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Coin-Operated AmericansRebooting Boyhood at the Video Game Arcade$
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Carly A. Kocurek

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691821

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691821.001.0001

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The Arcade is Dead, Long Live the Arcade

The Arcade is Dead, Long Live the Arcade

Nostalgia in an Era of Ubiquitous Computing

(p.151) 6 The Arcade is Dead, Long Live the Arcade
Coin-Operated Americans

Carly A. Kocurek

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter considers how and why “classic” arcades have experienced a resurgence as an object of nostalgic desire. Classic arcade competitions reinscribe the centrality of competition in gaming culture while establishing an easily referenced canon of significant or especially beloved games. Lingering classic arcades, like Funspot in Weirs Beach in Laconia, New Hampshire, have become destinations in and of themselves. Newer businesses, like the Brooklyn-based Barcade chain of arcade-themed watering holes or Chicago’s own bar-and-arcades like Emporium, rely on nostalgia for bygone arcades to attract business. Kocurek considers in particular the rise of nostalgia for the “golden era” arcade in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble burst of the early 2000s. The timing of this focus on the arcade boom of the past when a more recent boom in the tech industry has ended may indicate a longing for the seemingly boundless potential of an emergent economic sector. The perceived youthfulness of arcade amusements coupled with this may also indicate longings for leisure, childhood, and play. The wide diffusion of video games also raises the possibility that engagement with gaming’s history through nostalgia is a way for gamers to authenticate gaming practices.

Keywords:   video games, arcades, game studies, American studies, cultural studies, video gamers, Nostalgia, Funspot, Barcade

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