Tiger Electronics and my hand-me-down green Play It Loud Gameboy were the only things i had to play at home until the end of 1999, otherwise i would’ve had to hang out with my chill spoiled cousin cuz that fucker had everything, dude had an MA1, an MA2, Sega CD, 32x and a Saturn all at once! point is the arcade is where i spent as much time as i could, i guess the experience is a little more equitable, we all share it with quarters.
my most frequented arcade was definitely the untitled arcade in the Melbourne Square Mall by the main entrance, next to Suncoast, two down from the electric piani store and opposite the food court. No tickets, no redemption. They had a huge fighting game crowd that forced the throne game to the front and very center of the room, the first thing you see from outside walking by. Killer Instinct was wildly popular and i got my ass kicked every time i played (TJ Combo), later when it got literally sidelined i went scrounging for quarters behind it and found a Penthouse mag. rule. They had plush red carpets, mirrored ceilings with old marquees surrounding the perimeter, acting as vertically angled lampshades. There was a Sinistar marquee that overlooked the throne game. People would print out combo sheets and tape em to the sides of the cabs, MK fatalities too. Best I ever got here was at Marvel Superheroes (Cap).
APB, 720, the 3-screen Darius, they even say Stun Runner still haunts the space. It wasn’t the best arcade but it was the one i went to the most. It’s where I first saw, played, and beat Metal Slug! It is my formulative Rowe BC-35 sensory imprint. the days when it would not accept bills were otherwordly bogus. I only talked to the dude that lived there a few times but unless it was a busy friday night at Time Killers (Orion) he would just be silently sitting in the dimly red-lit office watching Robo-Cop 2 or brooding.
There are so many arcades that i loved and i would really love to talk about most of them, so i will but in easily skippable segments. There are mostly just two more that have great significance in my life but a couple more experiences that left impressions like the 8-bank wall of Daytona USAs at the Daytona Intl. Speedway. I only went to the BX a couple of times but Patrick AFB didn’t have an Anthony’s, just a Burger King and the Virtual Boy on demo at the commissary next to tvs looping Captain Nuke and the Bomber Boys.