Reclaiming an Arcade of One’s Own

This post is proof that if you work hard enough, kiddies, all your dreams can come true! Don’t listen to the Italians, America is still the land of opportunity, I mean where else can you buy and transport four fully functioning vintage arcade cabinets for the price of a Macbook Pro?

Reclaim Video

And the big reveal…

Reclaim Arcade

Defender, Galaxian, Asteriods, and Kangaroo! Add those four to our mint Centipede and we’re getting quite close to a full blown Reclaim Arcade directly behind Reclaim Video. And on the wish list are Make Trax (a.k.a. Crush Roller), Pac-Man, Joust, Scramble, Star Castle, Phoenix, PleiadsTempest, and Bishop of Battle. But who can stop there?!

Tim is even getting in repair mode on these machines, here he is fixing the fire button on Centipede, which entailed cleaning some contracts:

Reclaim Video

Reclaim Video

As for me, I found the Galaxian manual online which allowed me to turn down the volume. It is amazing how detailed and awesome the manual is. We did not buy a video game, we bought a piece of history—a very personal one for me.

Reclaim Video

The fact we have 5 video game cabinets from 1979 through 1982 really places me in a time and place as a ten year old heading up to the pool hall on Grand Avenue in Baldwin to play Defender, the Star Wars vector game, Battle Zone, Crush Roller, Pac-Man, Pole Position, etc. It was a dark little corner of the huge billiard hall where kids (mostly my age) could steal away for an afternoon with their quarters for hours of fun. If I wanted to play Joust or Galaxian I needed to go around the block to The Incredible Pulp—a local comic and D&D shop (filled with Frank Franzetta and Chris Foss artwork that remains burned in my memory). It was all a piece of an era that I still long to have material ties with, and unlike the idea of a barcade which reduces the nostalgia to a transaction, for me Reclaim Arcade will forever be fused with the notion of an adolescent playground of imaginative dexterity. Anyway, I am rambling now, but I really do love this recent kick Tim and I have been on, and all I can say is that there will hopefully be more to come 🙂

Header image credit: Nunley’s Arcade in Baldwin, LI during the 1990s

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9 Responses to Reclaiming an Arcade of One’s Own

  1. This is so awesome. I’m happier, just knowing you crazy bastards have done this. I spent hours and hours feeding quarters into Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe. All you need now is a working Tempest…

  2. The video games were the games that the kids played (not that I didn’t also spend a lot of time in front of a Galaxian screen). They were the rip-off games, because they consumed your quarters a lot more quickly, and there were never any free games. Arcade rats like myself knew to play pinball. A single quarter might last all morning. Hitting the target with the ball was a skill, a physical skill, not just flipping, but playing the whole machine with gentle pushes and nudges. The video game crowd never got that. Eventually the pinball machines were pushed out and the only place to play them was in dive bars and biker hangouts.

    • I played pinball (I still have a classic Trade Winds in my basement), but Asteroids and Tempest were my jam. (the nearest Asteroids was at the Canyon Meadows Mac’s…). They were amazing because they were a completely new thing. UofC’s arcade was one of the best in the city at one time. Man, I miss that place. It’s a Subway now.

    • Reverend says:

      Pinball is too analog, us Gen-X, latchkey, TV babies are digital animals, Stephen! Plus, pinball was very, very boring.

      • Meh. The ‘interactivity’ if those video games was a controller (two-way at first, then 4-way’) and a button. That’s it. You soon realized that they were all basically the same product, with different graphics. Pinball was far more interactive, and every board was different. Video games were boring. It wasn’t until computer games came along with some decent smarts that they became interesting.

        • Jim Groom says:


          I love it when you comment on the bava! Granted those video games were not No Man’s Sky, they certainly seemed like a brave new world, the difference for me was the idea of graphics. Watch and controlling Pac-man was one of the formative moments of my childhood.

          What’s funny is that how perceptions cascade, I saw the real ripoff as the games that required you to feed quarters to advance, such as Double Dragons and Ghosts & Goblins, or Gaunlet. All games I liked, but the idea was to make you pay as much as possible to complete the game. That was not the case with Galaxian, Asteroids, Defender, Pac-man, etc., you had one quarter to make a go of it, and I probably spent anywhere from 30-45 minutes on one quarter playing pac-man in my prime. So, its interesting how the generational scoffing kicks in all the way down 🙂 At the end of the day, though, I know I am a victim of my historical milieu, and I have always already given myself over to the fact that I have been thoroughly programmed by 70s and 80s culture, Much like Pac-man, I am caught in a maze of culture the promises freedom while training me to consume, all the while dogged by four ghostly horsemen of freedom* 🙂

          *With apologies to Bandersnatch.

  3. Pingback: Reclaim Video’s 1900 Laserdiscs | bavatuesdays

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