- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By Nick Schrager
I grew up a gamer. I am a gamer.
The first gaming console my family had was back in the 80's when I was a wee one, the Sega Master System. In fact, I still have it somewhere, minus the electronic pistol it came with, I disassembled that when I was around seven during my phase of taking things apart to find out what made them work.
This past Christmas my mom surprised me with a little treat. A disc with a lot of the original Sega games on it so that I can play them on my Xbox. I fired up all of my favorites: Altered Beast, Streets of Rage, and Sonic. As I played these, my corneas burst into flames from all of the pixilated goodness. Intuitively, I threw dirty glass bottles at enemies and morphed into mythical beasts while trying to save Zeus' daughter (I still can't get passed the second level, even after all of these years).
I can also go back and remember the first PC shooters I played: the original Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Redneck Rampage, and Rise of the Triad. I burned many hours entering cheat codes and slaying my enemies, whether they be demon, alien or Nazi.
Finally, there was the arcade, where my dad and I would go during our weekends together. I remember feeling overjoyed when he gave me $5 or $10 to put in the change machine to redeem for tokens. My shorts sagged, jingled and jangled from the weight of the coins. There was a game that he and I would monopolize in the arcade for hours. I remember the faint smacking sounds of us mashing the buttons over all of the loud kids and games, and the father-son taunts we would give each other. Eventually, we got good enough at that game and we would take unsuspecting victims by surprise. Like predators, we stood and watched until someone got on it. At that moment we would look at each other and one of us would say - "I can take him." And take them we did (most of the time). One of us would walk up to the game after they began to play, pop in two tokens, and beat the snot out of them, resulting in a free-play. I remember on more than one occasion we would let the person have the free-play.
The arcade we used to go to was more than just an arcade. It was also a go-kart, mini-golf and bumper-boat kingdom for kids. It is still there, after all of these years and now that I am old enough to look past the attractions it has, I can think: what-a-money-making-freaking-machine! And when I think that, I can look back and see that they were all over the place.
Somebody had to be getting rich!
The nearest one of those that I can think of here is in Louisville, though there is probably one closer that I don't know about. Sometime ago, I read on The Lebanon Enterprise's website that someone said they wished Lebanon had a movie theater instead of having to give Bardstown or Campbellsville our movie money. True that subscriber, true that.
A movie theater would give people jobs and keep more money here, but what if we had one of these family fun center deals on the outskirts of town? Not only would it give people jobs and keep money here, it would have the potential to suck in people from neighboring counties.
Now, I am not a businessman. I don't know what kind of licenses and insurance that a place like this would require (I am sure you would need both for the go-karts and bumper-boats). But surely it is a doable project. There are probably many people here that would say it is a bad idea to have one, and have good reasons to support their opinion. I just think that with what the video game industry is today, it's really not a bad idea.
Today, video games gross a lot of cash. Developers throw release parties that feature bands like Metallica. Some of them, in a sense, have become rock stars. A brand new game, not surprisingly, costs about the same as it did when I was a kid, around 60 bucks. Places like Wal-Mart and GameStop probably make a decent profit off of them and though I am sure the margins are very different between console games and arcades, there is still probably a nice pay-off at the end of the arcade trail.