Caught a post on Joystiq about Arcade, an upcoming documentary on a “legendary” New York arcade called Chinatown Fair. Not being in New York, it’s obviously just a name to me but seeing the trailer made me smile…and weep.
The last arcade
I’ve gone on about about the significance of arcades before, in fact, that’s probably a dead horse at this point around here, but seeing that documented in a documentary will be awesome. Apparently Chinatown Fair had been around for 50 years giving the gamers of NYC a place to throw down and become local heroes before the place was closed early this year. The other interesting thing about this film is that it is being funded through Kickstarter, the same social pandering investment site that helped get the Robocop statue built. And to be honest, I’d rather have this documentary than a Robocop statue so I hope they reach the $20k they’re asking for.
Keep your eye out for the classic “making out at the arcade” couple in the trailer. Awesome.
The gamer’s church
Thinking about it right now, even though arcades are obviously where gamers converge, I’m gonna go out and say there aren’t many establishments that act as arcades, even for other groups of people (non-gamers). Where do you go if you want to be around like-minded people while being surrounded by the things you love to talk about? You can’t go to a bar and do that, and outside of organized clubs and events, I’m not sure where you would or could go these days. Where do you go to talk about cars? Or books? Or movies? Or theories about the 4th dimension?
Arcades are really unique if you compare it to other hobbies and entertainment. Arcades were a physical place open all the time where you could go and you know you’d find other people there, and games. It was a place to socialize, a place to learn, a place to admire and a place to explore. Of course, it was sometimes a place to fear that also smelled funny, but you take the good with the bad.
Video gaming is subject to the technology that drives them. The first consoles brought the arcade home and it was great, it still required you be in the same physical space as others. The second era of consoles now are all organized online and while we’ve all made friends through these online match-ups, it’s just not the same. The games being played has changed quite a bit, I know, but that doesn’t make it any easier accept.
Keep your eye out for the Chinatown Fair movie. I know I will be.