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Meandmhavocpaint

Me at a H. A. A. G. expo (2004?)

Hi, fellow gamers and/or preservationists!

This is going to be my arcade gaming blog, where I talk about memories about every game room that I can ever recall going to...well, for the most part: in regards to something like Bear Creek Cinema 6, for instance, I barely remember it only having S. T. U. N. Runner and possibly Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator, and little else in regards to the place, so I won't be bothering with arcades where I can only recall one game. Perhaps I'll dig through my old diaries to see if a place like that was mentioned in there somewhere, but I doubt there would be anything games-wise there, although it could jog a memory or two though.

Anyway, any place that I can remember at least two games and/or specific memories from I'll definitely be including in here, even some "unknown" arcades, one of which I don't even remember what state it was in! (What the hell, I was a kid and we [the family] went all over the country back then.) Two of these are from here in Houston (as are just about every single place I entered on this wiki that I personally went to myself), but they don't have pages though (possibly never will, either!), along with a gaming expo (since those pages are forbidden here, as they don’t fit the criteria of this wiki, but I'm still including them here, as can anyone else that keeps an arcade gaming blog).

The majority of these I gathered up from comments I left on pages that I input, which I then expand upon here, which is allowed due to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License from their individual pages to be reproduced.

Arcade blog

Arcades, HoustonEdit

Astroworld/game roomsEdit

Astroworld was a pretty good amusement park that opened in 1968 and lasted until 2005. It had several game rooms, so unless someone would be able to name the specific ones and which ones had what games in them, it would be impossible to do a page on them, unfortunately. I think only one game room was fairly large, all the others, just mid-sized, with about 20-30 games each. I can't recall if the games ran on quarters or tokens (except for one instance, which I’ll get to), or maybe it depended on the game room itself.

Some of the games I remember are Asteroids (the original one from Midway, which was a racing game, and NOT the later Asteroids by Atari), Astron Belt, Kick Man, Robotron: 2084, Exerion, Tempest, M. A. C. H. 3, possibly The End and Zoo Keeper, among tons of others that resided within the four game rooms of the place, along with the usual redemption machines as well.

I remember one year when they made a pretty major mistake of putting games at a high difficulty level at one point in the early 1980s (only one extra man for every 50,000 points on Robotron?!) and they raised the prices to 50 cents per play, but then the prices and difficulty levels were back down to normal by the next summer though. I hope they lost a bit of money that summer! R. I. P. though, Astroworld.

Celebrity CafeEdit

So, this started out as an actual café, but I have to pat myself on the back and say that it got converted into a huge game room later because of ME! Ok, maybe not exactly true, but I’m pretty sure a light bulb went off over the owner’s head the day I went over there to get change for a dollar, which he said “for the game room next door?” (which was Games, Games, Games), as the attendant was nowhere to be found and their change machine wasn’t working. So that was a very nice, big surprise the one day I went to Memorial City Mall sometime later to find that this so-called "cafe" had suddenly converted to a huge game room.

This was the very first place I saw (and probably played) Pac-Man (which I thought was weird at first), Donkey Kong (thought it was stupid at first), and Stargate (since a sign on it stated it was the only Stargate in Houston, if not the entire state of Texas, I don't recall which). It was also the only place I saw and played the great Berzerk sequel of Frenzy too, along with Space Zap and Solar Fox. It was also a bit surreal playing the so-called Vanguard II (more like Xevious II, really) in the sitdown cab, since it seems really quiet nowadays without any in-game music. And I do believe this is where I saw a ton of tokens all across the top of the Tempest there, which would’ve been a couple of dozen with that wide cab! (Now that I think about it, I believe this arcade started off with tokens, then switched to the pay up front deal of some sort, as I mentioned in the intro on that page.)

Unfortunately this, along with almost all the other arcades in the Mall, got wiped out after the video game crash killed everything, except for the Green's game room.

Champions LanesEdit

I remember going to this place with my dad, then playing some games in between bowling :) Not many games there, but it fed my Space Invaders addiction nicely (that pretty much everyone had at the time!). It was also great furiously rolling those trackballs on the Atari Football game, along with racing around with Sprint One, BUT having the volume on the Flash pinball machine cranked up to drown out Space Invaders pissed me off though! At least they turned it down after a while, but that was annoying for a bit there, to say the least.

