The Kids Who Grew Up In Arcades

In their heyday, arcades weren't just about the games. They were about the experience of leaving the house and going to a public space to play games, hanging out with friends and meeting new people who will then kick your arse.

It's a scene that today is sadly long gone. All we've got left, then, is memories, and the best kind of arcade memories are rad photos of the kids who grew up in them.

These pictures are part of an amazing Flickr group called Growing Up In Arcades: 1979-1989, which collects original, everyday photos of, well, yeah. Submitted by users from around the world (though mainly from the US), this public collection of normal people playing video games in normal arcades will bring back fond memories to anyone who was alive and gaming at the time.

And if you weren't? Don't laugh too hard at the pants.

You can check out dozens more of these awesome pics at the collection's site here.

[Lead pic by Mark Bukumunhe]


Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

"Pizza Hut Arcade" by Garrett Bradford.

"Me Playing Missile Command 1982" by theunabonger.

"Jeff G. at Mt. Airy Lodge Gameroom" by Russ Glasson.

"Brighton - 10-08-1980" by Harald Haeusler.

"1982 Testing out the New Games" by Chris Boznos.

"Girl Playing PacMan at Coral Springs festival, 1983" by Steven Martin.

"Hastings Coastal Amusements George Street 1983" by Dave.


    Long gone? What a load of crap, me and my friends all ways go down to the local arcade store and play racing games together, not to mention the hundreds of other random people that wander around the store.

      Its not like it used to be though. In Sydney, anyways.

      Until about 10 years ago there was at least a Time Zone in most of the eastern and inner west suburbs of Sydney.

      My brother and I used to spend hours vying for the top score on Point Blank, Sega Rally 2, Top Skater, Tekken 3, Puzzle Bobble and and heaps of other awesome games. There were even a few places that still had Street Fighter 2 World Warrior and Champion Edition. A different era than those pics above, but still that same vibe.

      Now there's maybe 3 arcades left in the CBD (plus a few bowling joints with games) and they're full of those shitty games that give you yellow tickets, and claw machines. Between those 3 arcades there's 3 or 4 games that are even worth playing, and half of those machines are always busted.

    I love these retro arcades. Half expecting to see the T-1000 pop up in these photos.

    I remember the line yo uhad to wait in the Arcade just to be able to play Final Fight. Then when Street Fighter 2 came out, the line moved there, so i was able to play Final Fight ALL DAY!

    the best time for arcades in sydney CBD was around 1986. we had 8 locations on two blocks at the cinema district.

    I remember working for timezone on George st back in 96 up till late 99 . We had the largest collection of pinballs machines in sydney and now you would be lucky to find 1 or 2 any where . spent my late teens learning how to box the local bag snatches =) fun and sometimes scary times.

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