Ou sont les Tempetes d’antan?

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I’m writing this on a train heading north from Silicon Valley to San Francisco for MacWorld. Doing a little amateur war-driving on the way. Distinct lack of creativity hereabouts vis-a-vis naming WiFi networks — “linksys” and “NETGEAR” and “default” all the way. Somebody should get right on that.

Great piece here about the decline of the video arcade. For me this was a major part of growing up in suburban Massachusetts. When arcade games were first getting to be a thing I had to ride my bike to Bedford, one town over, and get my Tempest on in a back corner of a sticky bowling alley. You were literally in the margins — an embarrassing ancillary revenue stream that was openly scorned by the old guys who were actually using the bowling alley for, you know, bowling. When I first started going to actual arcades, it was a revelation. There was no bowling: it was all games. The margins had taken over the center. I felt enfranchised.

That’s all gone now. The only arcades left are full of expensive novelty games that look worse than what I’ve got at home, plus you have to put shiny metal disks in them to keep playing. The last arcade I went to regularly was in Times Square. This was 1992, it’s long gone now, but it had no name and a rotating flashing light over the door and Magic Sword — an all-time favorite for me — inside. Once again, I was practically the only person in the building who was there to play games. Bowlers had been replaced by drug dealers. So it goes.

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