Angry Robot

Endangered Species

It happened in Bridgetown the capital city of Barbados.
In the center of city they have a large arcade. Actually, in selling beer and smokes it was kinda like a bar too. The best way to describe it would be the “Mos Isley Cantina” out of “Star Wars”.
Wretched hive?
Scum and villainy?
Play some of the best old school arcade games ever created.
Triple check.

So, now that my friend was here in Toronto I thought I would give him a taste of the Canadian Arcade experience. We swung over to Toronto’s arcade headquarters, The Funland Arcade at Younge & Dundas. Upon entering, I noticed the difference almost immediately.

A quarter of the arcade had been transformed into a Mamma’s Pizza and an Internet Café. But even that change was small compared to what awaited us deeper within.

Past the rows of “Initial D” racing games and the seizure inducing lightshow of the numerous “Dance, Dance Revolutions” we came at last to the genre that was once king.

The Fighting Game Section.

Memories of high school came flooding back to me. A time when you couldn’t walk into an arcade or convenience store without seeing a line up of kids and hearing the bellows of “Hadoken” or “Shoryuken” coming from the machine.

There is no doubt that “Street Fighter II” galvanized its own genre. It spawned many other emulating titles, like my coveted “King Of Fighters”, but it also helped to exhilarate the arcade industry as a whole. With this in mind it was kinda of sad to see this “King Of The Arcade”, put out to pasture like a boxer who got too many blows to the head. Still things aren’t all bad. Many of the genre’s titles exist in some home console form or another, but the experience of playing online pales in comparison to the camaraderie of playing amongst like-minded strangers and friends.

As my friend and I continued to play I wondered how long it would be before even these few titles were also gone. Something’s gotta be done people! I mean saving whales, seals and penguins is all well and good, but let’s see any of them critters pull off a 50 hit SUPER COMBO!

We remained in the back of the arcade and kicked electronic ass until we were K.O.’d of quarters. As we left I looked knowingly at group of kids dancing away on the arcades newest craze. “Keep on dancing guys”, I thought to myself. “It won’t be long before your favorite game also becomes and endangered species.”

One comment on "Endangered Species"

  1. ramanan says:

    You need to check out the Asian arcades in Scarborough. I bet you can find the game in Metro Square or at Brimily and Eglington.

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