Dairy Ashford Roller RinkEdit

I believe this had the Gorgar pinball machine back in the 70s. Also Sprint One as well if I recall, which is rather an interesting experience in trying to push down on the gas pedal to move your onscreen car while you’re in roller skates.

Fun*PlexEdit

I only went to this place a handful of times--mostly during '87--as it's a good 40 minute drive from here. This was the only place I saw Ghosts 'n Goblins, where a friend of mine said "he's running around in his underwear!", in regards to when your knight gets hit by a projectile and he loses his armor. Quite funny, and we played a bit of that game, as well as Gauntlet II. Not so much with Spy Hunter II though; yeech! What were they THINKING in doing a sequel such as that? I don’t see how the guy could be a spy in a post-apocalyptic world, but then I suppose anything’s possible (except for making a decent sequel!). I also played Blaster there, then went there once in the early ‘90s at some point, finding that my ported Master System version of Quartet was quite a bit different from the original, and then played Gauntlet Legends when I went there last in the early millennium. And I didn’t go full circle with Gauntlet 2 and then Legends years later, since, as usual, the original was better!

Also, at times the arcade had two levels, which, depending on certain circumstances (I assume when our economy went south), the upper level would be either open or closed: all during ‘87 it was open, but was closed off the last time I went there. But then, they had an outdoor water slide/park too, which now appears to be gone.

It’ll be cool to go back there again at some point to see how it is, especially since one part of the arcade is now comprised of retro games.

FunWerks (1111 West Loop North)Edit

This was originally known as Malibu Grand Prix, which I went to only a handful of times during my junior high years.

I went there once as an adult just to play the based on the original, but updated in 3-D Gauntlet Dark Legacy and Starblade. As the saying goes, you can’t go home again, as the Castle building (the largest of its two game rooms) seemed smaller and there weren’t a lot of games I was interested in as opposed to the great arcade boom from 20 years’ previous. Oh well, it happens, sadly.

GamesEdit

I think that's what this game room in Memorial City Mall was called, but I'm not 100% sure; some day I hope to look it up and put in a page here about it.

I remember playing Berzerk there, along with the so-so Megatack (Challenger, which came out later, took some play mechanics from that but totally blew it away, as that was the only time I ever saw this lame game anywhere), possibly Q*Bert and Stargate, as Celebrity Cafe had a hand-lettered sign proclaiming their Stargate, when it was first released, to be the only place in Houston, if not the entire state of Texas to get their hands on it. Games followed by getting their own cab of it a few weeks later. I remember people standing around it and watching that sequel to Defender mesmerized.

This wasn’t a huge arcade, having like 25-30 or so games in the early 1980s, and closed around 1985 when just about all the other game rooms in the mall went out of business after the video game crash of ‘83-‘84 occurred.

Games, Games, GamesEdit

This is the earliest game room I ever went to in Memorial City Mall, as it opened in the late 70s (since I played Sea Wolf there when it was current).

Lotta good ones there, like Rip Off (great name for a game!), Star Fire cockpit model (the Star Wars theme was very obvious and interesting), it was the first place I saw and heard Gorf (which I thought it was odd with the voice synthesis with an alien voice saying something I couldn't understand, but it was amazing to have those five games on it), Starhawk and Asteroids, the latter of which I recall seeing a real hot dogger on it, which was cool.

Even several games I never played caught my interest, such as Bandido (like Space Invaders in all directions), Eiminator (it was in constant play, which I could see why years later with getting a clone of it on my Vectrex), Red Baron (actually this I did play once and it seemed to go on forever), Space Encounters (loved it at a H. A. A. G. gaming expo years later though), Space Tactics (looked great but was boring decades later on MAME) and Subs, which seemed odd to have a water-themed game where, in order to move, you used a steering wheel! Should’ve tried that one out though.

And on the pinball front, it was fun to play a two player simultaneous game of the tabletop War with a friend, although the guy with his eyes lighting up on the playfield was a little creepy. I won a free game with Laser Ball once, and Gold Wings was unique with its layout, and games of that could go on for quite a while too.

