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Arcades: Nostalgia Abounds

Arcades: Nostalgia Abounds

Thu, 16 Mar 2023 13:41

Chuck and Josh were around during the Golden Age of the arcade. And look how they turned out! Join them on a trip down memory lane.

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Start designing for free at Hey everybody, we are doing a Northeastern swing for our 2023 tour, which includes one day in Deer old Canada, right? That's right, we're going to swing it up, starting May 4th at the Warner Theater in DC. It's going to be amazing. May 5th, we're going to be at the Shivalier, which you have to say with your pinky in the air. That's in Boston, and then Chuck May 6th, we're finishing up in Toronto, Ontario, at Massey Hall. It's going to be massive at Massey Hall. That's right, our first show has went great earlier this year. It's a great topic, and we are super, super excited to take it to DC, the Boston Metro area, and Toronto. Yep, so go to link tree slash S.Y.S.K. Live for tickets, and for you oldsters like us, that's l-i-n-k-t-r-dot-e-e-slash-S.Y.S.K. Live. We'll see you guys in May. Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, a production of I Heart Radio. Hey and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh, and there's Chuck and Jerry's here somewhere running around like a chicken worth their head cut off, like headless Mike. And that makes this stuff you should know. Mike, did I just chicken? Yeah, that's right. Yeah, we're immediately reminded me of the McNoggin. What? I mentioned that way back then. There's a, just look up McNoggin. Is it fried chicken heads? It's a fried chicken head that slipped into some fried chicken at a restaurant. Have you ever eaten an H&F, home and a pinch? Yeah, yeah, I've had that burger. It's a Ponce City Market where we used to have our studios. Oh, if you go to the flagship restaurant, fried chicken heads are on the menu. Oh, really? Yes. And when you eat one, you're like, I've gone too far. This dinner has turned into a blood or G basically. I have never, I'm sending you to McNoggin right now just because that's the kind of stuff we're doing now. That's how loose this has gotten. Here I'll do a typing sound effect. All right, feast your eyes on the McNoggin, and let's talk about arcades, eh? Yes, let's, I'm really excited about this one, Charles, because both of us were kind of, we hit two different sweet spots with this, right? I mean, you were in the golden era and I was in the silver era. Am I correct? Yeah, I mean, you were kind of, you probably went to the golden era. I was pervading from going to a little juicer. Yeah, yeah, my mom was like, that's a drug den. Right. Which is funny because I went to a lot of arcades and I know I was a naive little Baptist boy. But they're actually, what am I saying? There was probably drugs all over the city. Yeah, you're like, why are you acting so goofy, Todd? Geez, get it together. But we're talking about mainly the golden age of arcades and what else does it dovetail with, you said? Well, I was part of the silver age. Is that what you mean? I thought there was one additional thing you were going to say. No, I don't think so. Okay. Well, this dovetails nicely, I think, with our episode on Nintendo, obviously. Totally. And in fact, we've had this, Dave Rooze helped us out with this one. Dave Rooze co-creator of the hip podcast Biblical time machine. But he wrote this a while ago, but I've been sort of sitting on it until Nintendo, the Nintendo's stank were off. And did we do one on Atari or not or just the E.T. You did one with Strickland, I think, on Atari. No, I definitely did it two part on tech stuff. But we did not. We did the E.T. game the writer now. Yes, we did that one. Yeah, we've talked about the video game crash of 1983 like multiple times. And we did pinball. We did do pinball and that actually kind of factors in remotely. We won't go into it much, but pinball kind of prefigured the video game arcade in a lot of different ways. Not the least that it had an unsavory reputation among parents and kids love to go play there. But after pinball kind of stop being as much of a thing, there was a little bit of a drought until we pick up and I think that say the 70s, the early 70s, late 60s with a young man and electrical engineer from University of Utah named Nolan Bushnell. Nolan Bushnell figures into this story as much as you can figure into the birth of the arcade because he was a nerd. He was in all the best ways. He was an EE major at Utah, like you said. And when you are a nerd in university in the late 1960s, early 70s, you're going to start playing very rudimentary computer games and think they are awesome. And that very first game that he played was won from 62 developed at MIT called Space War. Exclamation point. Yeah, with a big fat exclamation. Yeah, and it spread very quickly among nerds in college all over the country. It was a big deal. But you say that Nolan Bushnell was like an important figure. You can actually kind of make an argument that this may have never happened had it not been for him because as he kind of recounts later, well listen, there was no one in the same position that he was in, probably in the world, because he had an electrical engineering degree and he played games on computers. So he knew about video games. I should say video game because there was one at the time. And then he also, during summers and shortly after he graduated college, he was the games director for an amusement park outside of Salt Lake City called Lagoon. And there's probably probably no one else on the planet that had that experience with computer games and also with arcade games like pinball or ski ball was one who could have kind of synergized them the way that Nolan Bushnell did to create Atari. That's my take. Do you have a thing against Nolan Bushnell? No, but I tell you what, is Nolan Bushnell still around? I don't know my friend. He loves you if he is. I will say that. Why? Because you're saying he's the only one that could have done it in the world and that it wouldn't happen without him. He's like, you can make it sound like the Josh Clark praises right now. Well, Nolan Bushnell, if you're out there, I think that demands that you get in touch and thank me. Yeah, since I'm that arcade money. Josh is the way he's sure. But you are right in that he had, he had an economic understanding that proved to be pretty key. As in he, he knew what it cost to like build a game and a game cabinet. He knew how much they had to make to make that money back and turn a profit. So just sort of learn knowing the economics of how this stuff worked. And like you said, also being into the games was a key reason this all happened. Yeah, so he saw a real opportunity to do something big. And he's alive, by the way. Okay, cool. Well, then yes, please do get in touch, Nolan Bushnell. Yeah. He recruited a guy named Ted Dabney, who together they went on to found a Tari with another guy named Al Corn, Alan Alcorn. And the three of them created a first ripoff of space war called computer space in 1971. And a lot of people say like it wasn't it wasn't a good