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Archive for the ‘arcade’ tag

Monkey Business, 1820 Augusta Highway (Lexington): 2010   10 comments

Posted at 11:49 pm in attraction,business

UPDATE 9 Jan 2011 -- That certainly is a conveniently specific insurance regulation, isn't it?

Monkey Business was an indoor arcade/amusement park off of US-1 in Lexington. I know it was open at the start of 2009, but am not totally sure that it made it into 2010.

The place was inside the largest part of a warehouse-like building (a Cheerleading school is in the smaller part), and had a number of different attractions. There were bouncy castles, jumbo slides, video games, skee-ball, a small carrousel, a snack bar and private rooms for birthday parties. I only went once, but my impression was that all the kids there were having a good time, and it appeared to be doing a good business.

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Written by ted on January 6th, 2011

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Putt-Putt Golf & Games; 1108 Knox Abbott Drive: 1985   4 comments

Posted at 12:30 am in attraction,business,historic

1108 Knox Abbott Drive does not seem to exist anymore. I believe that this SCB&T at the corner of Knox Abbott and 11th Street is the successor location, but I could be a bit off on exactly where the demolished Putt-Putt center was.

The last listing for Putt-Putt Golf & Games was in the Feb 1985 phonebook, so apparently they closed down sometime in 1985, just about the time I was leaving town for my 20 or so years of sojourning elsewhere. I can vaguely recall seeing the place, but I never got around to visiting it -- In my mind, minature golf was something you did at Bell Camp or the beach, and I had enough, or more than enough, video games closer to the University or closer to home to keep me busy.

Putt-Putt had a number of locations in Columbia for years, including Percival Road, Devine Street and Saint Andews Road. Those all closed and then, some years later, one on Sparkleberry opened, but didn't last long at all.

UPDATE 7 Nov 2010 -- OK, there seems to be a general consensus that the picture above is the wrong location for the former Putt-Putt. Some say it was about where Kenny's is:

Others say as far up as Preciscion Tune:

Written by ted on October 14th, 2010

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Land of Oz, 2500 Decker Boulevard (Decker Mall): 1986   19 comments

Posted at 1:27 am in business,entertainment,historic

Actually, this might not be Land of Oz as I can't remember if that was at both Bush River & Decker Malls, or only at Bush River with this being another operation. Whatever the name, it was definitely the Decker Mall video arcade though.

In its current incarnation, it has had somewhat "regular" doors retrofitted into the distinctive flat-arch entranceway, but originally, I believe they just drew a sliding mesh curtain at nights.

The layout I most remember had Don Bluth's pioneering "Dragon's Lair" console dead center in the entranceway facing the hall. This game was a combination of traditional hand-drawn "cel" animation served up from a laser-disc (not a DVD!) and choose-your-adventure gameplay with the transition between the scenes being guided by the game-play lever. For instance, if a dragon was about to fry your knight, and you raised your shield, the disc would transition to a "flame bounces off shield" scene, if you didn't raise it, it would transition to an "the ashes of your character blow away scene" (those are just examples, I don't recall the actual specifics). Actually like many "pioneering" technologies, it wasn't that good because they were pushing the video scene changing tech further than it was really ready to go, and the transitions were really clunky.

If you turned left at "Dragon's Lair", there was a "Bezerk" somewhere in the left side of the store. This was the pushy game that would in "attract mode" declare "COIN DETECTED IN POCKET" from time to time. You had to either shoot the robots or run them into the electric walls. I liked it, but wasn't that good.

Somewhere against the back wall, I think was "Battlezone" a vector-graphics based POV tank game. You had two levers, one for each tank tread, and you could spin in place by running one tread fowards and the other tread backwards. I usually ended up fooling around with navigating the tank and getting shot.

I don't recall any more of the layout, but they definitely also had "Asteroids", "Space Invaders","Tempest", "Defender" (which I could not play at all -- too many things to keep track of), "Milipede", and "Missle Command". I suppose they must have had "Pac Man/Ms Pac Man", but I don't really recall it. I'm prettty sure they did not have some of my other favorites, "Star Castle", "Galaxian", "Phoenix", "Gorf", and "Joust", or my all-time favorite, "Galaga". Of course, it could just be that when I was in college, I went to Robos instead of here and thus missed the gradual turnover.

I'm not really sure when they closed. The mall underwent a long gradual decline that accelerated into death-spiral when Kroger and Target pulled out, but I think they were gone before that, probably late 80s I'm guessing.

UPDATE 18 June 2012: The last city directory listing Land of Oz is 1986, so I have updated the closing time in the post title from "1980s" to "1986".

