Videogames in weird places

This weekend I went barhopping with some friends in Seattle. Three of the four of us were pretty serious videogame nerds and, serendipitously, our choice of bars seemed to align with our shared hobby. The first bar we visited was the Moon Temple on 45th. Apparently this is a legendary dive bar, once voted best bar to go to if you lost your job or your significant other. The atmosphere is appropriately dark, dank and depressing, but we were more interested in the name. “Wasn’t there a Moon Temple in Final Fantasy IV?” I asked. My friend Josh laughed. “I was thinking the exact same thing.” I don’t recall if it was a Moon Temple, or possibly a Moon Palace, but we broached the subject of the viability of a Final Fantasy themed bar, complete with appropriate drink names and decor. How awesome would it have been if we had walked into the Moon Temple, sauntered up to the bartender and asked “Can I get a Zeromus?” Untapped market? I think so.

 

After a surprisingly tasty combo platter at the Moon Temple, we hit a sketchy but endearing sports bar named Goldie’s. We bought a pitcher of porter (twelve dollars! I’m used to having a good night in Bellingham for less than ten bucks) and hunkered down in the corner by the big screen TVs showing televised rodeo and lacrosse, still buzzing about our proposed Final Fantasy bar. We think we might name it The Four Crystals. As we left Goldie’s, slightly tipsy, what did I spy but one of those little tabletop arcade cabinets. Ms. Pac-Man! I’ve been writing about Pac-Man recently and thinking about it. GameWorks in Seattle has a Pac-Man machine in their retro arcade, but how many other Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man games do you think are left in the city. Those things must be older than I am. I forced my friends to wait for me while I dug a quarter out of my pocket and played Ms. Pac-Man.

 

I know this is a bit of a rambling blog post, and not really focused or up to the typical standards of intelligent discourse about gaming, but I just wanted to share that sometimes videogames and videogame culture can appear in odd places. Why does a sports bar, full of skeezy guys and drunk women playing pool have a Ms. Pac-Man cabinet? What was it doing there? I remember visiting my orthodontist’s office as a kid and playing his tabletop arcade games—Donkey Kong, RBI Baseball, and Dig Dug. The office smelled like fluoride and rubber gloves—it was a weird place to play a videogame, almost as weird as Goldie’s, but there they were. Arcade games in weird places. Where have you found videogames or gaming culture where you least expected it?

 

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~ by Ian D. on May 12, 2008.

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