it wasn't a good game. It was too hard because the whole point of creating a game they found out after this first attempt is to make it just hard enough to keep people interested. But easy enough that you can play it while half drunk. Yeah, like easy to play hard to master. Yeah, because these these coin operated games their first targets were bars. So computer space, it's very frequently said it's a commercial failure. But Nolan Bushnell, my new friend, he points out that we sold enough of these units that we were able to go on and found a Tari. Yeah. So they actually did sell some it went okay, but again, it was supposedly way too hard. And they they took that as a lesson learned and they moved on the next year to create pong. Yeah, they said, all right, you want easy right? Let me introduce you to pong. And I know I mentioned this on the Strickland's episode, but I had the, you know, and I think you were kind of the same and your family sort of, you know, middle class folks who a lot of times got the knockoff versions of whatever, whether it was the the not quite i's odd shirt or the not quite mongoose bike. I had nights of the round table, you're right knockoff polo shirts. Yeah, I had the not quite pong, which it was I believe the Sears and Robuck version of pong. It always is. Yeah, I don't know what it was called, but it was essentially the same thing, which is ping pong or table tennis. It was called Gnop. Was it really the Sears version? No, that's pong. I got you, well, I was slow in the uptake on that one. Okay, there's somebody out there left. But pong was based on a 1958 video game tennis for two. Did you see, did you see video of that game of tennis for two? Yeah. It's played on a radar oscillator. Yeah. Like the same kind of like round fish eye screen. Yeah, yeah. It was used for like to detect missiles in 1950. That's how the game is played, but it's actually pretty sophisticated if you watch it. Yeah, there was another game that was on a round screen. Was it the computer space? Did you see that one? I didn't actually. Was that a square screen? I don't know. Anyway, something in my memory bank tells me there was another one on a round screen because they just, you know, that's what graphic screens were like in the 60s. They were radar screens. Yeah, but I mean, this thing was like, it's almost like they broke into like a DOD missile silo and hooked up their controllers and we're playing tennis for two on it. That's what it looks like in this video. Yeah. And, you know, while we're singing Bush and those praises for creating Atari and launching the arcade, basically the modern arcade. He also was one of the founders of Charles Entertainment Cheese. Better known as Chuck E. Cheese, which is still around. Yeah, have you ever seen, I'm sure we've talked about it before, but have you seen the rockifier explosion documentary? The what? So Chuck E. Cheese has his band, like they have like the live animatronic band at their Chuck E. Cheese locations. Chobis Pizza had their own called rockifier explosion. I think a gorilla was like the lead singer and it's very cute. Same thing. And they made a documentary about people whose passion in life is finding and rescuing and restoring old rockifier explosion setups. Oh, wow. It's one of those really great like social interest documentaries that just kind of fly under the radar, but it's like, this is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen in my life. It's just great. Yeah, I got to check that out. Please do check it out. The rockifier explosion, I think it's mid-Auts, maybe 2007 or 2008. I love anything where someone takes old stuff and restores it for even if it's just for display or whatever. Okay, well then I have something else to tell you. I was saving this for the end, but I happened, I don't even know how I happened upon this. There's a website called Aussie Arcade and it's almost like a news server, a list server, or something like that. But I found a post called Atari Star Wars cockpit restoration. So you remember the Atari Star Wars game? Uh-huh. Do you remember the sit down version? Uh, yeah. Okay, so a guy in Australia got his hands on one of these that's seen better days and he spent nine months restoring it. Like, and I don't mean the outside. I mean, the wiring. He resoldered the wires, he like electroplated the metal parts again. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life and he chronicle it exhaustively. So if you want to like spend an hour just being impressed, go look for Atari Star Wars cockpit restoration by Womble. Womble's the guy who did it on Aussie Arcade and you'll just be wowed. All right, I'm gonna, I know what I'm doing for the rest of the day now at least. You'll like it Chuck, I promise. And it's not a video. It's just photos and like explanations and stuff. Yeah, okay. All right, so back to Alan Alcorn and Pong. Pong was a huge hit. They put the very first one in a bar in Sunnyvale, California called Andy Caps, which is kind of fun. One little historical footnote. And a couple, and this is like the movie version two weeks later they call it said, hey, this thing's not working anymore. And they go over and they was like, here's your problem and they open the coin catcher in like a million dollar spills out. Right. But that's how the story goes. It was basically so popular. It was jammed with quarters. And they sold 8,000 Pong cabinets in the face of knockoffs because it took a year to get the patent for Pong. So there were knockoffs being sold and they still ended up selling 35,000 total Pong cabinets. So they sold 8,000 just the first year and that was with six people building them. Like they had six employees. Yeah, and a Pong cabinet in a bar in today's dollars could bring in close to a hundred grand in quarters. Wow. Every single year if you had one of those in your bar, I think they were saying it was bringing close to in today's dollars about 270 dollars. And of course that's if it's played every day. Close to Christmas. Oh, you did the math. Is that where you got it? I did the math, but I sort of round it up. Still, I bet Andy Caps was open Christmas. But it was also a good place to meet somebody if you were interested in them because it was a good way to have a conversation. You played side by side. It was a social lubricant because you were drinking at a fern bar, a Harvey Wallbanger playing Pong and you know meeting some ladies. And then you went on at the regal beagle exactly. So this was 1973. Yeah, 1973. So Atari went from not existing to coming out with its first game in 1971 to having a smash hit in actually creating stand up coin operated arcade video games as an industry from nothing. In 1973 to 1974 selling out to Warner brothers or Warner communications for 28 million, which is almost 150 million today. And sorry in six years. That's crazy. Yeah, I mean that's definitely worth singing the praises. Yeah, absolutely. And you know Dave argues that the golden age was 78 to 82. I would argue it trickled into 83 and people were still going into arcades and 84 and 85. But I think he's probably pretty close because 83 is we'll see later is. If you look at data