Hey kids, remember the ’80s? These games sure as hell do, and they want you to know it. With help from MacWorld’s Leif Johnson, we dedicate this week to a look at five modern games that recaptured the neon spirit of the Reagan Years, after which we jump into Stranger Things 3: The Game, Switch Lite news, and your favorite videogame revolutionaries.
Question of the Week: In keeping with this ’80s motif, what’s your best or worst arcade memory? (Or, failing that, memory of gaming in public?)
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20 thoughts on “Totally ’80s! – Vidjagame Apocalypse 324”
Qotw: Best arcade memory – beating the Simpsons arcade solo (but spending $5 worth of quarters)…worst arcade memory – was playing street fighter alpha 3 and I was humiliated by Dan. I was Sagat and was doing pretty well, won round 1, he won round 2, in round 3, I jumped into a roundhouse kick and lost…:(
My worse memory of gaming in public was probably ruining an arcade machine as a stupid child while trying to eat an ice cream cone at the same time playing Bloody Roar. The cream dripped on to the panel as I tried to mash buttons with my other hand. Lucky for the pizzeria owner that these arcade cabinets had plastic paneling on top of everything, and lucky for me I didn’t drip on the actual buttons. Glad that I was not kicked out but allowed to slink home in shame for a bit.
Growing up near Auburn Hills Michigan there was a Gameworks at the local mall. I will never forget the first time I saw the center piece of the arcade Vertical Reality a 3-story tall arcade unit that had chairs go up or down a level as you played, or the version of Daytona that had 8 versions of the game linked up and the seats that looked like actual race cars.
QotW: Best Memory – beating Simpsons Arcade solo (but spending $5 on quarters). Worst – Getting humiliated in SF Alpha 3 with Dan. I was Sagat, he was Dan. I won round 1, he won round 2, and in round 3, lost to jumping into a roundhouse kick.
My best arcade memory is also one of my fondest memories of all of my childhood, and it is the day I beat Smash TV at our local Golf N’ Games with a modest crowd gathering around as word got around that “some kid might actually beat this game in a few minutes.” My sister kept dutifully fishing my allowance from my pocket, one dollar at a time, and exchanging it for quarters, and by the end even the two crusty old bikers playing pool in the back of the room had ambled over, out of curiosity for why everyone seemed so worked up. Seeing the host of Smash TV go up in flames as an excited “YES!” exploded from a bunch of strangers is something I will treasure always.
The amount of my allowance that I spent to do so, I tend to linger on less.
I was at a Dave and Busters playing a Pink Panther cabinet when I slammed the joystick a little to hard. The top knob (a faux pink panther jewel) broke into a thousand plastic pieces. My cousin not missing a beat shouted at the top of his lungs in a Steve Universe impression “You shattered Pink Diamond!”
On the topic of SLOT CARS in Japan!
I went to a mountain town called Takayama and went into a retro toy store and what did I find on the second floor? A FULL ON SLOT CAR TRACK!
My Japanese wasn’t good enough to ask to play on it, but I got some fun pics! So it definitely seems like Yakuza 0 had it pretty true to life!
Qotw: two top arcade related memories… growing up in rural West Virginia, we had a gold mine arcade at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville, WV. It was just like Matty described in the episode. When it finally closed, the Dungeon, an arcade full of early 90s PCs where you could play Doom, Rise of the Triad, and Quake. You payed by the hour. It was revolutionary for the time, but someone forgot to tell the owners that they needed to buy a game copy for each seat. It got shut down within three months by the SPA.
Second memory: when I was in high school, circa 95, the school administration decided to put an arcade machine in t e commons area. The game was Thrill Kill. I so loved cutting off kings with a chainsaw! I do not believe they even looked at it before allowing it. In an era of congressional hearings on Mortal Kombat, that arcade machine did not last long, but it sent me on an epic quest to find a pirated copy of Thrill Kill that I could play on a modded PlayStation One.
QotW – Mid 90s rural Australia, I would have been maybe 7 or 8. Our church youth group went to the local roller skating rink, a staple of Australian entertainment at the time which to be fair probably equated to late 80s USA. They had a darkened arcade section with maybe 12 machines which naturally interested me way more than roller skating. I remember there was a Super Mario Bros machine I found with a whole bunch of 20cent pieces left along the bottom of the screen and no one in attendance! What a find! Until an older boy who was chaperoning us found me and tore me away. To this day I don’t know if it’s because he thought I was spending the money my mother had instructed for food use only, or if perhaps there was some arcade etiquette I was breaching and he was enforcing. All I know is year old me was PISSED.
