I don’t mean arcades, I’m talking about retail stores like grocery stores, drug stores, 7-11 and other mini-marts. Yea, back in the ’80s they basically all hosted a couple of arcade cabinets. As a kid being dragged around from store to store by my mother way back when, it was great to be able to count on a little video game fun for a quarter at every stop. It was quite a different scene than today.
I had my first encounter with many of history’s most notable games in stores rather than arcades. To try and share a glimpse of how things were when I was a kid, I thought I would share a list of stores and the games that I got to know in each. I grew up in southeastern Virginia (the Hampton Roads area), so readers will surely not have heard of several of the places in the list. Here we go.
Wornom’s Drugs in Grafton Shopping Center (Grafton, VA)
- Satan’s Hollow
Rite Aid drugs (I think…) in Newport Square Plaza (Newport News, VA)
Safeway grocery store in Newport Square Plaza (Newport News, VA)
- Moon Patrol
- Donkey Kong Jr.
Giant grocery store (I think…) in Heritage Square (York County, VA)
- Robotron: 2048
BJ’s Ice Cream in York Square (York County, VA)
- Pole Position
Pizza Hut in Heritage Square (York County, VA)
- Ms. PAC-MAN (cocktail table)
Plaza Roller Rink (Hampton, VA)
Every time I play any of these games or see them referenced in the retro media, I think of these locales where I played them first. Every time. As for the rest, it was pretty much standard mall arcades.
Got any similar stories? I’d love to hear them in the comments.