Remember When?: Fighting Game Arcade Machines Ruled the World
Remember fighting game arcade machines? Unfortunately, I can only remember them a little bit. I think I caught the last remnant of them at full force, in my early years Street Fighter II ruled the world. The pizza shops by my area always had people lined up for Street Fighter II, and whenever the chance came up, all I would do is watch with wonder and amazement. I remember being at a photo developing store with my mom and it had a Street Fighter II machine.
I can’t remember if it was regular, championship edition or turbo, but it was there. I was real young and it was the middle of the day, so all the kids were in school and the machine was on demo mode. As you may know, developing photos takes some time. I stared at that screen for so long, I promise you all, Guile’s stage with the airplane background is forever engraved into my brain. It sucks that most kids won’t have stuff like this for them. Instead the closest thing they’ll have to an arcade video game is probably a stuffed animal claw machine.
I remember being at a video store a couple of years later and watching the teens play Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. I was familiar with the previous Mortal Kombat games on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, but this game blew my mind. All these colored ninjas, a four-armed girl, a horse man, and robots! Oh man, this was awesome! Everyone chose smoke, but to me the coolest thing was when they would transform into human smoke. That was out of this world! I remember finally getting UMK3 for SNES at the nice price of $10 (Nobody Beats the Wiz) and was a little confused about where the four-armed lady, Sheeva and the Scorpion gang-up fatality went, but that’s a different story.
When got to around the age of 10, I was independent enough to start blowing quarters whenever the chance came up. At this time the Vs. series and Street Fighter III were getting hot. Some of the local pizza places still had machines. I know even now there is still some places that have arcade machines, but not like this. This was the middle of the summer. Now, if you want to see kids lined up at the machines, best bet is after school… maybe. I remember being the next challenger and the rule was to put down my quarter on the screen. Here are some of my worst moments that occurred when versing someone at the machines, and tell me if this has happened to you:
- The place where you put the quarter is kind of messed up and the quarter disappears into some crack.
- You verse someone and the joystick is messed up and you can’t block!
- The machine eats your quarter and you have no more. Even worse, you had a dollar and the games are 50 cents per play, so you expect to play at twice. But you lose a quarter, and it forces you to only get to play once.
- You challenge someone and the start button is broken, so you just have to wait until they finish.
- The guy you verse kicks your butt…
However, the best parts was when the guy would come and collect the quarters, and then he would press the little button a few times for free credits. That was always the universal nice thing to do for us kids.
After Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Street Fighter III: Third Strike (and a little bit of Capcom vs. SNK)… machines started disappearing. No one really played anymore and if I found one, there wasn’t really a crowd anymore. Everyone started getting the games on their Dreamcasts and PS2s, and realized what’s the point of paying quarters every day? It’s weird because even though Street Fighter II were on the consoles, people still flocked the machines. I guess it’s just one of those weird phenomena that I myself cant explain.
R.I.P. Fighting game arcade machine days…
P.S. I always found it funny when a machine was clearly once a Mortal Kombat cabinet or something, but the game was Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. I don’t know why…