Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You’ll Reach For Your Quarters

These days, when pretty much every video game ever created can be bought and downloaded in minutes, it’s hard to believe we used to trudge down to the local arcade with rolls of quarters in our pockets.

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Whether you lived near a full-blown arcade,

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a bowling alley with a handful of games,

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or a local pizza joint with one lonely arcade cabinet,

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there was something magical about popping a quarter into one of these machines and playing until your luck ran out. It’s an experience that most of us haven’t had in years, which is a shame because it’s very different from playing games at home by yourself.

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There were so many rituals involved. Like putting a quarter on the cabinet to show you have “next.”

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And begging your parents for more quarters when you ran out of change. When a game was seriously challenging, you would save up until you had one of these bad boys to beat it.

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You could go head to head with your best friend on a fighting game.

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Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You'll Reach For Your Quarters
Remember being shocked by the blood in this game? Simpler times.Digital Spy

Or test your skills behind the wheel on one of these awesome rigs.

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Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You'll Reach For Your Quarters
This model is a little rough, but sometimes they didn’t look much better.Vintage Arcade Superstore

If those didn’t strike your fancy, there were a lot more games to play…

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Personally, I was obsessed with any arcade games that used light gun controllers.

Even though it was just a hunk of plastic, it really made you feel like you were in the game. And there were a lot of great titles that used these.

And most arcades had a mix of “classic” games too. Like the pinball machines we all wasted our money on.

And skeeball.

I was never lucky enough to hit the jackpot on these, but it looked pretty fun.

And every arcade had that one guy who could do this on the hoops machine.

Plus there were the absolute DDR freaks, who stayed until they mastered every song.

And the claw game, which was definitely rigged. No question about it.

Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You'll Reach For Your Quarters
I’ll win that teddy bear…someday.NeoGaf

Heck, we would even settle for Golden Tee if it was the only game we could afford a play on.

But of course we preferred the serious quarter-eaters, the games that challenged and infuriated us so much we just had to keep playing.

Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You'll Reach For Your Quarters
Be honest: how many times did you play that first level?Wikia
Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You'll Reach For Your Quarters
Getting six friends together on this machine was chaotic but so, so fun.1.BP
Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You'll Reach For Your Quarters
I think I still have nightmares about this game.EMUParadise

So many quarters wasted on that one…

And of course, we all waited in line to try the newest fighting game, only to be destroyed by someone who already knew all of the killer combos.

Arcade Photos That Bring Back So Much Nostalgia You'll Reach For Your Quarters
“Okay time out, how do I switch my character? Hey wait, I said time out!”EMU Paradise

And how can we forget the arcade tokens! Of course we used every single one of these, but looking back I wish I saved a few, because they’re such unique collector’s items.

If you’re lucky enough to still live near a working arcade, enjoy it while you can! For must of us these days are sadly gone for good.

Don’t forget to share these memories, and tell us what your favorite arcade game was!

Emma C
Freelance Writer