I’ve mentioned the Retroist, his podcast, and his blog several times here on authordougmccoy.com. What I haven’t told you is how I first found the Retroist. I was searching Itunes for podcasts on classic video games. He had done several, so I listened to them and then to all his other episodes.
I count 21 video game-related Retroist podcasts covering everything from the NES, the Master System, the Atari 2600 & 5200, the Colecovision, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Missile Command, and Mr. Do. Here are a few of my favorites:
I said in Arcadian that I didn’t even know where the nearest arcade was anymore. Well, I just found out. The nearest arcade to me (or the nearest I know about) is in the Scadia Family Fun Center.
Scandia is located in Fairfield, CA, about a half hour from me. It is indeed a center of fun. They have go-carts, batting cages, bumper boats, lazer tag, miniature golf, and, of course, an arcade. My friends took me there today specifically to enjoy the arcade. Alas, I didn’t get to. Miniature golf took up too much of our time. But I did snap a few pics of some of the retro games they have there.
What was it like to be in an 80s arcade? Dave Dries shows us with this CGI tour. Dig all the different machine styles, the neon, the authentic screenshots, the quarters lined up on marquees as players claimed “next”, and the Journey soundtrack!
Donkey Kong has about as much merchandise as Pac-Man and Q*Bert. There is even more DK merchandise today, thanks to the modern Donkey Kong games. Here is some of the original merch from the original arcade game.
Here’s something I didn’t know about Donkey Kong until I listed to the arcade episode of the You Don’t Know Flack podcast today. If you’ve read Arcadian, you know I talk about encountering a blue Donkey Kong arcade cabinet (and being turned off by the color). In the podcast, Flack talks about finding a red one. Did I make a mistake in the book? No. As Flack continues, he explains that Donkey Kong had originally been made to fill unused Radar Scope cabinets. Apparently, that’s where the red ones came from. Also apparently, the Donkey Kong cabinet I encountered in the convenient store was not one of these original red ones but one of the later and more common blue ones.
Check out the arcade episode of You Don’t Know Flack and the other episodes as well. Also check out Flack’s (real name Rob O’Hara) ebooks: Invading Spaces (about collecting arcade games) and Commodork (about Commodore BBSes). If you liked Arcadian, you’ll like these as well.
As soon as I saw my first arcade game, there was one thing I wanted to do: take it home. I wanted to have my own arcade game so that I could play for free as much as I wanted without people looking over my shoulder. Okay, I also wanted to have my own arcade game so I could be like Ricky Schroder in Silver Spoons. There was no way I was going to get one. I knew that. But I could get one of the Coleco Mini Arcade games.
Coleco Mini Arcade games were tiny arcade cabinets featuring conversion of the best video games around: Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Galaga, and many more. They weren’t perfect copies, of course. They were LED conversions. But to my grade-school eyes, they were close enough.
Today, these seem like poor alternatives to arcade games. The graphics aren’t right and the joysticks are just too tiny. But I thought they were a great home option back in the day, and maybe it is just the quasi-arcade cabinet design, but they still have a lot of charm.