arcades

Gaming has never been more convenient. You can download games straight to your PC or console. You can buy games and have them delivered. However, like cinemas, there is a remnant of gaming’s past that still lives on, albeit in smaller numbers. Leaving your home to play games you will find Gaming Arcades.

Before gaming became affordable and homebound, there were gaming arcades, which still flourish in small pockets. Inside, you find all manner of machines designed to take your money. The biggest culprits are redemption or ticket machines that are the root of all evil. The actual games are designed not to be intuitive or easy, but to rob you of your cash while under their addictive and fun spell. They generally start off with tutorial levels but then drastically increase the difficulty, forcing you to pay if you want to continue. A necessary evil in terms of business but it’s enough to drive most away from playing regularly.

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In Australia, we still have arcades aplenty. They enjoy good business too, especially on weekends. A new one, not owned by a franchise, opened up near where I live. They tend to be located close to or as part of a cinema, yet they are businesses in their own right. I feel that they are generally seen as a novelty: a place where parents bring excitable kids to distract them, or couples fruitlessly try to win plush toys from claw machines. The worst type are those claw machines that give you cheap candy if you don’t happen to win a plush. It’s just insult to injury.

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But a small group of people still play competitive games there. Whether it’s fighting, racing or rhythm games, there are those in Australia who meet up and play it frequently. It’s social gaming that doesn’t involve VoIP or a good internet connection. As someone who frequents arcades and plays an arcade racer competitively, I understand why they do it. There is a much more powerful sense of satisfaction when you beat someone who is sitting right next to you. I compare it to people who stream for example StarCraft 2 matches on Twitch in comparison to being at a live StarCraft tournament. Sure, you may still win that online match, but all you get from the opposition is the standard ‘GG’. There’s no real audience either. Nothing can compare to a heated SSF4 match with a small crowd of people totally invested in the outcome. Furthermore, latency or any other issues that may interfere with an otherwise fair game are non-existent. Unless you’re a jerk who messes with other people’s controls, but surely you’re not that petty.

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The major problem with arcade gaming is expenses. Over five or so years I have spent enough money playing at arcades to have bought a second hand car. With most games being two to three dollars (AUD) a game, it’s very expensive to finance even one day at the arcade. Despite all the drawbacks, there’s just something about challenging complete strangers in person.

So I guess my question to the readers of Lazygamer is: if there are good arcades to go to where you live, do you go play games there? Or is it too inconvenient and expensive?

Last Updated: October 28, 2013

1.1
was reviewed on PC

91 Comments

  1. Ugh, we actively avoid the arcade section in Kolonnade, if my daughter sees that, you can kiss R100 away, lose 1hr and walk home with silly prizes and ears ringing.

    No thanks.

    But, I remember back when there were no tickets and only glorious games. Tekken, Time Crisis, Virtua Cop and the punch-o-matic who’s name escapes me now

    Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 28, 2013 at 15:43

      tekken and time crisis were 50% of the reason anyone went to the arcade, ever.
      the other 50% was House of the Dead and the 2 token racing games.

      fact.

      but mostly time crisis.

      Reply

      • RangerMossel

        October 28, 2013 at 15:54

        Whast about that horror game? Think it’s called House of the Dead, then you play with shotguns!

        Reply

        • Matthew Holliday

          October 28, 2013 at 15:56

          ahem -> “the other 50% was House of the Dead and the 2 token racing games.”

          Reply

          • RangerMossel

            October 28, 2013 at 15:57

            LOL thats my bad! I only read Tekken and Time Crises. It’s late in the aftenoon goddammit!

          • RangerMossel

            October 28, 2013 at 15:58

            Also when you have 1 token left there is but one game…Metal Slug!

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 28, 2013 at 15:58

            JAAAAAAAA

          • Matthew Holliday

            October 28, 2013 at 16:04

            Pretty sure that is one of the ten commandments bro.

    • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

      October 28, 2013 at 15:49

      Ah, the good old days

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 28, 2013 at 15:51

        I do believe we are living the good days now JJ

        Reply

        • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

          October 28, 2013 at 16:00

          Yes, you’re actually right.