Written by ted on July 22nd, 2009

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Robo's Video Arcade, K-Mart outparcel Devine Street: 1980s   3 comments

Posted at 1:05 am in business,entertainment,historic

I wrote at some length about Robo's on Main Street some time ago, and that's the location I overwhelmingly went to to hone my Galaga skills (and by hone, I mean, I was "ok"). That made sense as I lived across the street from there, but when I was home and had access to a car, I would come to this location from time to time. I recently parked near there to get some pictures of the Advance Auto Parts demolition, and decided to take this shot.

At this remove, I'm not entirely sure which storefront Robo's was, but I think it was the one to the left of the blue dumpster. My memory also says that this location was something of a poor stepchild in the Robo's family -- I recall it as being smaller, less busy, and having a smaller variety of games. Unlike the University location, it didn't have a clear constituency (ie: college kids), though I suppose there are plenty of residences in the general area. I'm not sure if it outlasted the Main Street or Dutch Square locations -- it did have the advantage of not having its building torn down, but I think Main Street had folded long before that happened to its former home.

Written by ted on April 4th, 2009

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Main Beach Arcade, Fernandina Beach Florida: 2005   2 comments

Well, I'm on the road, and didn't get all the pictures I wanted to take done beforehand, so I'm going to throw in a few ringers this week.

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Written by ted on February 17th, 2009

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Barrel Of Fun Video Arcade, Dutch Square: 1980s   39 comments

Posted at 12:39 am in business,entertainment,historic

Well, the spot doesn't look like much now, but this Dutch Square storefront just outside of White's was once the home of The Barrel O' Fun video arcade, and was a pretty hoppin' place. The 80s were the heyday of the video arcade, and Barrel had all the standard ones like PacMan, Galaga, Defender, BattleZone, Tempest, Gorf, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Joust, Missle Command, Dig-Dug, Galaxian and Phoenix. My memory is very hazy, but I think it had some of the less common ones that I really liked such as Qix, StarCastle and Pengo. That last was a very "cute" but nonetheless creative game where you (as a penguin) would kick ice blocks around the screen to crush the killer Sno-Bees. You could also keep them from hatching if you kicked their ice blocks before they emerged. I think probably a lot of guys were embarassed to play it because of the "cute" factor, otherwise it would have been huge.

Of course you could find the games, even the uncommon ones, elsewhere, so what really made Barrel O' Fun distinctive was it's polished wood entranceway. This was done up as a cross-section of a huge wood plank barrel, was very eye-catching and gave the place a bit of class. Even after the arcade closed, you could see the entrance for a number of years, draped with some sort of plastic. I'm not sure when they totally blanked out the storefront as they have now done, but it wasn't too many years ago. I'm not entirely sure when the place closed. The last time I can specifically remember going there was after I walked out of a movie at Dutch Square Theater in 1987 and killed some time there while my sister and her friend finished the show. Dutch Square itself was clearly in decline by then, as were video arcades, so the two factors together probably finished the place, and I don't think anything else has ever gone into that slot.

UPDATE 24 Aug 2010: I have posted two photos from commenter Trey above. One is of the Barrel Of Fun sign in his workshop, and the other, entitled "Inside Coin Booth", seems to be of the old round entrance to the arcade. Also, given this evidence, I have updated the post title from Barrel O' Fun to Barrel Of Fun

Thanks Trey!

Written by ted on February 7th, 2009

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Galaxy World, 7814 Two Notch Road (at I-77): 1980s   4 comments

Posted at 6:44 pm in business,entertainment,historic

As I wrote in my post on Robo's Video Ardade, nothing says "80s" like an arcade. But perhaps an even better example than Robos is the arcade which was at Two Notch & I-77 (although actually I-77 wasn't completed to that point at the time).

This arcade was a spec-built freestanding building located a good ways from any customer base, or foot-traffic. Robos was across the street from the University, other arcades were in malls, this one was meant to be a destination in itself, and it worked for a while...

I remember that in the summers while I was in grad school, I would drive out to Bell Camp (to be the subject of its own post someday) for an afternoon swim and drive home via Two Notch with my hair still drying in the breeze from the car window to make a stop at the arcade. I recall that the set of games skewed a bit from my favorites, but I still found enough I could play that I could drop a few dollars and spend an hour or so.

Soon after that, the arcade phenomenon crashed and arcades all over town closed down. My memory is that the next occupant of this building was some sort of carpet store, and that there may have been another before its current tenant, a golf center. I do know people who like golf, but I'd still rather visit an arcade.

UPDATE 16 July 2010: Finally updated the post title from "Video Arcade" to "Galaxy World", and added the full street address.

UPDATE 7 January 2014: Fix street address from 7813 to 7184.

Written by ted on February 24th, 2008

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