Welcome to the (B)arcade!

This past weekend I was in Asheville, NC celebrating a close friend’s birthday (Happy 27th Birthday Matt!). In the most excellent drunken stupor we walked to the wonderful arcade or as the locals apparently called it “The Barcade”.

I grew up during the death of Arcades. Yeah, there were some highlights for me like the fight between Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat 2 but largely the arcades were slowly dying in the Mid 90’s. Thankfully that didn’t stop my local laundry mat that my Mom went to every week from suppling some of the best games an Arcade could have. I have quite a few fond memories going through classics like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Finally though, I hit the big time of Arcades and ran away to enter into a competition of Samba De Amigo in NYC at the arcade, Too Much is Never Enough. I was 16 and the World Trade Center was still standing and it was the first time I was out of my little North Carolina Box. After winning $5000 that day and while my parents were still mad at me but I really didn’t get punished for the whole thing.

It was great!

I have some fond memories of Arcades but it’s few and far between that I even get to play a crappy Multicade at a Bowling Alley. So imagine my excitement went I got to on my friends birthday and we went to a 2 story Mecca of gaming nostalgia with a Bar and Night Club included. After getting carded, my group all went upstairs and I instantly zoned in on Virtual On. The Double Sticked Mech Fighter, I had only gotten to play on console was sitting right by the door inbetween Daytona 500 and the Bar. But the first thing I ended up doing was playing Dance Central 2? Yeah they have a giant projection screen of Dance Central and Kinect hooked up behind the Bar and surprisingly even with the DJ blaring just a few feet away. It was still loud enough to hear and dance along with, but after attracting some attention for my white man trying to dance moves. I got some Quarters and we all went to town.

In the middle of the room, there are stairs leading to the 1st floor that is the actual dance club and a line around it waiting to get in. I never bothered to get in line. I saw all the games I wanted to play instantly and a DJ and a Bar upstairs. Maybe the next time I go, I’ll explore more but I didn’t need to wait in line to do fun stuff when it was surrounding me. After the group all attacked their own things. We grouped together for some Terminator 2 action. Matt and I are big T2 fans (the movie and the game) so we were drawn to it pretty hard. And surprisingly we did really well with the game. But it wouldn’t really matter too much BECAUSE EVERY GAME CREDIT IS ONLY A QUARTER.

So we all played everything. Unfortunately I saw this game called Lucky & Wild that I had never heard of before but it had 2 guns and a driving wheel. I really wanted to play it but it wasn’t operational at the time. So we just acted like we were playing it for a pose. Ski Ball was next and my girlfriend who had never played before Beat all of us with a score that was greater than all of our scores combined.

Then watching the Bros dance for a bit, Matt and I decided to out do everyone and do the worm in unison. After a high five from a guy I wouldn’t normally high five, We ended up at The Simpsons Arcade Cabinent and went to town! 2 ┬ádollars later, we called it a night and high tailed back home. Brittany and I were considering moving to Asheville, but this sealed the deal for me.

Bryan Belcher

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