Games 'R UsEdit

This game room was several blocks away from my parents' house. At one point it was just me and a friend of mine there and the owner said he was going to get something to eat and if he could just lock us up in there. (Note: that might come out sounding wrong; he was just a nice guy, is all.) Even though we were out of money and it would still be a while before my mom could pick us up, it was a nice dream to be locked inside an arcade :)

I always wondered about their possibly dubious beginnings though, since they had a Galaxian bootleg of some sort, along with most cabs of the games being generic and blank with no side art, stating that some company “presents” the game, rather than saying Stern or whoever really DID make it (I remember Scramble was like that). Made me wonder if they were stolen or something. Whatever the deal was, they had some underground ones (along with the regular, legit classics like Asteroids and Missile Command) such as Cosmic Alien, Meteoroids, Space Fever (Color), and Space Firebird, the latter of which I wish I had tried, but then, it only worked once, and after that it was always out of order! I recall mom said it looked neat too.

Green'sEdit

This is believed to have begun as the tiny arcade in the Memorial City Mall Sears, since Route 16 was one of the games in that arcade, which then later appeared inside Green’s. They also had several vector classics such as Black Widow, Quantum (although that one wasn’t really “classic” if you ask me), Tac/Scan and Armor Attack, along with the raster Space Panic and Super Pac-Man, among many others. Years later they would also get Splatterhouse, which a friend of mine was gushing over. That was one of the last games they had before shutting down, in about 1990 or so. It was amazing they were THE only arcade to survive the crash, as Quiptar's, Games, Games, Games, Games and Celebrity Cafe--all in the same mall--were all killed off then, and Quiptar's and Celebrity Cafe were both huge.

Backing up though, it was a nice shock to find some girl there about my age one day that not only played games, but she used the exact same bonus round pattern as I did for Super Pac-Man! Holy crap! She wasn't bad looking either...then dad arrived to take me and a friend of mine home :( Wonder whatever happened to her...

H. A. A. G.Edit

Due to this being an annual gaming expo and it is forbidden to have articles on places such as these in this wiki, there will be no dedicated page for it, but I'll get into this a bit here though.

Basically these can be pretty awesome. H. A. A. G. (or Houston Area Arcade Group) began in the local Fitzgerald’s club with only 40 pinball and video games, which has since expanded to 200 individual machines, along with adding various other arcade, redemption, and even gambling/miscellaneous machines, plus home consoles. People pay an entrance fee and then all games are set on free play, plus there’s also all kinds of extras, such as merchandise up for sale, guest speakers, pinball clinics, etc., etc., etc.

There are two write-ups from myself (plus pics) on The Atari Times (with two more to come at some point), as well as several presentations on my YouTube channel. You can also check their line-up of hundreds of games (as well as pics) on their official site too from past shows over the years with this annual event.

Houston Auto ShowEdit

I’m not much of a car guy, but the show I saw in ‘88 had a lot of old arcade games along since they were car-related! That was the last time (as of the start of 2015 as I write this) I played the cockpit version of Night Driver, plus Stunt Cycle and several others were there. The next year the games were gone, and, again, not being a big car guy, I haven’t gone there since. No page for this one due to the same reason for H. A. A. G./this isn’t an arcade.

Jason's Game RoomEdit

A pretty different game room here, due to being run by two ex-cops! Unfortunately they probably sunk every penny they had into it and hoped it would instantly turn a profit, since it wasn’t even open for a year before closing down just about as quickly. I just recall going there once, then seeing Beastmaster at Long Point Cinema just a few doors down, hence why I was able to nail down the ‘82 date.

Not a bad game room, having one of my all-time faves of Challenger, plus I remember Mouse Trap cracking my mom up when your mouse turned into a dog and barked when it caught one of the cats! The Williams take on combining Pac-Man with Qix (sorta) of Make Trax was also there, along with Monaco GP, as well as the trivia flop of Professor Pac-Man (meh). I should’ve played Warrior though, as it was one of the very few places I ever saw it at :|

Jillian's (Katy Mills Mall)Edit

This place had dozens of games, but due to them being current and my pretty much just liking stuff from the golden age of arcades (through the mid 80s), there isn’t much that sticks to my mind other than the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, which was good to play once I had a temp job in this mall :)

There was also some Mech game where several capsules were linked together so people could run around in seven environments and blow each other up. I imagine this would work really well with parties. I played that once with the game room attendant, and with another guy hanging around later, as the attendant said he’d let us play for free, which was cool. The attendant would give all involved a printout afterwards, giving a blow by blow account with the action that happened during the game, but it wasn’t a real big deal though: once you went through a couple of games, they said pretty much the same thing over and over again.

