Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

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Slush Puppie!

Like me, writer and performer and all-around good guy Wil Wheaton is from the Video Arcade Generation. We both spent plenty of early-'80s hours in dark places doing quick things with our hands (not THAT way, you sickos!!!!). My arcade-game heyday was in Camarillo, California; 1981-'82 that would've been. My memory's fuzzy on this point, but I seem to remember that arcade being the back three-quarters of an ice cream shop. I had less exposure to arcades in Virginia Beach, the next place I lived (summer '82-fall '84) -- I can't remember any actual arcades, not even at Pembroke and Lynhaven malls, and only remember one drugstore with one console up front -- but I had more access to them in Northern Virginia in the mid-'80s.

Which the period I think of when I smile at this quote from Wil Wheaton's latest Geek In Review column on video game arcades:
Super Pac-Man, Defender, Gyruss, and Mouse Trap drop me through the worm hole into Sunland Discount Variety, a sort of family-run grocery and hardware store that pre-dates minimarts. I can close my eyes right now, and hear the old mechanical cash register and whirring Slush Puppie machine (ten pumps of syrup, please.)
I did that! Well, not that badly/extremely, but the High's convenience store in Vienna, VA had a self-serve Slush Puppie machine. (No video games, though, at least not by the time I moved up there). High's was a local convenience store chain; it closed in the '80s, and I think the building now is a bank, or something else with a drive-up. (It's near the former movie theatre that became an optometrist shop, for anyone who knows Vienna geography, like Tarah. Hi, Tarah!) And I had a well-developed sweet tooth by then, and I'd often get more pumps of flavoring in my Slush Puppie than I really should have.

Anyway, I'm amused to know I'm not the only one who did that.

Note: Geek In Review is at Suicide Girls, and GIR's page is usually Safe For Work but it links to plenty of pages that Aren't (Neil Gaiman once called Suicide Girls "semi-porn by real people for real people"). Just so you know. Or just so you can click through to photos of gorgeous punk-goth women...

Later, with the editing and the extra info and all that: My brother remembered that Camarillo arcade better than I did, so I'm glad I asked him what he remembered:
To the best of my recollection, the arcade was called "The Spot". In the front they definitely served ice cream. I don't remember if they included candy and I don't know if they sold other more "substantial" foods. (I don't remember it being large enough for them to have a back area to cook more substantial stuff.) I remember having a birthday party there and [a friend of ours] got bubble gum ice cream forgetting that she had given up gum for Lent...oops.
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