80s Arcade Gaming Rules of Etiquette – What NOT To Do

  • Today's gamers are more likely to play at home alone or with a few friends.
  • 80s gamers headed out to the video arcade with at least one roll of quarters.
  • The nostalgic resurgence of the Old School Arcade means we should all brush up on our etiquette.

Video gaming today is done mostly home alone or in small groups. But, the Old School, 80s video gaming arcade is making a nostalgic comeback. So, before you go to one, stock up on a few rolls of quarters, check these basic rules of 80s gaming arcade etiquette and learn how to act without spazzing out.

The Mecca of arcade video gaming in the 80s was Playland, situated in the heart of NYC’s Times Square. By the late 70s, the area had become sleaze-bag central and the fabled palace (opened in the 40s) almost went the way of the Dodo bird. Thanks to the rise of the arcade video machine, Playland enjoyed a renaissance that prolonged the place’s magical atmosphere for at least another 20 years. Until Disney came along and ruined everything.

Enter Without Fanfare: Arcade gaming requires lots of concentration in a hectic environment. Players couldn’t care less if you’ve “arrived” – unless it’s for a Donkey Kong showdown.

Be Ready To Roll: Take care of your call of nature needs, hunger pangs and thirst before you hit the floor. Now’s a good time to find a Pit Boss who can turn your bills into quarters. 5 bucks worth is a good start. $10 if you’re there to throw down.

Head Straight For Your Game: At its height, the 80s video game arcade held about 50 machines dominated by maybe 10 titles. If the joint is jammed, lay down two bits at a time only. That’s just one quarter on the deck, indicating you got next game.

Start Your Game Right Away: Don’t “Ed Norton” the machine with the elaborate preparations of a concert pianist. Grab the stick, drop your two bits and get rolling.

Know Your Stuff: Compared to video games today, 80s arcade games were not exactly rocket science. Except for Asteroids, of course. It’s all about high scores and stretching 25 cents into infinity. Your weapons are usually just a joystick and a couple of buttons. Concentrate on the screen.

Classic 80s arcade games can’t hold a candle to today’s high tech titles. But, at the time, there was literally nothing more mind-blowing and mesmerizing than titles like DonkeyKong, Asteroids, Frogger, Street Fighter, the original Mario Brothers and, of course, the one that started the whole video game arcade revolution: The almighty Pac-Man.

Skip The Play By Play: Hanging behind other players and doing “color” is very uncool. Watch. Listen. Learn. Don’t be a backseat driver. Particularly if they’re chasing the checkered flag in Death Race 2000.

Clear The “Zone”: Arcade gamers don’t like to be crowded or jostled. It isn’t basketball. Even your best friend from first grade will take one of your lives if you make him trip over a barrel or get winged by a lucky space laser rifle shot. Especially on a “Magic Run.”

There’s No Crying In Arcade Gaming: Be a modest winner and a graceful loser. When the inevitable happens, one good slam on the deck is about all that’s allowed when you’re down for the count.

Know When To Quit: Just like gambling casinos, 80s gaming arcades have a House Advantage. Don’t lose yours by gambling away the mortgage money a quarter at a time. In the end, there’s never one player in that hallowed hall holding on to the high score for Pac-Man forever.

Until you come along…

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Reid Moore

Reid Moore is a Freelance Blogger retired from the USAF who lives in Riverside, California. Reid Moore has been writing online since 1996 on a wide variety of topics including News, Sports, Politics, Tech, Gaming, Autos, Popular Culture, Science, Music, Poetry, Art, Literature, the Paranormal, the Outdoors, Travel, Nature, Pets, Animals and Wildlife. So, naturally, in his spare time, Reid Moore can be found taking a well deserved nap...
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