          Reply

    • Skyblue

      October 28, 2013 at 16:35

      Pta North boyjie. Used to LAN there a lot back in the day.

      Reply

  2. Devourer of Small Bunnies

    October 28, 2013 at 15:41

    Unfortunately I havent seen the broad side of a decent arcade since I was still in britches. Thinking back now, I honestly can say they were one of the best memories I’ve had of childhood. Unfortunately, most of the places in and around PTA/JHB are in shocking states nevermind the fact that they are pretty much over run with toddlers. I dare not tread a foot in one, anytime in the future.

    Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 28, 2013 at 15:42

    I spent years playing arcade games at my local cafes or going to arcades with my friends, it was awesome. One of my favourite childhood memories is using my bus fare to play arcade games after school then walking home. I haven’t been to one in ages though.

    Reply

    • Rincethis

      October 28, 2013 at 15:55

      And when you say friends you mean imaginary *runs

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 28, 2013 at 15:59

        LOOOOOL

        Reply

      • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

        October 28, 2013 at 15:59

        I’m not even sure if the Emperor really exists. Anyone could’ve edited that photo and he’s mysteriously busy tonight.

        Reply

        • Rincethis

          October 28, 2013 at 16:00

          Agreed. And by busy, you mean watching Rhythem City Teheheheh

          Reply

          • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

            October 28, 2013 at 16:01

            Hahaha. I should probably leave in the next half-hour, coming from the Northern Suburbs and all.

  4. Umar heartless

    October 28, 2013 at 15:43

    Love me some arcade action. I guess the best place to go is in Canal Walk or N1 City.

    The atmosphere is unparalleled. I usually play some KoF or SF … The fighting game scene is too hype. Wasted many periods at Uni playing KoF 2k2

    Reply

    • RangerMossel

      October 28, 2013 at 15:52

      Metal Slug!

      Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 28, 2013 at 16:09

      N1 city had 4 House of the Dead stations, 2 Time Crisis 2 stations and 2 Time Crisis 1 stations, my go to area, with all the cool N1 city cool kids taking up the spots on the fighter stations on the top shelf.

      Everytime i see an octopus on tv, i think of the N1 city arcade.

      Reply

      • Umar heartless

        October 28, 2013 at 16:16

        Hahaha ahh you remember the original N1 City Arcade…man that was like heaven to me

        Reply

        • CypherGate

          October 29, 2013 at 08:47

          The original N1 City with the 18 hole putt putt was a great time. Loved exploring the arcade section cause i always ended up finding new games to play. Was fun! but when they started to get the DJ game, Dance Games that addiction took over. Yes im a sucker for music games ^_^

          Reply

      • Tidycpc

        October 29, 2013 at 10:47

        Dont forget the Daytona racing game that was there, 4 or 6 machines….awesome time with friends

        Reply

  5. Rincethis

    October 28, 2013 at 15:43

    Who is this Snook?!

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      October 28, 2013 at 15:44

      They’ve replaced you with an Australian. That must sting. 😉

      Reply

      • Rincethis

        October 28, 2013 at 15:45

        I was there to be replaced?! WINNA!

        Reply

    • Biza-B

      October 28, 2013 at 15:46

      Must be from the Cape. No way he would support the Sharks… Get it? Snoek… Traditional CT fish dish… Sharks… Currie Cup champs…

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 28, 2013 at 15:47

        TOO SOON! *sob*

        Reply

      • Rincethis

        October 28, 2013 at 15:47

        TOO SOON!

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Ninja

          October 28, 2013 at 15:50

          NEVER TOO SOON

          Reply

          • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

            October 28, 2013 at 15:56

            Hehe

      • Umar heartless

        October 28, 2013 at 15:49

        Lol for WP……They got hit by a Sharknado

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          October 28, 2013 at 15:51

          YOU SHUT UP! Playstations are silly :/

          Reply

        • Rincethis

          October 28, 2013 at 15:53

          Take that back!

