As a kid, I didn’t really travel that much. Sure I went on those fun loving car rides with my mom and dad and my brother once in a blue moon. But it seemed like those trips took forever. Why, oh why didn’t we have iPhones back then. Oh yeah, they weren’t invented yet. But from time to time I had the privilege to get on a plane and go visit my grandparents in Arizona and also California.
I so looked forward to flying……even though I hate flying. I have a great fear of heights unfortunately. Lately, I have been ok with the concept of flying but my stomach didn’t like it in the past. But whenever we flew, my mindset and eyes were focused on one thing, the arcade. Man I used to love going into those. Whether it was the Des Moines International Airport or the Arizona airport, even though I enjoyed the vacation that I originally went on, I looked forward to getting there early because of the arcades.
In Des Moines, there was a room that was strategically stuffed to to the corner of games. Four pinball machines and six arcade games. It just sucked that the pinball machines never worked. But for the arcade games, next to a Pole Position that NEVER worked, was my goto game, Galaga. This was yet another game that I could not get enough of. In fact, when I played the game there and pretty much everywhere else for the longest time, I felt like David Lightman from War Games and Kevin Flynn from Tron when he was playing in the arcade. But in theory, they were pros at the games and that is exactly how I felt. I even wore headphones and listened to my Sony Walkman while I played. Man I had a sweet playlist too. Genesis, ELO, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead, and a hint of Kiss and Paul Simon.
But when the music started and the quarter went in, I was totally zoned out. Everything that was outside of the screen was pretty much blurry to me. That’s how it normally is with me and video games now a days too. If not in the arcade then on the Playstation 4 or NES or computer. I just get in that tunnel. And sometimes that can be extremely dangerous.
My parents were upstairs at the gate and they told me to keep an eye on the clock and be upstairs at a certain time. It was a small airport. But on one family trip, as time went by, I was playing and got to the highest score and level that I had ever achieved. I felt awesome, and wished there were people watching and cheering me on.
While I was playing and had the music going, I thought I could heard someone talking and I thought it was part of the music. You know, those subliminal messages. And it happened about four times while I was playing the game. But t completely ignored it and didn’t think twice about it. Until I felt a hand grab my shoulder. I nearly crapped my pants when that happened because I was the only one in the room at the time. But sure enough, when I turned, I saw my dad with an unhappy look on his face. He pulled me out of the arcade and said and I quote, “Keep your ass out of the arcade!”
We had about four minutes to get onto the plane. Keep in mind security wasn’t to strict back then and the airport was small, but still, he wasn’t happy about rushing to the gate.
Needless to say, we made it and we pretty much didn’t talk about the incident. The only thing I remembered is, I had a six digit score and I didn’t get to put my initials in. How cool would it have been to leave Des Moines for a week and come back and the high score was still there. Guess we will never know. But I am glad that Galaga is still available in so many formats and also glad it will bring back those fond memories.
I just can’t understand why they have taken arcades out of the most of the airports. If there are bars for the drinkers and smoking areas for the smokers, and even freaking slot machines in the Vegas airport, I just can’t understand why they can’t have something to appeal to the younger generation and gaming people, I guess this just gives me even more of a reason to….
Keep Calm and Insert Coin