Arcade Dreams


Galaxian machineDiary date: 29th May, 1985

Galaxian, Pac-Man, Defender, Space Invaders, Track and Field, Star Wars. Worlds of wonder when anything seemed possible.

Engrossing, state-of-the-art video games in colourful, custom-made cabinets. Seedy arcades in gloomy rooms with sticky, concrete floors. Tumbling coins landing loudly on silver-metal trays. Piercing, earworm music looping endlessly. A grabbing claw, too frail to carry off its booty. Armies of upright fruit machines, bandits’ arms poised and ready. Air hockey, shoot ’em ups, water guns, penny falls, basketball and bingo. A horse race on sticks with a random, last-minute winner.

Games you wish you were good at.

Players huddled round glowing screens, murmuring appreciatively as the latest level starts. Initials rolling upwards in a slow scroll. A hi-score that speaks of unseen worlds.

Games you wish you had the cash to play.

Checking shiny trays for the forgotten coppers that could be just the start. Longing looks…

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