When I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, I felt like I was thrown back to my youth. As a child of the 80’s I grew up playing video games. On my Atari. My ColecoVision. My Commodore 64. And, of course, at the video arcade.
So the references in the book to Zork, Pac-Man, Tempest, Adventure, and, of course, Joust (which plays a big part in the book), took me back to my childhood.
I certainly was never a Parzival, but I loved playing Spy Hunter, Zaxxon, Gauntlet (how many times did I hear “Wizard needs food, badly!”), Cyberball 2072, Dragon’s Lair (though I am not sure I ever made it more than a few screens in before dying), and Star Wars. And of course, there were the classics: Pac-Man, Asteroids, Defender, Dig Dug, and on and on.
I wonder, ‘How many quarters did I spend playing all of these?’
And so, I’ve always dreamed of owning my own arcade machine. For over a decade I’d regularly find companies selling arcade machines and dream about buying them.
One choice was to buy the true originals -- a Pac-Man upright (or table) cabinet with all of the original decorations. This is pretty cool, but really limiting since it only has one game.
There are some companies out there that manufacture authentic looking cases that hold a Windows computer running a MAME device. These machines are really cool in that they can play thousands of games -- new and old. But I could never get my head around the licensing issues with the ROMs for the games. Could I find legitimate ways of getting the games I wanted? It always seemed a bit sketchy to me.
Which is why I was excited when I found Arcade Classics.
Unlike some of the other systems out there, they do not use emulators. They run the actual original games. And it comes with licensed versions of hundreds and hundreds of games.
As I started looking at the choices here, I saw that I could choose either a traditional upright console (like what you’d find in most arcades). Or you could get a cocktail table system -- like the one I remember playing in a pizza joint. The cool thing about the cocktail table system is that it can play both vertical games (like Pac-Man) and horizontal games (like Defender or Mortal Kombat) just based on which side you sit on. (Have you seen our epic Game Room?)
So, as we were putting together Whispering Pines Lodge, I decided to get my lifelong dream of an arcade cabinet. When you and your family are staying at our place, you too can have hours of fun playing hundreds of games old school style.
Are you ready, player one?
As a bonus, here’s a fun video of Ernest Cline talking about all of the video game references in Ready Player One:
And, of course, Ready Player One is available in the movie collection at Whispering Pines Lodge!