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Welcome To Warp Zone: A Trip Back To The Heyday of Arcades

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Hello there everyone! I’ve been in America the last few weeks, and it turns out America still has some semblance of an arcade scene. There was one near where I was staying, actually – a wonderful place called Arcade Legacy. A veritable gaming mecca, filled with every console ever made, loads of arcade cabinets and a decent pinball machine selection, I visited this place so you don’t have to.
Although I’ll spoiler you now: you should.

Instead of being a coin-sucking hellhole, Arcade Legacy has this system where you pay $5 for an hour’s play, or $10 for all night (until 1AM!). This seems to be working out pretty well for them, too – according to the owner and their twitter feed, they’re regularly getting new cabs in, just recently acquiring a tasty House of The Dead 2.
I’m an Englishman, born in the early 90s, so I missed the arcade era by a long shot. The best chance I got was the occasional visit to an amusement arcade at a seaside town, but even they were mostly those gambling type machines, wee penny pushers and the like. It was rare to find a proper arcade cab, and even rarer to find a good one. The best experience I ever had with an arcade machine was in Monaco, where I (read: my dad) paid 5 Euros for my sister and I to play a round of Mario Kart Arcade GP. (I also played a lot of MAME, but it was never the same)
So when I discovered this place, after leaving a dollar cinema, you can imagine my excitement.
So what did they have? How about a timeless classic: Rampage (feat. my qt3.14 gf)?

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Why not play some BATTLETOADS, bitch?

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Mortal Kombat II is actually a really crappy game. I guess people really did only like it because of all the violence.

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This is Street Fighter Alpha, which it turns out I’m pretty good at. I main Cammy on SFIV, since you asked.

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RED ALERT. WE ARE OUT OF BORT LICENSE PLATES. (The Simpsons arcade game is as great as everyone says it is).

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Here’s a curio: Puzzle Fighter 2. This was probably my favourite game I played, actually – it’s similar to Mean Bean Machine, but with chibi Street Fighter characters and huge chairs. Maybe I was just glad for a sit down.

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The award for ‘weirdest game’ goes to the Shrek pinball unit. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t feature this. Or this. A true travesty.

Oh, that’s right, I’M LYING. SING ALONG.

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It had Donkey Pinball, a pinball table inside a pinball table. Get your transparent Xzibit PNGs ready, everyone.
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Just after I got done with Shrek, I saw these gents playing some Brawl. I thought I’d take them on. Turns out they’re actually tourney level, completely wrecked my shit first round. (To be fair, it has been a while since I played Smash, and I kept meteor smashing MYSELF off the edge as Toon Link). The guy in the red shirt plays Olimar, and my god. I have never seen someone win as Olimar before, but this guy just wrecked everyone. I played another round as Kirby and came second, but I wasn’t even close to taking on this guy. He was incredible.

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I’m going to leave it there, because this guy deserves that kind of awe. But in short: seek out your nearest, real arcade. If it’s miles away, make the trip. It’s worth it, believe me. WORTH IT FOR VIDEO GAMES.

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