Friday, April 25, 2014
Whatever Happened to the Arcade?
Most of the mall arcades began as pinball places but moved forward with the times. The Sweet Shop in Atco started as a penny candy place, thus the name, but soon became something else all together. I remember when they first opened, they had one machine, a tank game, which may or may not have been Atari's Combat. In a very short time they added a poolroom in the back, got rid of the candy counter, and filled the front room with videogame machines. I loved playing Space Invaders and Astro Fighter there notably, and remember how the place was always filled with smoke.
While there are some still around, some even as nostalgia museums like Barcade, the arcade is for the most part dead. I think the last tiny one I know of was gotten rid of when the Marlton 8 theatre was remodeled. Malls are dead too, some crushed by 'forward thinking' opportunists, look at what used to be the Echelon Mall for an example of that. That place ironically does have an arcade of sorts, more skeeball and the like than videogames, but still. I guess home gaming and social media have killed the mall and the arcade, and it's a shame.