Too bad Jillian's is dead.

Kroger (2300 Gessner Rd.)Edit

I'm pretty sure this Kroger had several video games, as it seemed to me that that's where I played Centipede, Defender and possibly Xenophobe at a store in that area, as I wasn't much into going into grocery stores back then as a kid (now I do it all the time, of course!). Too bad they don't have games any more though, but what grocery stores DO nowadays?

Kroger (6823 Highway 6 North)Edit

Not a lot to this small game room, but it worked nicely to play a game of Twin Cobra and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom before I did my grocery shopping. Wish I could remember what that overhead racing game was though that was also there, as it was something in regards to racing your car around a track and there were fuel tanks to run over to keep your game going. I think also once you hit a screen edge then you would be carried onto the next screen of the race.

Long Point CinemaEdit

Nothing real major here, but this was the only place I saw Canyon Bomber at, which got me to buy the cartridge version for my Atari 2600 a few years later. Cosmic Monsters (also the only place I saw that at) was an odd Space Invaders clone where, if you didn’t shoot the bonus U. F. O. quick enough, it would blow up and add an entire row of invaders to the top of the formation. Not good...

This was the very first place me and a friend also saw Sinistar, which, as we nervously told my mom upon coming home, how scary it was when he roared after the player! But I got used to that quick, and it became a quirky classic, I suppose.

And I was never much into beat ‘em ups, but a friend of mine did really well at the Karate Champ there.

Also, this was just a few doors away from Jason's Game Room, which would make for a decent afternoon of seeing a movie and playing games over there as well.

Malibu Grand Prix (West Loop 610 @ Old Katy Road)Edit

This place was pretty killer, having two arcades, a race track, batting cages and a golf course.

As far as the arcades went, they had a special at least twice that I know of where they honored students for getting good grades, as I remember bringing my report card in at one point and an employee just barely glanced at it, shrugged and said "23". That was how many tokens he gave me :D That lasted me all afternoon.

The next time I brought in a report card I got a different guy (unfortunately!), which he actually spent a minute or two counting up how many tokens I'd get (you’d get a certain amount for every A and B grade you made). Well, I didn't get 23 that time and felt gypped!

So, some of the games I recall were Missile Command, which this was the only time I saw it in a massive environmental cab, where it was so tall you could stand inside it, it was pretty cool! There was also the super hard Super Zaxxon, Tailgunner, Targ (should have played it though), Pepper II, Rampart, Space Fury and Warlords, and on the pinball side there was Hercules, the most gigantic pinball machine ever made, the ultra-cool Space Invaders and Black Knight, among many others.

The place would later become known as FunWerks before going out of business, as most Malibus did over the years, unfortunately.

Memorial TheaterEdit

Although just a small arcade, you could just walk into it and play a few games if you wanted, rather than not getting access to it unless you bought a movie ticket first like with most theatres, as the arcade lobby was open right next to the ticket counter, then you walked through some doors before actually entering the theatre itself.

I played Eagle here, which seemed like an oddity at the time due to each wave/enemies changing, along with docking your ships together, predating the same feature with Galaga about a year beforehand. Lunar Lander seemed too monstrously hard for a new gamer such as myself, and that thrust bar was huge! There was also a tabletop pinball machine of some sort, as well as Sea Wolf and Mario Bros.

I remember at one point me and a couple of friends went to see a movie there, but the usher forgot to tear our tickets. So we made up some lie or something and sold them to a couple of people afterwards. Me and my one friend started playing a game of Mario Bros., but his friend got nervous and wanted to leave, since he realized the tickets were a different color for the show that was about to start with the people whom we sold the tickets to :P We later took our (stolen) money to either Celebrity Cafe or the Quiptar's arcades in the same mall.

Mr. Gatti's (North Gessner)Edit

Not much here, due to having three games at most (as I think I remember correctly), but I recall a girl in one of my school classes knowing a pattern or two and used them on Pac-Man. It was odd also seeing Lode Runner translated into an arcade game (say what?), considering the original PC game had over 100 levels, and I never saw Alien Sector anywhere else, which is an interesting take on Wizard of Wor (sorta).

