Thursday, July 10, 2014

Arcade Project 02: Inspirations

A trip to Google Image Search will nab you some great pictures of people's home arcades.  I said earlier that I have seen some "bad" arcades in homes that look like garbage and cost a ton of money.  I am not going to show you examples because these people still worked hard, and I do not know the whole story.  What if the arcade room they have built is exactly like the arcade they had, so all the warts and flaws are there on purpose?  It could happen, people spend $5000 on Fender guitars that are made to look 50 years old after all.

That picture above is what is right about home arcades.  It is way more money than I'd ever spend, but the guy knows what the hell he's doing.  It is not just about having some machines in a room, it is about getting the feel.  Look, because of technology I can play anything made before 2002 for very little money.  If I want to sit in front of a computer screen and use a connected PS3 controller, I can do that.  It is not about playing the games, its about creating an experience.

This one is more like I see my actual one being one day.  Just one feature of a basement entertainment room, near the food area.  I know this is actually just a small part of a larger arcade with stuff I do not want.  I never wanted a pool table, I never wanted a hoops game or a foosball table.  I am a video gamer.  I never wanted to play the pinball games when I was young, and I only grew an appreciation for skeeball in my late 20's.  All that's lucky for me because that shiz takes up a lot of space and a lot of money.

So what do I want?

This man's home arcade is probably the most expensive to fit in a one bedroom area.  Even so, he is sort of my inspiration for this.  I do not live in New York, and I do not want his rare and unobtainable arcades.  He has one of 10 Disney produced Wreck-it-Ralph arcades, and he has the literal machine used in the King of Kong documentary.  I have no use for that stuff.  I think I can do a room like that for way less money.  He was my inspiration for pricing out a "normal" sized room arcade.  He is also my inspiration in another way; his collection of quarter vending machines.

This is perfect, this is the kind of thing from people that "get" it think of that no one else does.  In his interviews he talks about how he bought them just for an atmospheric piece of decor, but how it has become his most favorite addition to the arcade.  He says that no matter who comes in, be it 60 year old journalists to the 20'something bloggers, before they get to the video games they see these vending machines and start telling stories.  He claims he never asks, people just light up and give him a story about using these machines as a kid.  Reading this instantly brought back memories of football helmets at Ingles.  It brought back sour gumballs, dinky plastic banannas, handfuls of Runts, and even brazil nuts.

My vending machine story.  There used to be a really cheap super market where there is a school now.  They used to rent that parking lot out for fairs every now and again, and I still have dreams of those fairs.  Anyway, fairs aside, they had vending machines in the front like everyone else, but they had one that no one ever had.  It was a vending machine full of oily, greasy, salty Brazil nuts.  Growing up the only way to get a Brazil nut was to wait to get some at Christmas, and you had to break the shells yourself, you know how hard that is as a kid to break those?  You use a hammer, and you end up getting a handful of crumbs.  Anyways, for a quarter you got a handful of perfect Brazil nuts, so in a way it was like getting a little Christmas every time I went to the store with my aunt.

Do you see?  I bet you thought of stories with those machines too.  So even though this guy inspired me to do "better" than him for way less money, and I've probably even talked a little trash about him... He had a great idea that made me change my mind about him, and now I want that for my own arcade one day.

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