is when gross profits, you know, really kind of didn't bottom out, but we're a lot less than during those previous four years. Yeah, I think it was like 84 maybe especially 84 but probably in the 85 it was like a dead man walking you didn't know it. Yeah, but yeah, people were still I mean those those video arcades that started to spring up like mushrooms all across the country. I think in 1982 there were 13,000 arcades in the US. And let's just get the straight five, six years before there were probably zero. And all of a sudden there were 13,000 arcades. There were tons of companies that were getting into creating and designing and building these stand up cabinets that were sent to all of these 13,000 arcades in the United States. And it was just the thing. It was the biggest thing around at the time. Yeah, I mean I can off the top of my head, I can think of four arcades that were within 12 minute, a 12 minute drive from my house in suburban Atlanta. I see I the only one I could come up with was the one at Southwick mall in Toledo that I wasn't allowed to go to it was called red barons. And I don't even remember what it looked like inside I saw pictures of the old sign I was like yeah, that's it. I just remember it being dark and I think I made a gone in there once as a slightly older kid after I was like allowed to do whatever I want you know like age 12. Yeah, and I was you know kind of like this neat place that I wasn't allowed to go to before but it kind of missed you know what I mean. Yeah, you know if I wish one thing for you it would be that is that you were just a little bit older. Yeah, and then you could take those years off because I don't want you to be my age. And what should be my age in the eighties that would be really neat I wonder when we'll start doing that we'll start playing with age and experience like that I have an idea I want to tell you this I think this is so cool I there's no way I can possibly do this so I'll just share it with the universe and maybe somebody can do it. Okay, imagine so we've got like AI that's starting to get pretty smart all of a sudden and if you listen to the end of the world with Josh Clark that may not be a good thing. I'm not saying but there the AI that's starting to be deployed is getting smarter and smarter and more and more human like a more and more capable and one thing I thought would be really cool is if the AI that's out there today could study the different stats and footage of every MBA player that ever existed. Okay, and then eventually you can say I want the 88 Lakers to play the 2015 heat and the AI would play a simulated game that would play out probably exactly like it would have played out in real life if you could actually do that. I mean they do those simulated games now for like this the big game for super bowl. I thought we weren't allowed to say that was a super bowl police can come get us. Yeah, they play those those computer Sims but I don't know if it's as like robust as you're probably thinking okay and I don't know if they have done like matching up classic teams because that would be pretty fun because it would be that especially in the NBA that's a big argument of like you know which era was best or whatever. So anyway the arcades I had four that I can think of off off the dome that were within 15 minute drive. Kids in the 80s were feral basically if you're a younger person and you watch stranger things and you think like was it really like that yes it was really like that you would so sweet you would come home my mom was at home but I would basically come home and immediately leave again most times and not come back until after dark. Latchkey kids would come home to an empty house so is me and then go somewhere else or have friends over or go straight to a friend's house and we just didn't have oversight somehow you know most of us did okay. At least me and my friends did like there were no I'm sure there were plenty of tragedies but not in my room we all did fine yeah I mean yes there would be a tragedy once in a while it would make that sure and scare everybody but it was so few and far but. Yeah but one thing I wanted to get into with Dave he kept saying like quarters quarters quarters in the early days of arcades at least at the ones I went to there were not quarters they were tokens oh yeah yeah. And you they had deals going like a game didn't cost a quarter a game cost depending on the deal that day if you went on like a Tuesday you would get like 20 tokens for a dollar. Or something like that like they would have like double token day and a game was never a quarter so you could play and play and play forever for five bucks because games ran on tokens that were not the value of a quarter and then eventually of course quarters maybe in some places they already used them but. Then the quarter became like a 50 cent game was like whoa right are you kidding me yeah and now when you go to like a Dave and Buster she get a pay 50 dollars for some card and you didn't even know how much you're paying for a game unless you read the fine print you just buzz your card it's you know over it's several dollars probably yeah for sure I'm sure probably five bucks a game maybe in some case for the big big ones but. It's different I mean with two Dave and Buster's recently with Ruby and it's not a ton of just regular old arcade games no big things and cranes grabbing stuff toys and interactive stuff it's fine it's fun yeah it's just not a video arcade a video arcade in the late 70s and early 80s was a very specific space yes dark there was very few people over the age of 18 or 19 in there mm hmm it was just it was a kids place and like you said kids were time and you could your parents didn't know where you were so you could spend as much time as you wanted or as much money as you had at the arcade or out in the woods or doing whatever and so because that this was like a new thing like kids were I think allowed to like kind of room free in in the mid 70s for sure and definitely before that too but they didn't have this place to go to maybe a pinball arcade was there something like that but nothing like this and the difference between a pinball machine and a 1979 standup art video arcade machine is just mind boggling especially if you're playing this thing in 1979 and you're only exposure previously was two things like pinball machines yeah should we take a break yeah all right we'll take our first break and we'll be right back what if you were a trendy apparel company facing an avalanche of demand to ensure more customers can buy more sharp-aligned jackets you call IBM to automate your IT infrastructure with AI now your systems monitor themselves what used to take hours takes minutes and you have any commerce platform designed to handle sudden spikes in overall demand as in actual overalls let's create IT systems that rule up their own sleeves IBM let's create learn more at IBM dot com slash IT dash automation they say the best bourbons are those with a tradition of quality the ones that carry a rich history and the potential for a bolder future while turkey we've made our bold pre pro-efficient style bourbon for