Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Wow, have arcades changed since I was kid.  

I can't remember the last time I took the kids to an arcade.  I know they've been to them before, but it has definitely been a looooong time.  Years.

We found a deal on Groupon where we got $30 arcade cards for only $16.50 (I love Groupon).  I thought it would be something different to do for family time.

When I was a kid, we used quarters in arcade games.  When I got older you had to use tokens.  And the games would spit out paper tickets at you when you finished playing and when you were ready to leave, you could trade in your tickets for a prize.  

I think it was 500 tickets = a green Jolly Rancher or something like that.

Anyway, arcades have come to the modern age.  Now, you give the cashier the amount of money you want to spend, and she gives you a "credit card" with that amount of money on it.  Instead of putting coins or tokens in a game, you swipe  your card through it and it deducts the cost of the game and tells you your balance.  It also saves up all your "tickets" on your card and when you are ready to leave, they just scan your card to find out how many tickets you have won.

This was a particularly cool arcade though with laser tag, mini-golf, a laser obstacle course, a climbing wall, and a dodge ball court with a referee and real rules and stuff.  

When I was a kid, we had to play dodgeball in school for PE some days.  This mostly consisted of 50 or so kids milling in fear against a wall while four football players tried to hit us hard enough with a volley ball to actually crack a rib or two.  

Fortunately, there were so many of us, the first few throws would hit four or five people at a time.  I would pretend that the ball had hit me too - it was hard to tell as it ricocheted around who all had actually been hit - and I would go sit on the sidelines and chat with my friends until the teacher made us all get back up against the wall again.  

Nowadays, dodge ball has teams and you can throw the balls back at the people throwing them at you.

But we didn't do any of those cool things at this arcade.  I actually did go through the laser obstacle course and that was cool.  But our particular deal did not let us do the other cool stuff, so we just got to play games.  Which frankly was still a lot of fun!

Kerry enjoyed war games where he could shoot people.

And he taught Katie how to shoot as well.

Emily and I enjoyed Ski Ball!

We all liked Deal or No Deal and played it a bunch of times!  We had as much fun making fun of the models who open the suitcases as we did trying to win points on our cards.

The most hilarious moment was when I spotted a Guitar Hero game.  

"Let's play that," I told Kerry.

"I don't know how," he responded.

"Me either.  Let's play it anyway!"

We each picked up a guitar and tried to figure out how this game worked.  Apparently, you are supposed to pick a character to represent you during the game.  Unfortunately, neither of us could figure out how to scroll through the characters or choose one.  I wound up being a huge overweight Gene Simmons and Kerry wound up being a pink-clad rocker chick.

We had a general idea that we were supposed to push the colored buttons on the guitar neck as the colored dots showed on the screen.  I was pushing them in time to the beat, but nothing was happening.  After a few stanzas of an 80's rock tune, we finally figured out that we were supposed to hold down the colored button with our left hands and strum with our right thumbs in order to actually get points in the game.  This required way more hand-eye coordination than either of us possess.

Suddenly two 10 year old boys materialized on either side of us.  

"What are you doing???"  "You missed a power-up!"

"What's a power-up?"

"That thing you just missed!!"

They were horrified that we were wasting a perfectly good game by playing it so badly.  I was laughing so hard my sides hurt.  We could tell they wondered why two old fossils like us were pretending to play guitar.

When we were done they practically ripped the guitars our of our hands, strapped them on and started playing.  

Kerry and I wandered off snickering to find an old fogey's game.

And Kerry killed aliens.

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