Killing arcades – the death of social gaming

Damian Gordon/Staff Writer

 

Going outside and socializing is overrated; the further we are from each other, the better. What sounds like words of a crazy cat lady from down the street is actually what looks like the outlook of the youth these days.

 Arcades are becoming an increasingly rare relic within a society that is growing to favor distance over intimacy.

These buildings that house games, prizes and machines brought to life some of gamings wildest fantasies, made them closer to reality and were shared among players of all ages. Going to the arcade on any given weekend was the place to be for many growing up.

Boomers in Dania closed last January with the last remnants of its existence in a large-wooden roller coaster, called the Dania Beach Hurricane. This was recently demolished along with a bit of people’s childhood.

 Arcades were huge in the ‘80s, ‘90s and early ‘00s primarily due to how they were more powerful than home consoles at the time. They gave an unrivaled experience that friends or family could enjoy for an affordable price.

 Putting down a quarter on a cabinet signified that you were next in line, while players battled inside a noisy and dimly lit room on top of countless long dried Coca-Cola spilled floors.

 “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was a tent-pole beat ‘em up game in arcades for years, which stayed in players rotations with life and death discussions over who was going to be Leonardo.

There were plenty of times I had to “convince” other kids how Raphael was cooler, just to free up Leo for myself. There were times when I ran out of quarters and had to persuade someone that I could help them beat “House of the Dead” if they covered me.

These arcades are where I learned the art of negotiation and that my words can be one of my greatest tools.

It’s no secret that neighborhood streets are less crowded with kids playing as most have everything they need on tablets now. Growing up, most of my generation couldn’t wait to go outside as staying inside was virtually a punishment.

 When online gaming became a prominent force in gaming’s last generation (PlayStation 3, Xbox360) arcades fell further to the wayside as people no longer had to leave their house to play with each other.

The nasty and disrespectful comments people spout online would provoke even the Pope to slap the braces out of some kid’s mouth.

This invisible wall between two parties doesn’t exist in arcades, meaning two things must be kept in mind with whatever is said. You’re within arm’s length of another person and if you’re not being a decent human being, nobody will want to play with you-win or lose- unlike online where some poor soul is forced to.

 Companies like Sony or Facebook are gambling their fortune that Virtual Reality will be the next thing. This technology is bound to be expensive to own and could be a big revival of the arcade scene. This is exciting as it could lead to a whole new era being able to experience similar great things people my age and those before me did.

The arcade is a place where friendships could start; where memorable stories can unfold and be saved in our memory banks for years to come. 

Socializing in-person with others is crucial to our development as a person. These offered experiences can potentially mold someone for the better.

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

 

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