These days, when pretty much every video game ever created can be bought and downloaded in minutes, it's hard to believe we used to trudge down to the local arcade with rolls of quarters in our pockets.
Whether you lived near a full-blown arcade,
a bowling alley with a handful of games,
or a local pizza joint with one lonely arcade cabinet,
there was something magical about popping a quarter into one of these machines and playing until your luck ran out. It's an experience that most of us haven't had in years, which is a shame because it's very different from playing games at home by yourself.
There were so many rituals involved. Like putting a quarter on the cabinet to show you have "next."
And begging your parents for more quarters when you ran out of change. When a game was seriously challenging, you would save up until you had one of these bad boys to beat it.
You could go head to head with your best friend on a fighting game.
Or test your skills behind the wheel on one of these awesome rigs.
If those didn't strike your fancy, there were a lot more games to play...
Personally, I was obsessed with any arcade games that used light gun controllers.
Even though it was just a hunk of plastic, it really made you feel like you were in the game. And there were a lot of great titles that used these.
And most arcades had a mix of "classic" games too. Like the pinball machines we all wasted our money on.
I was never lucky enough to hit the jackpot on these, but it looked pretty fun.
And every arcade had that one guy who could do this on the hoops machine.
Plus there were the absolute DDR freaks, who stayed until they mastered every song.
And the claw game, which was definitely rigged. No question about it.
Heck, we would even settle for Golden Tee if it was the only game we could afford a play on.
But of course we preferred the serious quarter-eaters, the games that challenged and infuriated us so much we just had to keep playing.
So many quarters wasted on that one...
And of course, we all waited in line to try the newest fighting game, only to be destroyed by someone who already knew all of the killer combos.
And how can we forget the arcade tokens! Of course we used every single one of these, but looking back I wish I saved a few, because they're such unique collector's items.
If you're lucky enough to still live near a working arcade, enjoy it while you can! For must of us these days are sadly gone for good.
Don't forget to share these memories, and tell us what your favorite arcade game was!