News standEdit

This started off as an actual news stand somewhere in the 1950 or so block of Gessner (just a few doors down from Games 'R Us); I'll try to get the exact name of this some day and get a page of it up. Sometimes magazines sat around on the shelves in there for months though. It turned into a game room after a while (sometime in the late 1980s, like '87 or so), having Choplifter and Kangaroo (I think on the latter), having eight or so games that ran on quarters. It then later turned into a porn shop, renting videos in a bizarre way: in order to cover possible loss and theft of a product, a rental would cost about $60 initially (!) as a deposit, but then you would get most of your money back once you returned the movie. There was also some stuff going on in the back rooms that a friend of mine stated about (that I won't be repeating here) at one point when he had to use their bathroom. This could be why it went out of business eventually, since it was too close to my high school (sexually-oriented businesses have to be at least 1500 feet away from schools in Texas), although many businesses close anyway in general, so who knows.

QuickwayEdit

Or was that "Quikway" or something? Whatever it was, it was a convenience store at the end of the neighboring street from my parents' home. I would include it in here, but I think it only had two machines total in it at once, rather than the minimum requirement of three for this wiki.

I remember it had a Defender with a slightly different soundchip that I had never heard before; it made a really cool noise when you ended an attack wave while saving a humanoid. They also had New York! New York!, a crappy bottom shooter, being THE only place I ever saw it at, along with UniWar S, an unusual bottom shooter that wasn't very fun, even though it had several different waves to it. They also had Donkey Kong and Tron, the latter of which I got 999,959 on once I learned the tank and Light Cycle patterns.

They got rid of their games once I entered high school though, and now it's known as the Metroway.

Quiptar'sEdit

Well, this was THE biggest and grandest of all the game rooms in Memorial City Mall, as well as possibly the best one I ever frequented in my life (although the Castle game room at the 610 Loop Malibu Grand Prix was pretty good as well, I only went there a handful of times). Granted, I’ll admit it might not sound like it with going over the games list, but I’m sure it had the Defenders, Asteroids, several of the Pac-Man games, etc.–all huge hits at the time–but I just can’t remember what all was there though. BUT, it still had what was arguably favorites of people in general that I did list, such as Crystal Castles, Q*Bert, Reactor (although that one wasn’t a huge hit though), Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator (heh, which that one worked on nickels, for some reason! And I had a ton of them at home on my desk!) and Tron, to name a great few.

It also had some minor hits that were cool and/or different as well, such as Gravitar, Jump Bug, Space Odyssey, The Pit and Up 'n Down. They also had a decent chunk of the 15 minute fad of the laser disc, which included Bega's Battle (grossed me out with that intro where some thing burst out of someone’s body, or whatever it was), Cobra Command, Interstellar Laser Fantasy and Dragon's Lair (the latter of which a friend of mine who had money [since he had a paper route] could not only actually afford the two token price tag, but he also learned the game and beat it, which I remember once seeing a lot of people crowded around it, which I went “hey, that’s Steve!”, as he was near the very end).

Quiptar’s also had some underground games that DESERVED to be that way, such as Eyes (meh, blah version of the tanks game from Tron?), Loco-Motion (never played it, but it didn’t look that great), Lost Tomb (too hard) Pop Flamer (ditto, plus not very fun) and Warp Warp (which I actually didn’t mind, as it was a prelude to Bomberman).

A brief spin-off of Quiptar's II emerged for a whole 15 minutes, which didn’t make any sense (what was the point in having a much smaller, less superior sequel?), but then, with a whopping 12 tokens for a buck, you couldn’t go wrong with that, and both locations shared those same tokens.

Unfortunately it was a very sad time when I found this giant, wonderful place closed one day when I went to the mall :( I understood to an extent what was going on with the rest of the video game crash with lots of home game systems and computers out, as well as a ton of software to go with it all (mostly for the Atari 2600), but taking ARCADES with it? I was confused. Just about all other game rooms (Games, Games, Games, Celebrity Cafe, Games) in this mall were wiped out too.

Quiptar's IIEdit

I never understood the point of this one: why have a great, huge game room (the original Quiptar's), then have a much smaller, way lesser sequel to it? There was barely any room in there, along with not that many games, either. I just remember practically bumping into people playing Joust for the very first time (I thought whenever my ostrich flew off without me I was actually winning!) and Super Pac-Man; whatever else they had I don’t recall.

