Last week I launched this series describing how I play video games with one arm. This week I’d like to write about my favorite gaming moments. Going to the arcade every weekend with my father. As a kid who grew up in the 90s and early 2000’s, arcades were still a thing.
Except instead of quarters lining cabinets within places named Sportsstar 2000 and Funscape, there were gold Namco tokens. Every Sunday my dad would purchase five dollars worth of tokens which was 25 in total. 25 tokens that amounted to 25 new memories and moments every Sunday. My dad didn’t play much as he wanted me to be able to play as many games as possible.
Instead, he would stand to the side of me and coach me. If I was playing Virtua Fighter or Marvel vs. Capcom, he would say things like “Stay on the attack” and “Your special meter is full, Nick. Use it”. I remember when I beat my first boss, my dad dropped our coats he held in his arm, hugged me, and told me how proud of me he was.
I was nine-years-old and the game was Tekken 3. As I mentioned my father didn’t really play games when we went, but when he did he was helping me. When I couldn’t get a hi-score in Skee-Ball, he being a former bowler would take my arm and teach me how to follow through and keep my arm straight. He would help me get as many tickets as possible.
When our tokens ran out and our tickets were counted, the memories did not stop. As my dad would pull me aside and say “Let’s go next door to the movie theater next door and watch trailers”. The Regal Cinemas that was attached to Funscape had a giant lobby with a massive screen overhead. In big, bright orange lights over it were the words “Coming Soon” and trailers would play on the massive screen below them.
After about 20 minutes of watching trailers, my dad and I would pile into his car and talk about the day’s events. Every conversation ending with him dropping me off at my mom’s house and him saying “Ok buddy today was fun. I’ll see you next weekend. I love you”. As a gamer, and as a son, those are the moments I will remember the most.