over a hundred years without once compromising our quality for our 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a problem it alerts or gives them instructions to fix it they don't fix the problem within a set time they're blocked collides method means fewer support tickets less frustration and most importantly one hundred percent of the company's so visit collide calm slash sysk to learn more or book a demo that's k ol i d e dot com slash sysk we've established that the peak of parents not caring about their children was in the eighties the early nineteen eighties arcades came along to squeeze dollars out of us and they started getting better games you know the games at first you know I started looking at these and we're going to talk about some of the iconic games and what I realized is the iconic games of the era almost all still hold up today maybe not with the graphics it may be a little rudimentary but most of these iconic games are still the gameplay is still challenging definitely that's why I think it holds up the ones that aren't that don't hold up as far as gameplay goes or games like pole position which was the first 3d car racing game where you were sort of position right behind the car and pole position was a huge game in nineteen eighty two that really brought on driving games but pole position doesn't hold up because the gameplay is not that great in addition to not looking great but if you go play miss pack man or space invaders or synope or galica or galica or asteroids these games are still challenging and fun to play yeah and galica I will put money that it still looks good to just about anybody yes it is bit mapped because it's a bit it's like eight or sixteen or whatever bit graphics but it still looks good and it moves well and it's just a it's a cool looking game it is nineteen eighty one shout out to shigura yoko yama for designing galica on the heels of galaxian their previous game which was not as good galica and both were inspired of course by space invaders which was the next biggest game after pong to come along in nineteen seventy eight yeah so pong just put video games on the map and then the next step was Japan who said oh yeah hold our sake and they came up with space invaders in nineteen seventy eight and it became such an overnight success in Japan that people rented empty commercial spaces and just put space invaders in there and created like these kind of pop up arcades that were open twenty four hours a day and had a line out the door at all times yeah apparently the legend goes that there was a nationwide shortage of hundred yen coins because these storefronts with the space invader machines were sucking them up crazy pretty cool and they will say that Dave investors had a like a probably probably ten foot tall space invaders that you can play which is kind of cool ten feet what's the point of it being ten feet tall is the screen like that big yeah that's how big the screen is okay I got you else pretty yeah that does it look good though yeah looks awesome so space invaders is the reason we have all those space fighting or space shooter theme games they're so clustered in like the early eighties late seventies that was the one but the the next game that came out that really kind of shook that up that was the trend forever there was one I saw called starfire from nineteen seventy nine I don't remember that one it was by I can't remember who it was but it was this company this games company that just kept pushing the envelope but anyway starfire if you watch the gameplay it has the same exact font as star wars uh-huh and you are unambiguously shooting tie fighters but it was in no way shape or form license from star wars it was just that big of a ripoff they were at all so that was like the big trend was space fighters until Pac-Man came along in nineteen eighty and said boom yeah Pac-Man was the first it was a Namco game of Japanese gaming company and it was the first game to have a mascot like a little character previous to this you know you had your little shootership with space invaders and your little triangular spaceship with asteroids and not even a ship with games like missile command but which actually that may have been after Pac-Man I'm not sure but Pac-Man was the first mascot it was designed explicitly to not be violent it was designed explicitly to feel appeal to young girls because they were trying to make more money and you know it was sort of a boys thing at the time they're like we need to get girls in here and Pac-Man comes along and they were into it the boys were into it and it became a worldwide sensation it was I had a Pac-Man lunch box and matching thermos that I was like one of my prize possessions the Pac-Man cartoon this is about when I came in Pac-Man cartoon was I think it's probably still good there's a song Pac-Man fever there's an article we really really need to shout out on the verge by Laura June from back in 2013 and she points out in this article that Pac-Man fever sold a million records in 1982 and survivors I of the Tiger which was the number one hit of 1982 only sold a million more that's how big Pac-Man fever was yeah Buckner and Garcia that the singer's the Pac-Man fever terrible song was it like in the tune of cat scratch fever no okay well that was just the Simpson's that screwed me up then no no go listen to Pac-Man fever it's it's awful but you know those guys hats off to them they've made a sold a million records I've never done that yeah I never sold one record although we may soon yeah man or shadowing uh synopeed it was another watershed game in 1980 it was the first game um co-designed by a woman named Donna Bailey and she was the only woman working at a tower at least the only designer and she picked out that track ball in synopeed again uh gameplay holds up still very very hard game to play yeah I was watching gameplay on YouTube of synopeed and I was getting anxious just on like the second second level yeah these games are are fun and hard um I don't think we mentioned that asteroid I think was the first game to untether the ship like space invaders and Gallagher all those games you can move left and right at the bottom yeah but you're shooting upward toward the top of the screen yeah what made asteroids really really hard was once you were brave enough to hit that throttle button and start flying around a little bit like it was it's a very tough game and then I think um was a defender yeah defender is a really cool one that still holds up to that you could shoot left or right and so it was a scrolling game whereas with some of the other ones they were like yes whereas some of the other ones they were just or all the other ones they were just a new level which basically was like oh these shapes are now in a different location in their purple rather than green yeah over where they scrolled vertically but this is definitely the first horizontal scroll yes and it was cool that's another one that really holds up to defender yeah miss Pac-Man um far superior to Pac-Man in 1982 was I mean I feel like it was just as popular probably as Pac-Man it may as far as like play goes I guess it's it