Thursday, June 20, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Ultimate Arcade

It's League of Extraordinary Bloggers time once again kids!!! What's the burning topic this week? 

league arcade game
I'm not much of a gamer to be honest. I am a big original Nintendo fan, but only a handful of those games really turned into obsessions when I was younger (Super Mario Brothers, Contra, Legend of Zelda, and Metroid... my GODS the Metroid!!! I won Metroid enough times in a row to unlock the suit-less Samus myself without needing to get the cheat code from anyone else. My ONE geek achievement I was really proud of back then).

I get to play the exact same game again but with Green Hair!?!?!
Hells YES!
I played the Atari 2600 endlessly at my aunts house as a wee-bit but mainly only played the original Mario Bros. game, a defective JOUST game that would freeze up after finishing the first level, and HOURS upon HOURS of pinball simulator, Midnight Magic. 

This seriously almost ate my soul.
It looks hungry, right?
I suppose if I were filling a rec room I would start with those. I mean, I know they aren't strictly "arcade" picks, but I'd have a classic NES and an old Atari 2600 and the cartridges I loved. As for actual arcade games... I would only have one serious pick. There was only one game I played enough as a kid to want to own. Let me paint you a picture. 

It was a dark and smoky night in the bar/restaurant of my youth literally called "The Pizza Place" (That was indeed the creative, and inspired name of the establishment) and both my mother and my aunt were there with their friends, so naturally there was no one at home to watch me. I was about... I want to say 7 or 8 years old but the serpentine mists of time, much like the roiling clouds of cigarette smoke that polluted "The Pizza Place", make it hard for me to remember. I mean both of those things actually make it hard for me to remember. Probably more from the smoke honestly. I imagine I must have suffered some serious smoke-inhalation-induced memory loss from my time spent there. 

It was like this... only smokier... and bar...ier.
When you are someone's mother, and you're out on the town with your sister and your 7 year old kid, and you are desperately vying for "Mother of the Year" where do you go? A smoky bar that manages in a speakeasy fashion to hide its own nature by selling cheap pizza as a cover. And how does the aforementioned 7 year old stay occupied while he is trapped in what is surely a booze-soaked ring occupying a level of Dante's Inferno? Simple. You have him bring along some toy cars, let him try a sip of Auntie's "special chocolate milk" (Kaluha and milk), and ply him with quarters. Quarters to be spent not just the Chiclets-dispensing gum machine... but for this:

Pure. Yellow. Sex.
Ms. Pac-Man. That is correct sir. She was the one glowing bastion in the smoky beyond-the-Thunderdome  pizza wasteland that I was trapped in Friday night after Friday night (oh yeah, there were several trips to "The Pizza Place" when I was young). I knew even as a child there was something... sexy? about this version of Ms. Pac-Man. Dat ass. Dose legs. Her brightly rouged cheeks and pouty lips. Even the ghost in the picture was excited. 

I was given a stack of quarters and politely told to f--k off and go play Ms. Pac-Man or go hop in a van with a kindly stranger until my family members were done drinking and ready to go home. Oh the memories. 

Actually what I remember most was feeding that saucy little tart quarter after quarter and moving her around the maze gobbling up about a quarter of the board before watching her devoured by angry spirits EVERY TIME. That clutzy dame was always twisting her ankle and falling down in the woods just as, like THREE of those ghostly bastards were creeping up behind her. I was 7 okay? I wasn't a serious gamer. I knew no strategy. I was just hypnotized by her...

...something. Qualities. I don't know what. 

