When Nostalgia Meets Modern

30 Apr 2013, Posted by admin in Packages,Top Slider, No Comments. Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

When Nostalgia Meets Modern


A local arcade brings gamers of all ages together for some old-fashioned, offline competition in a contemporary social setting.

Story by Michelle Brandstetter; photos and video by Alex Weaver

Two women stare at each other from across the top of a balcony. One is blonde, tall, and holding a long spear. The other is shorter, with brown hair pulled into two low pigtails. She is crouched, her eyes fierce with determination, her hands holding two small daggers.

A voice signals for them to begin, and the women spring into action. The shorter of the two swipes at the legs of her opponent. The blonde counters and grabs her, successfully throwing the smaller woman to the floor. She slowly gets up and the fight continues.

The two women strike blow after blow. Eventually the taller of the two, while dodging a dagger’s swipe, falls off the edge of the balcony. Her opponent stands, blades in hand, victorious.

“KO” flashes across the screen. Game over. Two young players put down their controllers and acknowledge the cheers of the small crowd gathered around them.

This was a scene at a recent fighting game tournament at Arcade Legacy, located at the Cincinnati Mills mall in Forest Park, Ohio, north of Cincinnati.

Arcade Legacy stands out from other gaming spots in Cincinnati because it’s neither the child-focused playground of Chuck E. Cheese’s, nor the adult world of Dave and Busterʼs. It is something else entirely, something many people have forgotten even existed – an arcade, pure and simple.

Robert Sikorski, a 24-year-old who visits Arcade Legacy, can remember both the joys and the pitfalls of childhood arcade trips.

“I’d have, like, $5 in quarters,” said Sikorski, “and they’d be gone in 15 minutes. Arcade Legacy totally sidesteps that, though, because of their paying system.”

Unlike traditional arcades, Arcade Legacy doesn’t charge per play, but per hour. Five dollars gets a full hour of game play, and $10 earns a player a full-day pass.

With the pass, gamers get access to everything Arcade Legacy has to offer. It means they can play on any of the 60 cabinets (the large video game casings that hold a single game) and have access to all of the arcade’s consuls, from Atari to PS3. Arcade Legacy’s video game library carries all of the new, popular titles, as well as a wide selection of classic games.

“I’m not sure why people would be nostalgic for arcades where you have to pay-per-play, because for a kid, they kind of suck,” Sikorski said. “You can’t really afford to have fun on an allowance.”

Two boys play on a video game cabinet.

Two boys play on a video game cabinet.

Arcade Legacy’s affordability certainly seems to have made it an attractive place for children, who could be seen clustering around the machines on a busy Saturday afternoon.

This popularity is a change for the arcade, which didn’t get this kind of foot traffic when it was at a small strip mall in Forest Park a few blocks west of Cincinnati Mills.

“At the older locations,” said Nathan Shields, a 23-year-old associate with Arcade Legacy, “we had mostly people around my age, maybe a little bit older – like, classic gamers who want to play the Donkey Kong and all – but not so many of the little kids. Here at the mall, because parents are here with children, they come in and there have just been a way bigger mix of ages.”

A big draw for some of Arcade Legacy’s older customers is the tournament scene. Being able to interact with other players gives gamers a chance to hone their skills while building friendships.

“It’s so convenient to play on Playstation Network, or Xbox Live Arcade (at home),” Shields said. However, Shields said that it isn’t worth it to lose the social aspect of in-person gameplay. “You don’t want to go home and play fighting games with yourself. You want to come here and play fighting games with other people.”

Corey Meyer, a fourth-year psychology major at the University of Cincinnati, has been going to Arcade Legacy for about a year.

“I didn’t expect this place to be as cool as it was,” Meyer said. “The prices are just ridiculously good.”

Meyer said that between the prices, the energy, and the access to other players, “Arcade Legacy is a gamer’s dream come true.”

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