          Reply

          • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

            October 28, 2013 at 15:56

            I was born in Natal, so sorry to say, I support the Sharks

  6. Purple_Dragon

    October 28, 2013 at 15:43

    Man those were the days. I remember when they used to have corner cafes, they usually had one or two arcade machines. Remember rushing there after school to buy some sweets really cheap and then play arcade game.

    Also great fun going to the big arcades with all the games. I remember the one machine that was full of coins and you dropped your coin in and if you were lucky your coin pushed other coins. It was like a sliding drawer with coins on top, can’t really describe it too well. I just remember looking at the whole thing trying to identify the best place to put it in.

    It was always awesome checking that one guy who was so good at a particular game everyone just wanted to watch.

    Great fun.

    Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 28, 2013 at 15:47

      it wasnt “a particular game”
      it was Time Crisis / Time Crisis 2
      The guy who controlled the Time Crisis station, controlled the bitchez.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 28, 2013 at 15:51

        Indeed, biatches loved dem shooting skillz yo

        Reply

        • Matthew Holliday

          October 28, 2013 at 16:06

          and DDR, bitchez loved the DDR

          Reply

        • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

          October 28, 2013 at 16:07

          I didn’t get no beeeches 🙁

          Reply

    • Grant Hancock

      October 28, 2013 at 15:53

      My father left me at corner cafe by mistake once ! haha … I wandered off to the back of the shop to see if anyone had left a coin in the machine by mistake 🙂

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 28, 2013 at 16:00

        …so that is where it started…

        Reply

        • Rincethis

          October 28, 2013 at 16:01

          And the gates to trauma were opened 0-O

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 28, 2013 at 16:03

            Aye

      • Purple_Dragon

        October 28, 2013 at 16:09

        Brilliant, I forgot about that, looking for coins or games that had some credits left.

        Reply

        • SaintsRowNigri

          October 28, 2013 at 16:18

          This reminded me of my late brother and the good guy he was: Bubble Bobble was hectically popular way back in a day. We got to the café, and there was this big out of order board on the screen.
          Turns out that game had something like 487 credits waiting to be played. The Greek that owned the shop obviously did not want a riot of gamers descending for the free gameage, hence the board on the screen.
          My brother just stuck the board on the game next to Bubble Bobble, deposited his five 20c pieces and promptly played five credits.
          Not a credit more… When he was done, he put the sign back up…

          Reply

          • Hondsepop

            October 28, 2013 at 16:39

            You had to be there when they collect the money, change or service the machine. Be very friendly and the collector/repair man would open the machine, punch the coin weight register thingy a couple of times to test, leaving some credits on the machine. Some machines, after being switched off and on again also registered some credits – the trick was not to get caught by the cafe owner.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 28, 2013 at 16:42

            Holy crap! I remember that. Hahahaahha!

  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 28, 2013 at 15:44

    Oh, and here they didn’t mess with your controls, they’d jab you behind the knee or burn your hair with a ciggie lol.

    Reply

  8. Purple_Dragon

    October 28, 2013 at 15:45

    Where in Aus are you from Stephen? I’ve got some relatives in Toowoomba haha.

    Reply

  9. dylbobjohnjoe

    October 28, 2013 at 15:47

    I happen to work in a mall with a time crisis machine that gives 9 lives for 6 rand……I have no idea what I would do with my spare time in this jol without it.

    Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 28, 2013 at 15:54

      9 lives? thats like cheating.
      we had 2 lives for R2

      Reply

      • dylbobjohnjoe

        October 28, 2013 at 16:17

        Cheating is declaring a pifelong shotgun on the blue gun, which a colleague of mine did. Gateway theatre of shopping, just spreading the cheatey love.

        Reply

        • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

          October 28, 2013 at 16:23

          I loved that place growing up.

          Reply

  10. Rincethis

    October 28, 2013 at 15:47

    I spent a 3rd world countries GDP in arcades as a child. Loved every minute of it.

    Reply

  11. Kromas

    October 28, 2013 at 15:49

    I do not accept this article. You need to do this more Steve Irwin style. “The arcade gamer can snap a joystick in half in under 7 seconds,Crikey! I am going to try and subdue one.”

