Remember the times…
In 1982 you could not pry me away from the victory of beating
the Gorilla of “Donkey Kong” or the satisfaction of eating all the 2nd level
dots on “Pac man” and waiting to see that famous chase cartoon. The
sites and sounds of the original “Just Games Arcade” in Arlington
Heights IL brought me
to a euphoric state only a wide-eyed adolescent boy could understand.
Many a girlfriend have I left outside the strip mall arcade just to have a
chance to play a quick game of “Robotron” or “Defender”. I was there on
Thanksgiving Day, Christmas day, and every other day! As long as my
peers would allow and longer. That’s why Emucade makes great game
nostalgia. How about playing “doubles” on “Joust” or “Wizard of War”
one more time?
Can we play all these games today? Yes! These arcade games today
are common place and can be played on any PC, Mac, and even some digital
phones and PDAs. Basically, MAME (the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator)
can be played on any device with a microprocessor and a display. But
the feel and look of an actual arcade machine is infinitely more
exciting. Its how we interacted physically with the games and
surroundings that was the real key to successful game play. Real game
enthusiasts understand this. I still remember the exact location of my
left foot with toes bent against the front of the game machine, and how I
leaned into the controls as if I were, at that moment, really a “star
commander” as a battled the “Gorfian Robots”.
This “game play interaction” is what why we put our hearts into the building
of the "Emucade". Playing and feeling the game as close to
the original as possible, infinitely adds to the experience. As a
bonus, we eliminate all the bad functions of the original titles. Have
you, as a game player, ever played a game where the joystick did not quite work
right, or the display was a little to faded/discolored on one side. I
can’t recall anything more frustrating, but ironically, I still played the
game! Those frustrations are left behind with today’s new
technologies. The controls are micro-switch based, not the old leaf
springs, and the displays are Super VGA. Capable of a huge range of
frequency rates and resolutions. The original titles look better than
they did in the 80s because of the SVGA’s ability to easily emulate the lower
resolutions of yesteryear.
As a Generation X’er, introducing the euphoric simplicity of the 80s games to
new gamers is priceless. My son, who is an avid X-box player, will
watch in awe as I carefully slide blocks of ice together in “Pengo” or shoot
down a wolf from its balloon in “Poyann”. He now spends equal time on
multiple game systems, the new X-box and my emulation machine, the
“Emucade”. His interest sparks a new era of our relationship as we
discuss how games 20 years ago were really played and how much of a culture
arcade gaming really was.
I truly am grateful to have been a part of it.
Tony Is an avid video game player with deep roots in Chicago
area coin-op and traditional electronic gaming. He is a gamer product of Mt. Prospect
IL where he alternatively lived at a local
“Just Games” Arcade on Algonquin
Rd in Arlington
Heights IL. Tony’s early game accomplishments include
the multiple “turning over” of game titles like ROBOTRON, DEFENDER, and
The act of “turning over” a game is a slang term meaning
the player scored so high that the score started over at zero and continued
In the early 1980s Tony held national high scores on
several coin-op titles and was often asked to “test” new game titles before
their release from companies like Bally, Midway, and Stern.
Tony was introduced to the coin-op video game world in
1978 when he played SPACE INVADERS for the first time in Greenville
MI. His very first game resulted in a respectable level 4 score.
Tony has since worked in several disciplines of computer
technology and is an accomplished Information Systems Engineer with several
certifications including a 1998 MCSE.
Tony’s ultimate goal in life is to “finish the game”.
a gamming fan and friend