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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.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 8th, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
Huh huh, huh huh, you said "opening"...
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 8th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
Yep, I was watching more Beavis & Butt-Head last night, one where they try to get whiplash and another when they try blowing on a car tire to inflate it.

You have any experience with arcades? Or a youthful sweet tooth? :-)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 9th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
I've had a sweet tooth as far back as I can remember. It actually throws me off a little to find someone who doesn't have one.

I evolved into the bookstore/record store type, starting around junior high. I really got into record stores in college, kind of creating the foundation late in high school (in other words, I wasn't yet a geek about it, but was growing more interested). On the first weekend Alicia and I were dating, we went to a record store and I spent so long there that she vowed (loudly) never to enter a record store with me again.

As for home games, my brother and I only ever had one Atari 2600 (probably purchased in '83, fairly late in its heyday in fact), but we played lots of text adventures on the computer. Adventure and Infocom ruled! I kind of miss those.
Feb. 8th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
For me it was Pac-Man (and Ms.), Joust, Battlezone and Defender at Lindsey's, the token diner-arcade-pizza-joint in Brewster, Washington. Back then I held the top score on the Joust machine for weeks on end, reset after reset.

That was also the scene of the Great Olive And Mushroom Pizza Debacle, during which I learned not to complain about certain toppings to certain step-grandparental units. Argh.

I may have to write that story up some time soon, come to think on it...
Feb. 9th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
"Nice" and "good going" on the Joust top scores. I was never the highest-scoring type. Might be part of why I got more into text adventures, where it's exploring that gets you to the end and not a high score.

My brother and I got exposed to Adventure about 1985, and we became very fond of Infocom soon after: the Zorks (of course), Hitchhikers and Bureaucracy by Douglas Adams, Planetfall and Stationfall, Cutthroats, Hollywood Hijinx (being a movie geek, I was especially amused by that one), Suspended (which we never finished), Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail Of It, and the (I felt) wonderfully atomospheric Trinity, the alternate-world-and-nuclear-bombs game. Later, when I dated Alicia, she was a big fan of Myst, and we finished that together.

And by the way: elegant icon. ;-)
Feb. 9th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Joust was the only game ever for which I made an effort to hold the top-score spot. The rest, well, I played them like I play anything now: For fun, not for competition.

And, I need to do something with the rest of those PotC3 icon bases. Hmm.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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