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New York Barcade

New York Barcade

On Friday November 30th I told was looking the day of for places to go for the assignment, I told my girlfriend that were doing something random in New York and she was happy to oblige. One place I always wanted to go was this bar that also has a retro arcade on West 24th street. Now why is that special one might ask? Well to answer this I have to tell you a little bit of history about arcades. In the late 70’s and 80’s there was no such thing as a home console, i.e. PlayStation and Xbox, you had to go to a big place full of videogame cabinets and machines. These games you would pay to play it per turn, usually around 25 cents, and what they all had in common was that they were all really challenging because when you lose you must pay more, a predatory business model. Another fun fact is that as they started becoming so popular they were flooded with drugs, drug dealers would find all the kids and teens of the neighborhood in one place so it’s a no brainer to try and sell there, so much so that Ronald Raegan’s famous “war on drugs” was taken into the arcades themselves, having many games start with a screen of text that says “Winners don’t do drugs”. As we entered the place, we were greeted with a rather burly man sketching on a little copybook a bunch of drawings, checked our id’s and let us in. The whole feel of the bar is rather retro, with the design, seats, and tables all having comforting sculpted wood. I looked around for a minute and I was instantly inebriated with all of these famous retro games from the 80’s all in one place, not to mention all in working order. We skipped the drinks, ran straight to the token machine and then to the nearest cabinet. Granted I am very passionate about videogames and retro ones to be exact, but I still saw all types of non-nerdy people having fun playing games like Pacman and Mario. Men and women in their 30’s and 40’s possibly looking for the thrill of nostalgia all these games filled them with, as they were the arcade children of those times. There were one or two couples having what looked like their first date, I could tell because of the comfortable caution they were exercising, enjoying these simple games that are charming in their own right. We played asteroids (released in 1979) and some Pacman, it was so simple yet so fun I still can’t wrap my head around how everyone seems to enjoy them. Arcade games are like the sweethearts of the videogames, like the Oprah of tv, when was the last time someone said they hated Orpah? Its like my friend Alex says when someone dislikes something dear to him, he’d say “you know who else didn’t like Star Wars? Hitler”. While That statement is technically true, what I’m saying is that there is always something charming about how we used to be, and there is that thrill to be had at the New York Barcade.

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