Sage (West Belt)Edit

Not much to recall with this one as a little kid. I know there was a Breakout game there, along with some pinball game where the entire top of the playfield was a row of drop targets, along with a few other video games. Really wish I could remember more here.

Sears (Memorial City Mall)Edit

This was a bit of a different, tiny, dark, cramped game room. I actually didn't know of it for very long before it closed and became the Green's arcade (at least I assume, but then, why would a game room have Route 16 and then have it appear in an arcade in the same wing outside of the store it was originally in?).

My friend who told me about this said he played the original Asteroids there--by Midway, NOT Atari. The two games were totally different, as the original one was a two player game where players moved their ships to the top of the screen while avoiding asteroids (blips of light) in a race to see who made the most points. Interesting.

Tilt (Town and Country Mall)Edit

This wasn’t the greatest game room out there, but I still enjoyed it a bit though. And why not? With Blasteroids, Challenger (one of my all-time favoites), Food Fight, Gauntlet II, Major Havoc (another favorite), Return of the Jedi (ok, not the best of the Atari Star Wars games, but I liked it), Star Rider, Thief (funny with the voice clips), Venture, Xenophobe (although maddeningly frustrating with getting bumped by the Snotterpillar and the bug where the robot won’t throw out a replacement gun) and Xybots, you couldn’t go too wrong. There was also the unusual Blaster, Crossbow (never really got into it, but it deserves a mention), Firefox, Omega Race, Pacmania (when Pac-Man’s popularity was waning), Popeye (although, again, I never was into that one much) and Space Ace, which a friend of mine could get a bit far on.

I did encounter a dumbass at one point though, as I misread my watch as to when I had to meet the family to go back home, as we split up for Christmas shopping or something (I actually had over half an hour left before returning to our meeting point, which I didn’t realize until a few minutes later). In a panic, I left a Venture game running to someone as I was going to leave in a hurry. The guy had the nerve to complain that "this game sucks!" when it was free! Hey genius, maybe you should figure out some of the strategies first after not even one full play of it! But then, a better memory involved (a few years later) about how I once ran into a friend of mine at my high school there and he had never played Xybots before, so I was coaching him as we played a simultaneous two player game of it. The next time I saw him at school he said "what was the name of that game we played?" :)

Unfortunately the game room would come to a close years later, as a few games were left in the hallway where it once stood, which was odd, as I played a Magical Drop game of some sort in the early 2000s, which was the last I got to experience that Tilt in any way, shape or form, and the Mall itself closed and was demolished not long afterwards.

Town and Country 6Edit

I’m pretty sure this was the first place that I saw and played Astro Fighter at. I recall a friend of mine complaining of the control buttons being stiff, but as a video games book I got a while later stated, the sluggish controls were normal!

It was also the first place I played Battlezone, so I was just spinning around and shooting, not knowing what the hell I was doing. I got used to the controls quickly after my first game though.

Elevator Action was also unusual the first time I played it, and seemed damn hard! I got better at it over time though.

They also had Buck Rogers Planet of Zoom, which I should’ve tried out.

University of Houston-DowntownEdit

Well, nothing better to take a break from classes, studying and all than to hit the local game room with :)

Gauntlet was always a favorite anyway, but Motorace U. S. A. was a bit of a different fare, along with the platformer Arabian. And I think High Speed is what got me back into pinball after several years (and why not? It was a great table!), but I’m not sure.

University of Houston-Downtown dormitory arcadeEdit

Odd how I never knew of Galaga '88, the sequel to Galaga, much less Galaga 3, which was here at my dorm game room. It didn't seem quite "right" with its cutesy graphics though. It was a fairly ok sequel, I guess. The Haunted House pinball game never worked though for the year I resided there, along with whatever other Gottlieb pinball game they had there (I think) that I don’t recall.

Damn shame I never took any photos of this place to scan and put up here years later, since the building’s long since demolished. It’d be nice to have a record of something this obscure here (after all, I did have a camera, as I still have pics of people years later with their homemade beer bongs, collection of beer bottles and pizza takeout boxes, hottie female students, etc. But none of this long-gone game room :( ).

