Monday, November 2, 2009

Ode to Arcades: My Best Arcade Experience

Everyone knows that arcades are not as widely used today as they once were in this country. There was a time when every town had at least one arcade, it was the place where kids and adults alike could go and enjoy their favorite games in an atmosphere all its own. I've talked about my love of the arcades of yesteryear before in this blog, bust mostly talking about how they came and went. Today I want to make it a bit more personal.

When I was growing up in urban South Florida, there was a fairly large arcade only about a mile from my house called BigFoot's Arcade. BigFoot's Arcade was a constant throughout my childhood, the place where I went when I got good grades, the place where I first went to talk to girls, the place where my friends and I would go during Summer - reading comics, drinking Lemonade, and playing all the latest games til closing time.

I have many memories of that beautiful place, with all its electronic sounds assualting my ears, its strobing lights dazzling my eyes, the calls and whistles of exuberance and defeat. My favorite being the day the planets must've aligned, because for that single day I was a Mortal Kombat GOD, untouchable.

Pitchers have no-hitters. I had a no-loss. It started off like any other arcade day, I waited for my turn in Mortal Kombat 2. Arcade etiquette dictated that if a person won in a fighting game, they usually had to keep playing, taking on all challengers. That winner could quit if he wanted to, but it was generally frowned upon if he did. He was supposed to keep playing until he lost or until his party had to leave.

So I waited for my turn and played the winner at the time. And I beat him. Easy. And then I beat the next challenger, and the next challenger. Then the next and the next. Before I knew it I garnered a large crowd, and the sun had long since gone down. There were few people who still wanted to challenge me and finally someone stood up to face me right when the owner of BigFoot's Arcade announced that would be the last game of the day. He looked confident. Perhaps he had seen a flaw in my strategy? A minor tic he could exploit?

I picked Sub-Zero, he picked Scorpion, and the battle began. The guy was good, I will give him that. I lost my first round easily, he got a perfect on me. I almost lost my cool, but I game him my classic combo:


Roundhouse Kick:

I beat him and life was good.

Real good.

The crowd cheered and the arcade closed and for that single moment, there wasn't a better Mortal Kombat 2 player in the world. That was easily my best arcade experience. What's yours?