But GODS didn't it make the time in that blasted, craterous, smoldering hell-hole of a pizzeria a bit more bearable. My glassy, red-rimmed eyes would dully watch as she was tackled and eaten time after time after time, and once my quarter stack diminished to nothing? Well then I would curl myself up in a ball on the booze-soaked carpet under one of the tables and fitfully dream:

So yes. I would bring Ms. Pac-Man into my home. I would sweep her off her disturbingly shapley legs in that smoky barren world of special chocolate milk and terrible pizza and bring her into my home. My little pixellated angel in yellow and hot-pink. I never played the original Pac-Man game when I was a kid, but I did watch the cartoon show: 

Wait... what? Where's Ms. Pac-Man?
Is that Donna Reed?
And I remember desperately wanting to know what chocolate-covered Pac-pellets tasted like. We also owned this Christmas gem: 

Which featured an only slightly less sexualized Ms, Pac-Man...
If you're into knobby knees.
Which I am.
I LOVED this Christmas album. It is almost ear-bleedingly bad to listen to as an adult, but I got excited as a monkey on straight up crack when my mom would drag out this album around Christmas time. I have the entire album in MP3 form now thanks to the INTERNET. My family HATES it. Not very Christmas of them, if you ask me. 

So I would pretty much just feature a table-version of Ms. Pac-Man in our rec-room if I could find one for a decent price. I mean I got way further with Samus than I ever dreamed of with Ms. Pac-Man, but Ms. Pac-Man just always had more of a certain...

...charm I think. Yeah. 

Anyway... let's see what some of the rest of the League is feeding their quarters and tokens into this week:

- Shawn over at Branded in the 80's makes some great picks (including a sassy little sweet-tart I may have talked about here...) and he's rigged the machines so we don't need tokens! 

- Rich over at The Nerd Nook makes some awesome co-op-pop-culture gaming choices including some mighty mutants (of at least two different kinds... three if you count the 3-eyed fish...)!

- Kal of Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool lists some truly excellent and truly classic oldies-but-goodies.

- Jason over at Rediscover the 80's wants variety! He wants it all! He had me at "neon-blacklight air hockey".

- The Lee and Linz over at Pop Rewind also feature a familiarly fetching yet flumoxing floozy! And some other pinball-y stuff too. But I'm mostly talking about Ms. Pac-Man here. 

- Our fearless League Leader over at Cool and Collected goes all Pop-Culture Pin-Ball on us!

- The Trash Man over at Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture lists his favorite cabinets. They get pretty rage-y.

That's it for me tonight kids! I'll be back soon with honest-to-gravy Geeky Goodwill Goodies soon enough! until then, Happy Hunting!


  1. Ah the smoke filled and dark arcades and pizza joints of our youth. Oh how I miss them and the video game joys they brought me.

    1. Gods I wish I wax one of those kids that got to go to arcades as a kid... But alas we were just too rural for local arcades.

  2. Have you watched the new Pac-man cartoon on Disney? I don't get cable but was curious to get an opinion from a fellow Pac-man lover.

    1. Haven't seen it yet. I have seen commercials and some concept art. I'm not in love with the character designs for the ghosts... But it's got me curious. Have you seen it? If so what did you think?

  3. Ok so my first arcade was Ms. Pac-Man at a Pizza Parlor too! Though the pizza parlor of my youth was just a Pizza Inn with rats. Anyways, I loved Ms. Pac-Man. I wanted a hot pink bow just like hers. This was a good post!

    Oh, and before I forget, I am so jealous that you did so well with Metroid! Beating that game was the most difficult thing ever, and I could never beat it enough times to have her running around without her suit on. That is awesome!

    1. I can't remember how many times through in a row it took winning it now (I suppose I could just google it) but I remember I had one of those old wooden piece-of-furniture TVs in my bedroom with my NES hooked up and one summer, some nights I would just pause the game and leave it on over night with the TV off so I could just pick it up and go on playing the game the next morning. I was so addicted.

    2. According to Wikipedia it was actually a timing thing? So if you beat the game in a certain amount of time you reveal her without the suit on. I know I played that sucker a few times in a row, back-to-back before I must have improved my time to the point where I finally got to that ending. It was probably at the end of my third play-through.

      It blew my mind.

  4. I bet those Chiclets had been in that gumball machine since the Nixon administration.

    1. Oh yeah, they were the full-on cigarette-flavored variety as well.


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