eclipse Pac-Man but as far as like pop culture goes yeah Pac-Man might have miss Pac-Man beat I think they were kind of hand in hand appropriately you know yeah you're right um I want to shout out a few more games just quickly that I feel like we're sort of game changers uh the the game Tron oh yeah that was good just on the heels of the movie Tron uh it was great because it had four different sub games within the game and that single game was like one of the coolest things you'd ever played when you played it so hard to at least for like a six or seven year old it was very well and as it as it progressed those first levels are kind of easy and they just get harder and harder and then for me personally the game tempest the game joust mm-hmm in the in the game battle zone were all three like big big games for me I always loved Cuba anywhere there's a Cuba I would play that yeah Cuba it's fun and that makes sense because you were younger and sort of a skewed toward younger kids I think what was the one where it was like hamburger or something like that oh burger time yes burger time burger time I was good dig dug was good and then still to this day I went and looked at donkey Kong and donkey Kong junior and that was way too hard for me at the time it's still hard yeah but it's some of the best like graphics and like colorful like movement and it's just just such a beautiful game still to this day and that one came out donkey Kong came out in 1981 yeah and I don't think we covered in the Nintendo episode the name donkey Kong did we we did because remember somebody tried to file suit I think RCA tried to sue them and they were like now this is this long gone that ship is sailed okay because that for some reason it didn't ring a bell because I'd never really stopped to wonder why in the world was called donkey Kong. Such a weird name but apparently they were looking for an English word that meant stubborn like a donkey and then just combine that with King Kong. Yep and Mario I don't think we talked about this Mario was originally known as jump man one word not even hyphenated we should mention dragons layer briefly it's a game that came out in 1983 I don't know if you remember dragons layer much I do yeah it was it was the first game that used and kind of the only one that used laser disc technology to basically where you were playing a Disney cartoon yep and it was from Don Bluth and ex-Disney animator he did an American tale I think I think I think he was like the lead on that maybe I got you but he was a deal of dragons layer it looked cool and it looked different than anything you'd ever seen and way better than like the 16-bit technology graphics wise at the time but the gameplay was terrible it you basically just push buttons at key moments to advance the story and like you weren't really playing you didn't have control of the character no so let's say a single minute of this this movie was chopped up into five different segments yeah over the course of this whole minute that played out you would move that thing like five times and the rest of the time you're just standing there waiting it was terrible I never played dragon's layer I'll suck it into it at first because it looked amazing yes and then I was like this is bad yeah I really want and which sort of just reinforces my point about the the gameplay if it's if it's good it holds up yep no one no one's playing dragons layer these days I want I'll bet there's somebody out there that's like dragons layer for life yeah maybe I will I want to yeah I want to shout out to from my youth my super youth there was one called command she which is like a Wild West shoot him up I never played that I remember it do you remember I cannot find any documentation of it anywhere online just can't find it but I'm glad that you verified that I used to play that at the little put put on Kataba island by where my family used to vacation in summers nice and then the other one was it just escaped me Chuck because I was talking about Comanche paper boy no I don't remember I'll shout it out it'll come to me later and I'll just interrupt you with it okay do you remember battle zone the one I mentioned is that the one it was like a destroyer now battle zone was the one where you put your face and what kind of you would think now is like a VR thing like a like a submarine a baroscope and you had these two levers and you were a tank basically and it was all like I don't know the technical name but when it's just like the green lines and like a grid layout like those were the graphics but it was it was kind of had like a 3D effect yeah and was really pretty rare all but it knocked your socks off back then yeah it did I thought of the other one and another one okay the one I was thinking of was Empire City think it's Empire City 1942 or something you're like a gangster shooting other gangsters okay it's pretty cool and then the other one was spy hunter remember spy hunter yeah that was that was a pretty good driving game that was a great one because you put like that oil slick and people would spin out who were chasing you it was just very unique I knew this episode is going to go like this yeah we just took fistfuls of member berries before we did this one kill screens we should talk about because there was a technological limitation to these arcade games that were based on eight bit processors the hardware was and an eight-bit processor can only store 256 total values so if you got good enough at some of these games you could get up to screen 255 and when you hit screen 256 the game would sort of skits out on you and stop and that was called a kill screen yeah they were the game was trying to reset to zero but there wasn't a level zero so the game would just do some weird stuff but what's interesting is does that mean then for like Pac-Man in particular is very famous to have that 256 value curse and you can only get to 255 but if they just had named level one level zero would the I wonder if the game would just start over again and you could just play it in an infinite loop I don't know a Donkey Kong had one too they had the same problem with the 260 or 256 value curse at level 22 you should have 260 seconds to complete the level but because the eight-bit processors like I don't know what 260 is so let's just call it four you have four seconds to complete so in theory it goes beyond level 22 but in reality in practicality it stops there because no one can beat that screen in four seconds not even Billy Mitchell I'll bet an AI in the future came all right so I say we talk about a few of these little tidbits and then we'll take a break and then talk about what killed the arcade should yeah these are kind of fun because you know if you were kid at that age or heck I still enjoy entering my initials hey when I asked ask me when I get a high score I knew what I was going to say that the very first game to even display a high score at all was called sea wolf from 1976 you do you remember that game I do I don't think I really played it but I remember it so everybody it was it was a submarine game so you just shot torpedoes at ships but the joystick was a periscope it's