Features// Girl Gamer Goes To The Pub

A two litre bottle of Shasta and my ‘All Rush’ mix tape. Let’s rock!

Posted 18 Jun 2007 11:48 by
And f*cking well stay down!
And f*cking well stay down!
This week I took what I hoped would be a nostalgic and rejuvenating jaunt around the pubs and bars of Leeds, aiming to do an arcade crawl. As a kid I would slam pounds and pounds into my local’s arcade machines (of which there were two, changing games every two months or so) and all this in the sleepy hamlet’s Working Men’s Club.

It seems that arcades are not as loved as once they were; instead of platform games and steering wheels, Bully and Chris Tarrant taunt me with questions about celebrities and other tepid trivia.

Also, I’ve been quitting smoking this week, so being in a selection of my favourite scuzzy haunts and drinking establishments with neither alcohol (to preserve my skills of judgment) nor death-stick has been quite tough.

Also, Wolfman…

Regretting my decision to wear boots made of a soft, grey jersey material with foot-width splits across the, at best, minimally protective soles, I traipse like a female Withnail through the be-puddled streets with wet hair, wet socks, wet everything, in search of a pub with an arcade game.

It takes six pubs and some rather strange looks before I find the first candidate: Stacker - made by Lai games. I doubt at first whether it should be included as it has the graphics capability of a microwave, but it wins me over with the lure of a DS for only 50p!

£6.50 later and I step back to rationalise the situation. This is seriously addictive stuff. A few drinks in me and I’d pound money into this like a trophy wife. This is Tetris’ antithesis, all you have to do is stack the blocks to the top. Simple. There are two prize levels, but once you reach the first you must either take the piddling prize or risk it all to go for the big ones.

Since I no longer take drugs, my need for either a flashing bracelet/keyring or a terrifying monkey-inna-cage-onna-string is limited. I always play on. It hasn’t been hard up to there, but then, in the way of all pub games designed to take money from the unwitting or witless, it suddenly becomes infinitely harder.

I drink up, wring out my boots and move on. I know full well that there is some kind of sit-in driving game at the Met bar, but it is closed! On a Wednesday!? At six o’clock!? What has the world come to? So, I strut to my favourite retro drinking establishment where I know for a fact that there are arcade games which I have previously been too far gone to appreciate in full. The first is Site 4. All the signs are good: the familiar Atari logo smiles down at me, a hand-written note stuck to the front informs me that it has flashing strobe lights, and Three Little Pigs by Green Jelly comes on the juke box.

As I pop in my £1 I feel like the Fonz. An old-fashioned Duck Hunt-style shooter in my hand, I aim with ridiculous ease at the equally arcane alien creatures popping up from behind crates. I can’t help feeling like they’re all so angry because their agent didn’t get them that part in Men In Black, which they were just born for.

So, I’m sweeping through rooms with no control of my movements (yes, just like at the weekend), disappointed by what Parental Guidance promised would be oodles of ‘strong graphic violence’, when I shoot one lousy human and am informed it’s “Game Over”.

The fact that I’m screaming “You f-ing rapist!” at the screen does nothing to counter my shambolic appearance. As a wise man once said: “Note to self re: being the Fonz. You are not the Fonz”.

Next up is Star Wars Arcade – Episode IV, an old-skool joystick and trigger affair with an invert look and massive screen, I am given a simple task: Destroy the Death Star. Fine, I die in about two minutes. How did I pump so much money into these as a kid? IIRC it was ten pence a go and cans of Sunkist came cheap.

My wrists hurt; it’s like getting Wii Tennis elbow all over again.

One last game - a table arcade. I rest my pint of lemonade, and check the options. I feel my heart rate increase. 50p for one game, £1 for three – this is more like it! I check the games. My knees buckle. Pacman, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Mr Do, Xevious, Bomb Jack, Gore, Wiz. I scrabble in my purse for change. With sweaty palms I paw out the requisite coinage and go to insert it. Nothing. I try again. It’s jammed. I check at the bar. Yes. Yes, it’s jammed. I feel like crying.

I wander back onto the tired, wet and dirty streets and start the long walk back to my car. Arcade games ain’t what they used to be, at least in this part of the world.

Don't forget to read the other adventures of Girl Gamer:

Girl Gamer Goes With The flOw

Girl Gamer: This Week Halo 3

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Comments

Joji 18 Jun 2007 12:46
1/14
That's true enough, pubs never were an ideal match with arcade machines, but they play a small part in keeping them in our mind. Quiz machines that pay out money are the thing now.

