The Last (Arcade) of Us

While I was watching an episode of Fungus Zombies* (better known as The Last of Us) on HBO, and my wife happened to be in the room:

Me: “Hey, check it out, I spent a lot of time in a place like that.”
Wife (not wearing her glasses): “The emergency room?”**
Me: “No. Well, I mean, yes. But no.”
Wife (puts on her glasses): “Oh, an arcade.”

If I had a quarter for every quarter I spent in arcades, I would have … A lot of quarters. For instance, the last time I was in Vegas, in 1983, I was too young to go to the casino***, so I spent most of my time in the arcade failing to beat Dragon’s Lair and other games. On that same trip, I dropped a lot of quarters in the arcade on Balboa Island. Because, I mean, what else was I going to do on Balboa Island? Hang out at the beach?

(Picture from Pixabay)

These days, of course, I don’t spend too much time in arcades. In fact the last time I stepped into one was some years ago—pre-pandemic—when we stopped at a Dave & Buster’s and I wandered into the arcade section for a look. I didn’t see a single machine I recognized, found the entire place noisy and baffling, and made a quick exit.

I would’ve played the heck out of those games at Raja’s Arcade, though.

* Sometimes we have our own names for shows. For instance, Slow Horses will forever be known around our house as Trash Spies, because of a scene early on in which one of the operatives brings a garbage bin back to the office and dumps it out on the floor in order to search it.

** Even leaving aside other reasons for being in the emergency room, I’m a little accident-prone.

*** The last time I was at a casino was when my wife and I wandered into the one at the Viejas outlets while doing some shopping. We spent five or ten minutes examining an electronic slot machine, couldn’t figure out how it worked, and left.

14 thoughts on “The Last (Arcade) of Us

    1. Ooh, how long have you got? Pengo, Centipede, Battlezone, Zaxxon, Xevious, Galaxian (which I preferred to its more popular sibling Galaga), Tetris, Asteroids, Sinistar, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Brothers, Pole Position, Crystal Castles, Berzerk, Spy Hunter ……..


  1. ROFLMAO!!! “Fungus Zombies”……you ARE hilarious James!
    Plus your wife mistaking the Arcade foto for an Emergency Room REALLY made me LOL!
    I used to be in the Arcades all thru’ the 70’s & early 80’s! Ahhhhh those were the days! Playing pinball & ’tilting’ machines 😉
    I miss “Nite Driver” “Speed Race” & “Gunfight” to name a few!!! (Man I AM o-l-d!)
    Thanks for a fun post1 stay outta EMERG OK???
    {{hugs}} BellaSita Mum (Sherri-Ellen) & **nose bopss** BellaDharma

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now there’s an idea. Emergency rooms decked out like arcades. Wouldn’t that make the experience that much better?! Lower lighting for my migraines and nausea would be welcome. So would a pinball machine for the long wait.

    I’ve not seen Slow Horses yet. Might check that out soon, it has been on my “To Watch” list a while now. As has The Last Of Us. I like that you rename shows and personalise them. Your “Trash Spies” sounds better than “Slow Horses” because I wonder why they’re slow. Is it genetic, is it really hot there, do they mean mentally or physically slow, are they just knackered? It’s a mystery.

    We don’t have enough arcades in the UK. It’s really, really poor. I’m lucky enough that there’s a bowling alley in our town that has an arcade, and while most of it is naff, there’s a few cool bits. I’ve been a couple of times but only when it’s less likely to be busy.

    I love that you two went to a casino and spent 10 minutes examining a slot machine before simply walking back out 😂 I’ve never really understood a lot of slot machines. They can be super expensive here, too, for what equates to three spins of nothingness on the rare occasion I’d tried them. Then of course a guy comes along who actually knows what he’s actually doing, spends a small fortune but wins what sounds like a shitload of pound coins that rain down for longer than I can even stand up. Lucky duck.

    What games, or types of games, did you used to like playing in arcades?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a very unfortunate arcade situation you’ve got there! Must be because everyone is playing darts and snooker? That’s what I gather from reading mysteries set in the UK, anyway. 😉 My favorite type of game generally used to be maze games like Pengo or platform games like Donkey Kong Jr., although these days, I’m much more likely to drop a quarter in a pinball machine than in a video game machine. Video game machines have gotten huge and baffling over the past thirty years … 😁

      (Also, nice job finishing up with a question like one of the LLM AI commenters! 😂)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m more AI than human. Well, this is a depressing day!

        I’d concur with the confusion of things over the years. I love air hockey and this arcade (faux arcade, really) has air hockey. Great, right? Nope. It’s Pac-Man air hockey, which I thought was awesome at first, as a lover of Pac-Man. Nope. It’s not really air hockey at all with the one puck being pinged back and forth. They shoot out about 100 tiny disks onto the space and there’s no skill involved at all, it’s just chaos. Kinda fun for a second but it doesn’t let me forget that it’s NOT air hockey. Grrr.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a retro arcade called Timeline in the region which has all the classic video and pinball machines from the late 70s through the 90s, heaviest lean on 80s games. You pay $10.00 an hour for unlimited play, $25.00 for all day.

    Liked by 1 person

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