so cool looking still today I remember that yeah and it had great like graphics on the cabinet it was just a all-around neat game the the I don't know about the gameplay and the graphics like in the game weren't top notch or anything but just the periscope alone was very cool no I totally remember that it just kind of came out and then came down right but that was the periscope test right but that was the first one that had a high score you said that's the first one that just registered a high score the first one that I believe stored the high score was Pac-Man I thought it was space invaders no no what I say Pac-Man you got Pac-Man yeah I do space invaders in 78 but you still didn't have the initials that was starfire in 79 that let you put your initials and then asteroids was the first one that showed like the top 10 or whatever yeah and the problem with space invaders was that if you unplugged the cabinet the high score was gone forever which was very richly portrayed in that sign fell episode the Frogger remember that one oh that's right where George like his only legacy is he still had the high score at the pizza place that he used to hang out at in high school on the Frogger and he tried to keep it going and of course it didn't work out for George yeah I forgot to shut out Frogger that's another game that's still fine and still part I totally forgot about it too and it really is I like I even looked up that episode I still didn't think that like oh yeah Frogger was a great game but absolutely was and that's actually really good point real quick Chuck if you played Frogger on the arc on like a stand-up arcade it was exponentially better looking it played better than what your friend was playing at his house at home on the Atari 2600 and that was another big draw that even when the controllers and the home consoles came out there was still reason to go like put your tokens in at the arcade no absolutely I would argue that Frogger was one that translated pretty well to the Atari sure it just didn't look good yeah they didn't look as good and but some games did not translate at all like the infamously bad Pac-Man for Atari it was bad I was very very excited to get this game it was the biggest thing in the world and I got it for my birthday and it was just it didn't sound like when it was eating the things the mouth it just none of it worked it was just a bad game that is really and by the way the thing I couldn't remember about Battlezone it's the vector graphics oh yeah which apparently I don't know a lot about it but it's you can render way more a way higher resolution graphics with less processing power somehow okay that makes sense yeah all right so let's take that break yeah yeah and we'll come back and talk about what killed the arcade right after this what if you were a trendy apparel company facing an avalanche of demand to ensure more customers can buy more Sherpa line jackets you call IBM to automate your IT infrastructure with AI now your systems monitor themselves what used to take hours takes minutes and you have any commerce platform designed to handle sudden spikes in overall demand as in actual overalls let's create IT systems that rule up their own sleeves IBM let's create learn more at IBM dot com slash IT dash automation they say the best bourbons are those with a tradition of quality the ones that carry a rich history and the potential for a bolder future while turkey we've made our bold pre pro-efficient style bourbon for over a hundred years without once compromising our quality for our spirit in other words we stuck to our roots without getting stuck in our ways and we can't think of a better tradition than that while turkey bourbon trust your spirit copyright twenty twenty three carry american New York never compromised drink responsibly ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding am I getting on your nerve chat well that's the point behind the seat belt alarm in your car and if you know somebody who won't listen to it well feel free to be annoying and remind them to buckle up you could save their life to find out more go to dmv now dot com when you get into your vehicle make sure you buckle up for ginya and help save lives on our roads a message from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles ding ding ding ding ding ding and ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding all right now creative iran이었 kind of he did understand he probably well a couple things he'll be helped kill the arcade One of which was kind of what happened with the tary in a way in that It got so popular that people just started making terrible games to try and cash in and that that was true for the Stand-up and sit down cabinet arcade games as well They just started making too many of them and a lot of them weren't good and a lot of these arcade-goat owners Like you know borrowed money to get the latest games in there that ended up stinking and And that that bit of a minute rear end. Yeah, I mean like Anybody any small business entrepreneur could open an arcade because all of those manufacturers had programs where they would They would give you these machines on credit and you could pay them back in quarters if you wanted to But like you said when the you couldn't tell what game was good and what game was bad because the marketing and the graphics and everything made it look so cool No matter how bad the game was That you would end up with a room full of duds and all of a sudden all your customers are gone and you would go under and that happened over and over and over again So those 13,000 Arcades just drip down to very very few by the mid 80s Yeah, and I bet you and this is just me speculating but I bet you a lot of those arcade owners weren't like Really into the games they were they're like, you know, I've got three car washes and And an arcade well, yeah, and they also like made a pretty good sideline on selling little kids drugs The other and this is From that verge article you mentioned they list a another big reason which was that There was a cultural backlash Just you know, that sort of always been the story from pinball like you mentioned early on to You know grand theft auto now is parents and politicians Saying hey these games are not only Robbing our children of like potential homework time or interacting with the world and with their friends or being in nature But they're they're corrupting them. Yeah, right like like they're not only being corrupted like physically in the Arcades by potential drug dealers and kids who want to teach them how to skip school more efficiently and that kind of stuff But also by the games themselves like they're being turned into zombies at best at worst They're being taught to enjoy things like violence which is starting to become more of a thing. Yeah, they are Who knows what hidden messages somehow Black Sabbath worked into some video game Right, it was the same kind of moral panic that that it was yeah, it was within the same bubble that anything that was that parents Didn't fully understand that kids were really into was suspect and dangerous and probably you just need to keep your kids away from