change machine, or of the change machine was broken (which turned out to be about half of the time). The ones that you couldn’t get rid of were even more irritating, especially if you were the only one in the arcade. He (and yes, it was always a sweaty fat man) would talk to you nonstop about how rad whatever game you’re playing is, what he saw at the last video game show he went to, or (and this is my favorite) tell you all the “secrets” and “ending” to whatever game you’re playing.

There is also my personal favorite, the “Boy Friend”. This is the guy that would come up to the machine you were playing on, skip the obligatory “Mind if I play too?”, drop some quarters into the machine, and quietly say to his girlfriend, “Watch this.” You then go ahead and savagely beat him at whatever game you’re playing (probably a fighting game). Then, convinced that you’re cheating, he walks off with his girlfriend. Yeah, I can do a 70-hit Ultra combo, and all you have is a girlfriend. Who’s the winner now?

Speaking of fighting games, they have their own little sub-set of archetypes, my favorite is the “Button Masher.” You get challenged and immediately begin to formulate a strategy. You pick your best character, he picks his, and the match begins. From the word “go” his plan immediately becomes clear: to wiggle the joystick and press the buttons as fast as he can. As hard as this to believe, that strategy is surprisingly effective. You look for an opening in his offensive and there isn’t one. You know you will (and had better) win, but it’s going to be much harder than it should be.

Finally, we have the “Notebook Warrior.” This person is pretty obvious. He walks into the arcade carrying a notebook. What’s in the notebook? All the latest codes and secrets that he could find on the Internet and his gaming magazines. He believes he will be revered by all the “regulars” when he starts showing off all of the secret stuff his book contains. Now, he is forgetting two important pieces of information: all the “regulars” already know all the secrets in the notebook, and knowledge of secrets alone does not take the place of skill.

I miss my old arcades.