Down the street from my apartment there's a little pizza place/arcade called Nickelmania. Think of it as a very ghetto Chuck E. Cheese. I hadn't been there in years. Last time I was there was to see if they were selling any old arcade cabinets that I could put in my old apartment. Anyway, my fiance and I are watching my niece and nephew for a few days here and there until they go back to school. We had them last Wednesday and decided to take them to Nickelmania as a fun and cheap activity. Anyway, the arcade is full of older arcade machines and only take anywhere from 1 to 4 nickels to play. The catch is that you have to play a $5 admission fee (still not bad), but you get free admission if you order pizza and food (more on that later).
So anyway, we get there and there are three day care/summer camp's worth of kids. It was insane. So we got a meal deal (pizza, drinks, and 100 nickels plus another 100 we got with a coupon). My fiance, being the primary "babysitter", decided that we were going to eat first before playing any games. While we waited for our food, I showed my nephew some of the great retro classics they had. I was saddened and disappointed to discover that they no longer had the Neo-Geo MVS cab that I used to play on , but I was about to show him other classics like Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga , Frogger, Cadash, and newer classics like Beatmania 3rd Mix, Street Fighter II: Championship Edition , TMNT, and The Simpsons. He wasn't terribly impressed, but as I always try to teach him, "You have to respect and appreciate the classics before you enjoy the games you have now (meaning Wii and XBOX 360)". Anyway, we got our food and the pizza guy accidentally made one extra, so he gave it to us for free, which was really kick ass of him.
After we ate, we finally got to play some games. I tried to get my nephew to play Cadash with me, but he "just didn't get it". He ran off to play Area 51 and put a ton of nickels in so he could use both guns at the same time. I have to admit that I was quite proud, as I didn't teach him that about shooting games, and he kinda picked it up on his own. After that we played the "karate games" (Street Fighter and Tekken). He then wanted to play the SEGA Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, but it had such bad burn in, that we couldn't even see what we were shooting at. My nephew then went on to do his own thing, and that's when things starting going downhill. I went to play some Ms. Pac-Man (didn't do too bad), and then Galaga. I was doing well, but these kids were playing on that machine with Fester from Addam's Family that shocks you through the handles and they kept screaming every time! It started to throw me off my game, but I managed to get up to level 9 without losing a life and finished with 66,000 points! I know it sucks, but believe it or not, it was a personal best for me. Anyway, I went to check on my niece and she was getting mad because some girl was trying to bully her for two nickels. I told the kid to back off and leave my niece alone and she got mad and told me that she didn't have any. I told her tough shit and there would be hell to pay if she didn't stop picking on my niece and I would have her thrown out (I didn't actually curse, but you get my point). I gave my niece some extra nickels and we played some DDR together, and then I went on to play Beatmainia 3rd Mix. Now, any of my gamer friends can tell you how much of a Bemani freak I am, especially when it comes to Beatmaina. Now, I haven't played the game in about a year, and I was a little bit rusty, and it showed. I was failing easy songs left and right, but I kept pumping nickels in and was on that machine for about an hour, and I slowly started to get my groove back (insert movie joke here) and started beating some songs until I had to play the harder ones and got my ass handed to me. After playing that, one thing's for sure, I definitely want to get a used slim PS2, mod it with the Disc Magic 3 and disc swap door and import the Beatmania games (as well as all the other great PS2 imports that never make it here. Maybe for Christmas? )
Anyway, we used up the last of our nickels and the kids redeemed their tickets to get prizes, and we were getting ready to leave. This is were it gets really bad....
We went back to our table to get the remainder of our pizza and drinks and some kids were at our table eating our pizza and drinking out of our cups!!!! I was so mad and so grossed out and my fiance yelled at the kids and then lectured them about manners and germs and whatnot (she's a teacher, after all...) The kids apologized, but the damaged had been done. Slices with bites taken out of them, soda straws were chewed up with teeth marks, it was gross. We were so pissed off that we hurried on out of there. The bad part is that the kids looked to be from "low income families or schools" and honest to God probably didn't know any better. It was kinda sad now that I think about it. If those kids were really that hungry that they had to resort to eating other people's unsupervised food, I probably wouldn't have cared if they had the decency to ask.
I was still pissed on the ride home and my fiance asked why I was still upset. I explained to her that bad experiences like this is what killed off the arcade industry. You have tons of unsupervised children running around with no regard for anything, stupid teenage clerks and chaperons who don't care about said kids because to them it's just a "summer job" (except for the dude that gave us the free pizza, he was cool and I could tell he gave it to us because my niece and nephew were behaved and not running around like idiots), games that stole your money, had bad burn in on the screens, sticky buttons, or just didn't work. I could go on and on.
It really saddens me to see that this is what passes for an arcade these days. If I ever owned an arcade, I would close up shop and quit the business before I let it turn out like that. I've seen nicer and cleaner setups at bowling alleys and GameWorks. I'd prolly go again just because it's down the street from my apartment and they have Beatmainia, but that's it. I'll go to one of the local bowling alleys, Dave & Buster's, or Gameworks for my arcade fix from now on.
...at least until I can get a PS2 and mod it, lol.
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Sounds like what happens to me every time I take my nephews to my local "ghetto Chuck E Cheese", Fun Fun Fun. Last time we went it was like 90 degrees in their and their AC was busted. We got twenty dollars worth of tokens but after about twenty minutes we left because we just couldn't take it anymore.