it Yeah, which is really ironic because these are these are the same parents who let us be feral children right Right because you think on their high horse about these games that we play that we really enjoyed Well, I think they could understand that in a lot of ways like if you were out in the woods building a tree fort Like your parents had done that before they understood it. They knew what it was like. You know what I'm saying? These these arcades they didn't have that experience or if they did they remembered what they got into when they were playing Pinball back in like the forties or something like that as little kids and they were like oh, yeah, I forgot I learned how to skip school there I should probably keep my kid from doing that and then I think also there's just like a It's just a generational gap that inevitably develops like I kind of understand where the parents were coming from at age 46 now Whereas if you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have been like that is so lame Parents just suck in general, you know Yeah, I think that those those all those things put together like kind of kind of were just I think all those things kind of came together to kill video games. Yeah Um, the irony of what we were just talking about too is like you know what goes on in the woods to that's where I learned to smoke cigarettes Like nothing was going on and that's good in the woods. Mm-hmm You found all kinds of things in the woods, you know what I mean? That's that's as far as I'm going is the cigarettes thing as far as recollections go But this notion that we are all just out there playing you know playing nature kid I was learning a lot of things in the woods as a kid. I was playing nature kid I was just smoking while I was doing right Man, I had this thing where I Kept a bar of soap that I'd stolen from my parents house Out at our tree fort where I would smoke cigarettes and I would go out to the golf course pond That was like right adjacent to the woods and lost my hands off first and then put the soap back and then Go back home as if that like got rid of the cigarette smell from me. You would have scared the hell out of me because I was not If I would have seen a kid my age or God forbid like five or six years younger than me smoking Yeah, I would have just run in the other direction. Did I ever tell you the cigarette buying story from when I was like 12? Was this I know Emily got a note from her mom to buy her cigarettes and that was legal. It's pretty awesome It wasn't that was it. No, this is me buying for myself and my friends. We all pooled our money together and came up with I think like $20 between us, which is like 10 packs of cigarettes at the time and I rode my bike To this convenience store like lean the bike up against the wall and full view of the clerk and walk in and I'm like I'd like 10 packs of cigarettes Let's see it was kind of like when you're at a donut shop ordering a dozen donuts But I was doing that with cigarettes. I'd like I'll have those cools and those mobs of a couple wind stints How about some Virginia slams and the guy sold them to me put them in a bag for me to drive the ride home on my bike more efficiently with That is amazing. Yeah, it really was a beautiful time. It really was so Dave posits and he's he's kind of right in a lot of ways is one of the death knels was in 1982 in a very sort of off-hand comment from Sea Everett Cooper who was a surgeon general at the time Had given a speech in Pittsburgh and this was in the Q&A afterward There was a question about video game effects and he just sort of tossed out. Yeah, you know I think these kids are becoming addicted body and soul and Then you know this was the surgeon general. This is when people knew who that person was. Oh, yeah, I trusted what they said Yeah, he was big and That just sort of became the media narrative the the national PTA leapt on this Issued a report and I'm glad that Dave puts reporting quotes because They weren't really basing it on hard data or really great studies It was more like a lot of speculation. Yep on how bad these games were for kids right and that was all you need to hear PTA put their seal on it and parents were like okay, it's official Between them and Sea Everett Cooper like these this needs to end also there was a part of it too It wasn't necessarily the game consoles The author of the verge article Laura June points out that Game consoles were around before the demise of the video arcade and it really wasn't until like 1985 like we talked about in our Nintendo episode that they got even bigger, but I would say still early 80s Atari was still pretty big Yeah, so it was around at the time, but I think parents let that live in Order to let video arcades die because at the very least you could keep an eye on your kid while they were playing the games at home Right, you know, yeah, you could ignore them in the basement rather than ignore them out on the wild It's much tougher to smoke cigarettes in the basement than it is in the wood There was an early 90s Renaissance when Street Fighter 2 the World Warrior came out followed by Mortal Kombat and Tekken in the early 90s so people crept back and this was like my early college days Yeah, I remember we would go to the bowling alley and Athens to play Street Fighter and stuff and then the Whenever the first I guess it was the first PlayStation. Maybe is when we you know started really playing heavily at home with Mortal Kombat Yeah, with Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter So you were into this because this is where I was at my peak as far as video arcades go Yeah, I was in I was more into because like I said I was in college so we would make the occasional trip to the bowling alley, but it was mainly playing with my friends Clay and Jason and Brett and Bill playing at their house. I had a friend named Tony Tony Appi actually who I went to high school with and And he was like 17 at the time and managed an entire Mount Asia somehow. That's how responsible he was Managed a what a Mount Asia. It's like a family in fun park where there's like oh really parts mini golf Huge arcade. Yeah golf and stuff. Yeah, it was a lot of fun And Tony was 17 and managed the place and he would give us this unlimited coin So we would go in and play all these games and when you have unlimited free coins like you're really willing to try out all sorts of games But we have really good time there at Mount Asia in the early mid 90s. Oh Well, I know I mentioned what was sort of the pinnacle of my childhood life at one point was when through something is my dad being principal. They had a free night at Charles entertainment G's and and It was just one free night at Chuck E. Cheese and everything was free. That's huge ordered pizza when you wanted and the first thing you did when you walk in was gave you a little A little cloth sack full of tokens and the idea of that being free was just mind blowing To like it's too attenu-roll. Oh, I can imagine two free pizza free games. I'm free Coke Yeah, I mean you just got to play games for free all night long and I remember going home that night being tired and Just