The fact that when a machine is damaged the chap who's in care of it, doesn't feel the need to get it fixed is also a bad sign. We all know that feeling when you find a machine you wanna play and some monkey has already broken it. Hope you got your money back.

Only way arcades can stand the test of time is places like The Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus, where they are all together, then you get such variety that the trip there is rewarding. Service stations, motorway stops and bowling alleys are a better environment for arcade machines where you'll sometimes find some non smoked, spanking condition arcade gems.

Tip for you, check those places above instead and take a spare pair of footwear in your car, just in case. Lol. A nice post anyway, Liz.

pocket frenzy 19 Jun 2007 18:40
2/14
Stop using my real name on the internets!

Yeah, it was a little go on a zombie-related arcade in a service station on the way to London that gave me the idea for the venture round Leeds. That was muchos fun.

I think the arcades are only in the Fab Cafe to lend atmosphere, sadly, although the girls sitting at the table next to the broken one said they'd tried it a month before and it was broken then. Disappointing.

Luckily it was jammed so close to the slot entrance that I didn't lose my 50p, so that's lucky.

Also I have to point out that I did not put '?!' in my original transcript because I am not Glenda, geddit??!!1!? However I did refer to the Met as a person, not a place, so I am a tool of my own volition too. :(

Love you, Tim!
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pocket frenzy 19 Jun 2007 18:42
3/14
Damn - too many luckies.

I need editting goddamnit!
Joji 19 Jun 2007 18:50
4/14
Hey, not my fault. GG. Don't display names then please. Out of sight and all, double g will do.

Arcades, the only thing that can keep them alive is...... VIDEO ARMAGEDDON!...just like in the Wizard film, but with online functions, leagues and prizes to be won. That's my idea anyway.
Tim Smith 19 Jun 2007 18:50
5/14
pocket frenzy wrote:
Also I have to point out that I did not put '?!' in my original transcript because I am not Glenda, geddit??!!1!? However I did refer to the Met as a person, not a place, so I am a tool of my own volition too. :(


Nope, the power went to my head as and I just had to put my foot down with a firm hand (Geddit!!?)

Glenda - nothing like a good Private Eye reference to stir the troops.

pocket frenzy wrote:
Love you, Tim!


I cannot be loved! I am the Editor! And I write and I write... I write through the city at night...

Tim Smith 19 Jun 2007 18:53
6/14
pocket frenzy wrote:
I need editting goddamnit!


I think you'll find... that you need damned good 'editing' (single 't').

[ exits, brusquely ]
actionmonkey 19 Jun 2007 23:15
7/14
Also wolfman!!!!

Somebody else who uses it!! I think I'm in love.







Tim Smith 19 Jun 2007 23:59
8/14
actionmonkey wrote:
I think I'm in love.


Of course you are. It's Pocket... intelligent, witty, articulate and a gamer.

RiseFromYourGrave 20 Jun 2007 15:31
9/14
quite a few bars/clubs in manchester have arcades, theyre all dives though. i remember drunkenly taking it upon myself to recalibrate the aiming in HOTD in either the fab cafe or satan's and getting absolutely nowhere of course except for on the floor
pocketfrenzy 26 Jun 2007 09:27
10/14
RiseFromYourGrave wrote:
quite a few bars/clubs in manchester have arcades, theyre all dives though. i remember drunkenly taking it upon myself to recalibrate the aiming in HOTD in either the fab cafe or satan's and getting absolutely nowhere of course except for on the floor


Yes, this weekend I was in the Manc Fab getting in all kinds of trouble. Manc Fab is crap compared to Leeds'.

Edit:// Tim, what would I do without you and your carefully roaming eye?

(Be able to shower in safety again, probably.)
RiseFromYourGrave 26 Jun 2007 14:58
11/14
never been on a night out in leeds, even when Oxes played there i ended up not going. fate steers me clear of it
Tim Smith 26 Jun 2007 15:22
12/14
pocketfrenzy wrote:
Edit:// Tim, what would I do without you and your carefully roaming eye?


That'll be "roving eye" then?

config 26 Jun 2007 16:11
13/14
Dear Po' Ket

How comes you never login to post. We want to see your avatar dammit!

pocketfrenzy wrote:
Edit:// Tim, what would I do without you and your carefully roaming eye?

(Be able to shower in safety again, probably.)

Ick

Bear thinking about it does not
Tim Smith 26 Jun 2007 16:14
14/14
config wrote:
Dear Po' Ket
How comes you never login to post. We want to see your avatar dammit!


Yes, indeed. What he said... avatar is good. Now, can we all move on please?
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