Friday, January 18, 2013

Arcades in the landscape of the popular imagination II

I've noted before that I dig when comic books incorporate video game arcades into their settings and backdrops. Over Christmas I found that my partner's parents had come into possession of some sad sack's comic collection (3 or 4 long boxes, an eerie parallel to my own collection liquidated through their garage sale) for cheap in hopes of selling it dearly at their sale next year (to the same mystery buyer who snapped up all of mine!) This has resulted in my having temporary access to a huge pile of new-to-me old comics, a huge boost to my pile of scanned ads, and indeed several further specimens of comics partially set in video arcades. This amazing recent history of the rise and fall of arcades, paralleling my most recent game ad post here, reminded me of this trove so here I share the most extensive comic book arcade appearance. Robin and his unwanted protegee Spoiler have infiltrated a pinball and video arcade where members of an organized crime group are rumoured to be conducting business (paralleling, silently, the actual association in North America of pinball to gambling and its ties to organized crime.) The criminals are found there in droves, and our heroes only escape with the help of the arcade's rotund mascot, "Fatso". And as usual, I dig the fake video game names the artists come up with.
Here in Shoot'em Up Alley we see arcade cabinets for "...nal Rampage" and "Die Trying III", upping the ante of its two earlier sequels. Also on the scene are the pinball machines "Crocky's Revenge" and the (perhaps Back to the Future-themed?) "Great Scott!" getting caught in the crossfire.
Someone alert Nintendo, I see a "Dario's World" cabinet with a mushroom -- much clearer infringement than the Great Giana Sisters. Also "Lethal Webbin" and "Galaxy Demonz."
Wrapping things up here we see a "Hell Hockey" air hockey table, a "Major League Football" cabinet, one for "Death Galaxy", and the hilarious "Street Combat" with a wholly plausible catchphrase: "If it moves... kick it! If it doesn't move... kick it 'til it does!"

OK, admittedly there's not much for readers to sink their teeth into here, but I get a kick out of these. Maybe this explains what happened to video arcades! Sadly, future illustrators will have to refer to photographs and blueprints rather than personal experience to draw on to lay out future such battlezones.