dreamy in my head thinking this is the best night of my life So things came back in the early 90s and the parents stepped up against I don't know Everything we were saying before in 1983 that didn't apply now really does apply like the violence is just Outrageous and outlandish like in in Mortal Kombat. You could very memorably pull your opponents final call them out It was fun. I mean looking back. It didn't look that great. So it's kind of funny now Exactly But if they were an uproar over the violence from space invaders, you can imagine what Mortal Kombat did to them So that kind of killed that comeback as well and plus also home consoles just kept getting better and better and better Yeah, and that's the story of the arcade and you can still go now, you know, they're the Sort there's the Dave and Buster's tight places which again like a setter You know, they've retrofitted they have the giant space invaders They have this huge Pac-Man game where multiple people can be Pac-Man at the same time So they've kind of like tried to bring some of these into the modern era But if you really want that throwback experience in most cities They have some kind of a barcade style thing where they have the classic games and you can get a beer or something and play I've not been to one and have you I Went to one at one point and then when I was living in LA There was an arcade like an old school regular arcade. It wasn't some retro beer place Within walking distance of my first apartment So I would go down there and play or go to the the bowling the big Lebowski Lane Right some good arcade games conceptually speaking. It just makes sense Why not put like fun activities into a bar rather than just booze and you know Hopefully good conversation with whoever you're with so I totally get that seems like it would be fun if Everybody like followed all the unwritten rules about playing games, you know, yeah I'll try I'll take you muted on a barcade date someday You got anything else. I got nothing else Well, that means everybody that arcades are done truck. I feel like we burned through a really great live show topic here That's alright. Yeah people don't come to our shows that have been the arcades That's true. That's a good point man. And since Chuck just made a good point. That means it's time for listening to me I'm gonna call this hamburger steak follow up from Laurie Hey guys heard the discussion of the hamburger steak and thought hey, that's all my problem on what to cook for supper But then Chuck said that hamburger steak was just hamburger pressing to a steak shape I had to stop and step back to make sure I heard that correctly But try this maybe to juice up your hamburger steak. I think you'll like it better Mix that hamburger with about a half a pack or less of lip and onion soup mix. Oh That's a that's a an all-time great hack for hamburgers and turkey burgers period Keeps them very juicy and very flavorful Add some bread crumbs and Even egg if you want this is meatloaf and then cook it completely remove it from the skillet Place the rest of the soup mix that you didn't use and water in the skillet You cook the burger in and basically thicken that to a gravy You could add some flour or cornstarch to thicken it up and then add the burger back in And then this is how Laurie signs her her email You can use my name comma Laurie Yeah, that's from Laurie Michael Good that sounds like a good recipe to me. That is a great recipe Laurie. Thank you for that I'm going to try that post-haste and it actually brings to mind another thing. I just came up Chuck since we're talking about Kitchen hacks. Okay. Have you ever taken This water that you boil the spaghetti in and then add a little bit to your sauce? No, okay, I never had before until the other night and apparently we've been doing it wrong all along You have to do that and the reason why is it actually counter intuitively thickens your sauce a little bit because of the The carbs that are still floating around in the water and just a little bit just enough and then the other thing It does is it's when you put the spaghetti Drain spaghetti into your sauce, which is what you're supposed to do We won't put it on top of the spaghetti you stir it around toss it It actually makes the sauce stick to the spaghetti more in it is I can report really you should never make spaghetti Any other way All right, okay. I'm gonna leap frog off of that Because this is along those same lines if you make homemade mashed potatoes Like I do and you chop up raw potatoes and then boil that Then you you strain the water out save some of that water and add it back in Instead of just going right to like milk or cream or whatever you want to use as your liquid Put some of that starchy water back in first. I think it has a similar effect nice Yeah, it's starchy. That's why I was after not carbie Yeah, and finally just at a correction or not a correction, but a tip Your butter bell you mentioned was getting moldy We had quite a few people right in that say to use salted butter and your butter bell will not get molded Yeah, I don't I I'd like to salt my own butter. I don't buy it pretty salted. I'm not a communist Yeah, I'm sure that was part of it too And also I think I may have fudge slightly when I said yes, I did change the water every three days I think I did from time to time, but I think that probably had something to do with it But it's nice to know that wasn't the entire thing that I was using unsalted All right, well if anyone's still listening now these are great kitchen tips. Yeah, for sure I think we should probably get a move on so thanks Laurie for that awesome recipe Thank you for your tip. Thank me for my tip as well and And if you want to get in touch of this to give us a tip of any sort you can email us at stuffpodcast at Stuff you should know is a production of iHeartRadio for more podcasts my heart radio visit the iHeartRadio app Apple podcasts are wherever you listen to your favorite shows You know someone who won't wear their seatbelt the alarm starts dinging, but they just ignore it Well next time add some of your own dinging start going ding ding ding ding ding and don't stop ding ding ding Yep, keep going until they click that seatbelt because if saving their life won't make them buckle up Maybe that annoying dinging will buckle up Virginia and help save lives on our roads learn more at dmb a message from Virginia Dmb Luke comes here and I have an exclusive opportunity for you to win a half million dollars with the living lucky with Luke comes lottery experience join me in Nashville for a private concert in 2024 from the Virginia lottery learn more at v a lottery dot com slash live and lucky hey everybody here's something you should know the key to having a good tomorrow Can actually start the night before yeah, which is tough if you're up all night tossing and turning and counting sheep Which is exactly why nature made as these melatonin gummies to help you get a good night's sleep for sleepless nights You could add nature made melatonin to your bedtime routine and your morning self might just thank you. 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