QotW : Not best / worst, but easily my most vivid arcade memory : My Dad dropped me off at the mall arcade (called Space Port) to keep me busy while he shopped for power tools or whatever grown-ups shopped for in the mid 80s. After a while, I got super into my game of Rush N’ Attack. I lost my last guy, and loudly exclaimed, “Fuck!” Only to have my dad put his hand on my shoulder and ask “What’d you say?” He was done shopping and had come to collect me. I almost crapped my pants, until he started laughing – he used so much foul language that he couldn’t have been surprised that I picked it up from him.
I’m now 45, and have probably sworn in my dad’s presence fewer than 5 times in my life
My family have a cottage by the beach, and the arcade nearby didn’t THINK OF THE CHILDREN with their jukebox selections. So because it was the funniest thing in the world we essentially paid for an endless loop of Biggie’s Gimme The Loot, and it was the most offensive song my young brain could think up.
Also X-Men, Turtles and Simpsons of course.
I lived in a small town that didn’t have a real Arcade, but we always had machines at the arenas (…rural Canada). I played my first games of Pac-Man while waiting for ice time. I think, though, my favorite memory is the day the T2 Arcade game appeared. The giant Arnold splashed on the side, the machine gun controllers, the post-judgement day game play and graphics … I was smitten. It cost a loonie (the dollar coin that was brand new back then) so I rarely got to play it, but I’d stare at it before and after every hockey game for years.
I’ve never been able to play Super Puzzle Fighter due to color blindness, the blue and purple pieces are too similar, and yellow, orange and green can look close depending on the shade they use. With so many developers and players being male, and almost all color blind people being male, you’d think game makers would notice how often they choose color combinations that make it hard to differentiate between several options, but it still pops up a lot. I wonder if color blindness is less common in Japan, I hear a lot of podcasters say they’re color blind.
Greatest Arcade Memory: While my brothers and I had been going to arcades since the mid-80s, the greatest memory, or time, was almost exactly 20 years ago when my younger bro and 2 best friends started getting into playing fighting games competitively at our local, massive, multilevel arcade: Milford Amusement. We started with Marvel vs Capcom – first playing it as if it was just Street Fighter 2, then slowly learning the combo system, super moves, air combos, and later infinites. I don’t think any other environment will be able to recapture the magic of learning the ins and outs of a game with friends and other acquaintances that we met at the arcade this summer. We eventually ‘graduated’ from Milford Amusement, locally seen as a ‘family fun center’, and felt good enough to go to the more rowdy arcades that had better players and eventually tournaments.
My problem with the Switch Lite (or Light Switch) is that its just another portable Switch, the Switch is already portable, so now anyone that wants a Switch for the portability aspect has two different models to choose from. I don’t live where there is public transportation, we drive everywhere, portability is not something I’m interested in in the slightest and I want to option to buy a Switch that’s not portable and is just for use on a TV, without having to pay for the screen and battery I will never need to use, because I just want a device to plug into a TV, but instead of giving something to this market, Nintendo is going in the other direction and doubling down on the portability. I’ve already been told I’m wrong about this and that portability is the only thing that matters, but if that’s true, then this is what they should have released two years ago, instead they released the hybrid model. If they’re going to sell two models that are portable, they should have one model that’s not portable.
the lite model is the 2DS (v1) of the family. No concidence it’s being sold by the time Sword/Shield come out. I believe the OG 2DS had a similar release schedule. Lite will be huge for that factor alone. You gotta understand why they didn’t release as strictly a handheld, especially with the Wii U’s flop. They were hedging their bets that this hybrid model would blow
Friday the 13th should have gotten an honorable mention as an 80’s game
Qotw: My worst arcade memory is definitely sitting my ass down in a pool of vomit in a Virtual-On deluxe cabinet.
QotW Vid response: https://youtu.be/FC8VXnko_OY
Qotw: As a high school student in the early 2000s in the UK, the only place you saw arcades was cinemas and ferries to France. I was one of the poor kids at school, but my parents still scraped the money to pay for a trip to Paris. In return I was determined to save the money they’d given me for food, and use it to buy them something to say thank you.
On the ferry there was a 4-player link up Sega Rally machine, still the only one I’ve ever seen. Sega Rally is one of the only games I’m any good at, so I challenged the bigger kids already on the machines to a race each betting £5, making sure to only win by a slim margin, prompting demands for a rematch double or quits. Had enough money then not only for lunch but something fancy for my parents. Can’t remember what I got them but in hindsight it was probably crap that is now lost somewhere.