    Reply

  12. Grant Hancock

    October 28, 2013 at 15:51

    Ahh I miss arcades… went to one beginning of this year. Was cheap fun (R1 a token in Hemingways Mall in EL) but all the games are lank old… why couldn’t someone build the new MK into an arcade box?? … It seems arcade operators are content with just making some cash on the weekends with cheap old games from kids who have been left there by their parents while they shop… Don’t know when last I’ve walked past an arcade and been drawn in by something which I just ‘have’ to play.. or seen any adults challenging each other like is mentioned in the article 🙁

    Personal story: I think it was 1995 … Primal Rage was released in Greenacres mall in PE… it was situated outside the arcade (not there any more… opposite Ster-Kinekor) in the middle of the mall walkway … the place was PACKED as every ‘oke’ tried to strut his stuff on this utterly amazing new game (the arcade machine was massive with huge advertising and lights and what-what, and screens were nice and big) … I was still a lightie… but remember standing in awe as one guy continued to beat all-comers 🙂 … Have never seen another arcade gaming event like that ever again in lil ‘ol PE … doubt I ever will.

    Reply

  13. Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

    October 28, 2013 at 15:52

    I spent way, way too much time playing street fighter 2 in arcades. Too much time, and far, far too much money.

    Reply

  14. Rock789

    October 28, 2013 at 15:55

    Yup, been there… Done that! 🙂 When I was a kid, every Saturday morning, I used to take my week’s pocketmoney and, with friend in tow (or on my own) would cycle to the local corner cafe’, which also doubled as a fish & chips shop. Nothing like the smell of fish, chips & vinegar to motivate you to kick M.Bison’s butt one more time! Or finally get to the final boss of Cadillacs & Dinosaurs (now that was an EPIC arcade game!).

    Reply

    • Rock789

      October 28, 2013 at 15:56

      Sadly, I haven’t been to an arcade place in many a moon… Probably more than 10 years.

      Reply

      • Rincethis

        October 28, 2013 at 15:57

        Since that incident that led to a restraining order? BOOM! *runs

        Reply

        • Rock789

          October 28, 2013 at 15:59

          Who told you about that?! Did Alison tell you about that?! Coz Alison was bitter when we broke up!

          Umm… I mean… What restraining order? **innocent face**

          Reply

      • Skyblue

        October 28, 2013 at 16:13

        I haven’t been to one since… this morning, in my office, at home… My favourite emulation toy this, home built 10yrs ago by my Dad (arcade stick was imported).
        I’m old school as well. Grew up in the local cafe’s playing 1942, Kung-Fu Master and Green Beret. Graduated to Wonderland with Virtua Racing, SF2, Mortal Konbat and Crazy Taxi (could play for almost 2 hrs per game, was very adept at it).

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          October 28, 2013 at 16:41

          Damnit your dad is awesome. Can he be my dad now?

          Reply

          • Skyblue

            October 28, 2013 at 16:44

            How do you know he isn’t already? ;-p
            Seriously though, the man is a legend.

  15. BlackPen

    October 28, 2013 at 15:55

    As you are Australian, your point immediately becomes void 😛 Just kidding dude. Good article and arcades are something that has unfortunately withered away. Many good times where had in the Kollenade while mashing buttons or putting the pedal to the metal with my brother.

    Reply

  16. RangerMossel

    October 28, 2013 at 15:55

    I spent many a hour at the corner cafe playing Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive!

    Reply

  17. Gerhard

    October 28, 2013 at 16:01

    Arcades were a big thing in the 80’s when I grew up. Getting a high score with a crowd around you was just awesome. Still some arcades operating but the magic is not there anymore although those side by side games can be fun. Unfortunately watching 4 old toppies racing Moto GP on those small bikes will forever be burned into the minds of anybody watching. My daughter summed it up best with these words “seriously – not cool dad”

    Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 28, 2013 at 16:13

      having a flawless Time Crisis session, 100% accuracy, then spelling your name wrong, when it came to the high score, worst feeling.

