(Roughly) Daily

Tilt!…

 

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If you’ve never been inside a “real” arcade, it could be hard to distinguish one from say, oh, a Dave & Buster’s. Authenticity is a hard nut to crack, but there are a few hallmarks of the video game arcade of days gone by: first, they have video games. Lots and lots of video games, and (usually) pinball machines. They’re dark (so that you can see the screens better), and they don’t sell food or booze. You can make an exception for a lonely vending machine, sure, but full meals? No thanks. There’s no sign outside that says you “must be 21 to enter.” These are rarely family-friendly institutions, either. Your mom wouldn’t want to be there, and nobody would want her there, anyway. This is a place for kids to be with other kids, teens to be with other teens, and early-stage adults to serve as the ambassador badasses in residence for the younger generation. It’s noisy, with all the kids yelling and the video games on permanent demo mode, beckoning you to waste just one more quarter. In earlier days (though well into the ‘90s), it’s sometimes smoky inside, and the cabinets bear the scars of many a forgotten cig left hanging off the edge while its owner tries one last time for a high score, inevitably ending in his or her death. The defining feature of a “real” arcade, however, is that there aren’t really any left…

The Verge, on the late, lamented video arcade:  “For Amusement Only: the life and death of the American arcade.”

[TotH to Rob Salkowitz]

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As we flex our flipper fingers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1974 that Barry Manilow scored his first #1 pop hit with “Mandy.”  Manilow had gotten into the business as a jingle writer/performer, but met Bette Midler (in her days in the Baths) and scored a place as piano player in her back-up group.  His influence grew– he became her musical director, and began to perform as her opening act (and as opener for Dionne Warwick when Midler was on break).  Clive Davis spotted Manilow, signed him to the new Arista label, and prepped “Mandy”– which, as “Brandy,” had already charted in England and New Zealand– as Manilow’s and Arista’s debut.  And an auspicious debut it was: while Manilow’s syrupy pop isn’t for everyone, he has so far sold over 75 million recordings, and Arista became a force in the recording industry.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 18, 2013 at 1:01 am

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