Unknown Houston arcadeEdit

I really, really wish I could add this arcade, as it would be monstrously obscure. I never knew the name of it though (maybe it didn't have one?); it was only open for a few months in '82 or so, being run out of a house not far from my parents' home in Spring Branch. It wasn't much of a game room--less than 10 games that ran on quarters; not much of a competition when huge establishments like Quiptar's just a couple of miles up the road with dozens more games that ran on 12 tokens for a dollar!--but it was still unique in its own way though.

Only games I can recall are the crummy Spiders and Vanguard. There were a few others. I also remember going in there once and there was this neighborhood bully there. I was going “oh, great, he's here”, but nothing happened. He looked all angry and such. I found a dollar bill near him on the floor, which, due to being engrossed with whatever he was playing, didn’t see me swipe it. Maybe that’s why he was all mad because he lost his dollar. And after I came home and told my sister about it (she hated him too), she said “crime DOES pay!”

Unknown Houston arcade #2Edit

I think this one was off Hammerly (?) and Gessner Road somewhere. Might not've lasted even six months in '82 or '83 or something. The games possibly ran on tokens, being five for a dollar.

This mid-sized arcade (maybe 20-30 games) had an old maze game of some sort (possibly Amazing Maze), Stargate, Journey (I think) and one of those Tron machines with a different chip where several levels were different (the Light Cycles didn't jump in number from one to three, but one to two, there were different Tank numbers as well on that mini-game, etc.). An average game room: not that great, but not bad either.

Westchase 5Edit

I don't recall this theatre very well, just being confused when I played Mayday!! there, wondering as to why it had so many sounds and a few graphics like Defender. Turned out that was a hacked version of Defender with some changed gameplay and Williams, the creator/distributor of Defender, sued the makers of the end product. Heh, pathetic! Odd game too.

I recall a friend of mine playing DepthCharge too and we were trying to describe that to my mom (since we were young and why would moms care about games?). I wish I had played that now, even though it looks dull nowadays.

Windchimes Cinema 8Edit

First, this theatre had an arcade in a separate building next door, which was good for both businesses, in my opinion. They would later close for a while before relocating elsewhere, taking most games with them, although it was odd to see Star Castle sitting for weeks all closed up (especially since this was the early 2000s, so it was strange to have a game that old there), then it didn’t make it to its new location. Perhaps they couldn’t get anyone to fix it and just sold or scrapped it.

The theatre is known to have had Bubble Bobble, Galaga, Raiden DX, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade (which also didn’t make the move, unfortunately, as I like that one a bit), Tetris and The Simpsons, along with the more modern Crazy Taxi.

Pinball machines included Terminator 2 (which also didn’t make the move, although with specialized parts, they might’ve just sold it), The Twilight Zone and/or The Addams Family, I can’t remember which, or if they had both.

Arcades, miscellaneousEdit

Unknown arcadeEdit

Here's a bit of a different one, as I have no idea where this place was, for one thing: as we traveled all over the country when I was a kid, this could've been at a hotel basement in Colorado, or maybe somewhere else. I'll never know (which I'm getting too old to have many conversations about games with my mother, other than what she downloads for her iPad. So no asking about this one ;) ).

Anyway, first off, this place had like 10 to maybe 12 games that ran on quarters. It had Asteroids, which I think was still fairly current at the time, so that places this somewhere between 1979-1981 or so (although probably not that late). It still had two really old games as well, being Fonz, which I never saw before or since, and a Tank game of some sort, possibly THE Tank from Atari, along with several others I don't recall.

Also, a group of mentally- and physically-challenged group of teens were staying there at the same time my family was. They had various minor mental and/or physical handicaps, one of which was a guy who stated that, while he was playing a game, that he was claustrophobic. After watching him play this one game in particular, the crowd was getting too close, which he yelled "GET BACK!", so we backed off. He still lashed out at one point when he lost a life onscreen, clipping me in the leg, but I wasn't hurt, so it was no big deal.

Anyway, the game he was playing? Asteroids. Where...the guy's...claustrophobic...yet he played a game...where he's surrounded...by things.

How's that for being ironically funny? (No, I'm not making fun of him [I would become mildly claustrophobic in certain situations myself years later], but you have to admit the irony of the situation was something else indeed.)

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