      Reply

      • SaintsRowNigri

        October 28, 2013 at 16:23

        Entering your name when you got high score… Still rate as the coolest feeling ever. Well, it did. Until the day you discovered girls… Then you entered your name as J4S

        Reply

      • RangerMossel

        October 29, 2013 at 07:18

        My name was always too long for the highscore. Just remembered my favourite arcade game: Silent Scope! Had a 107% accuracy the one time, killed the boss first shot in the head!

        Reply

  18. Matthew Holliday

    October 28, 2013 at 16:02

    the guys on Time Crisis and the girls on the DDR.
    it was almost like going to church, meeting at the Magic Company after the movies.

    Reply

  19. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    October 28, 2013 at 16:04

    Awesome piece Aussie Stevie! We used to have a couple good ones in Cape Town – N1 City’s Wonderland, Canal Walk’s Games Arcade and even one at Grand West (casino), to name a few. Sadly, they’re now mere shadows of what they were.

    Canal Walk’s one is still busy, but I always feel weird walking around there, like I’m an old guy in running shorts – outside a school…. Shudder!

    Reply

    • John's (JJ's) Steaming backlog

      October 28, 2013 at 16:11

      That was you?

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 28, 2013 at 16:15

        With the moustache and the bag of sweeties, hell yeah!

        Reply

  20. Craig Salter

    October 28, 2013 at 16:04

    i still remember spending a whole day at a arcade just to get the top score on Cadillacs and dinosaurs.such good memories

    Reply

  21. Hondsepop

    October 28, 2013 at 16:08

    Stole parents empties to play Frogger and Asteroids at the corner cafe during Sunday afternoons. Nowadays I avoid those big game areas in the malls while with the kids. Snot nose kids spreading germs all over the place.

    Reply

  22. Skyblue

    October 28, 2013 at 16:16

    Header win! Seen that way too many times and it still looks wrong!

    Reply

    • Hondsepop

      October 28, 2013 at 16:20

      Only if wears north stars, and with a packet of gunston plain soft pack in his pocket.

      Reply

      • SaintsRowNigri

        October 28, 2013 at 16:24

        Nah man. North Stars were cool. Gypsy tekkies… there the fun starts…

        Reply

        • Skyblue

          October 28, 2013 at 16:25

          ROFL, Gypsies!! I remember those mullet magnets!

          Reply

    • Hondsepop

      October 28, 2013 at 16:42

      Also, the jeans in the picture are not tight enough, or stone washed.

      Reply

  23. oVg

    October 28, 2013 at 16:29

    This.

    Reply

    • Skyblue

      October 28, 2013 at 16:33

      That rocked but I never got to play it in the original cabinet. All those bootlegs on our market..

      Reply

  24. Rob Graf

    October 28, 2013 at 17:18

    i remember saying 20’s please as i handed the cafe owner my R2 note, and proceeded to the wonder boy game and airwolf…and before school Id hang out playing slap fight

    Reply

  25. Jason

    October 29, 2013 at 01:30

    There is good arcade where I live… in my garage. Its actually cheaper to buy machines for me then it is to go to the arcade and play.

    Reply

  26. RangerMossel

    October 29, 2013 at 07:20

    Just remembered, I played DDR with my friend once. You have no idea how quickly a crowd forms behind you, suddenly you’ve never been so conscious that you are a white guy without rhythm.

    Reply

  27. CypherGate

    October 29, 2013 at 08:44

    I miss the days of arcades. I remember i used to own a couple arcades and made them available for the masses and at the time they were 20c a game lol I had Ghost n Goblins, Fatal Fury Special, Art Of fighting 4 (I think), Street Fighter 2, Aggressors of Dark Combat, Pac Man, Pinball and a few others i cant remember. It was great fun cause we met many people made loads of friends had competitions just for fun and it was an all round satisfying time. Made friendly rivals and when you the one beats the other it would result in our own crazy cheers of excitement. Those were great days. Online multiplayer will never truly match the excitement and atmosphere. just Voip and messaging.

    Reply

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