80s arcade photoset will make you happy

One of the most powerful forces in the universe, hypergeek icon Nathan Rabin once mused, is nostalgia. The internet gives his theory credence: whether it's debating the relative merits of discontinued breakfast cereals or complaining distastefully about George Lucas “raping your childhood” – online, there's no time like the past. In this spirit, allow us to introduce you to this image gallery from the glory days of the early 80s arcade scene.

While it's an undeniable treat to see so many titles, both classic and disregarded, in their original habitat, there's a deeper joy in revisiting (or, for many, discovering) the days in which the video arcade was as much a social hangout as it was a place to play games. Before “gamer” became so loaded a term that you could base an underrated action movie around it, arcades were a place to hang out and be seen, where actually playing the games was as incidental as dancing at an underground rock show today.

See the full set at How to be a Retronaut. How many of these games have you played? How many of these hairstyles have you worn?

May 9, 2011

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  • EnragedTortoise1 - May 10, 2011 1:26 a.m.

  • whisp3rbl4d3 - May 10, 2011 12:44 a.m.

    Arcades I do miss...stone-washed jeans not so much lol
  • TheMonarch - May 10, 2011 12:27 a.m.

    The games we gravitated to in arcades: Mortal Kombat (1, 2, or 3) Marvel vs Capcom 2 NBA Jam, lots and lots of NBA Jam
  • bamtan - May 10, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    >my face when I will never experience the joy of an arcade >my face when I can't post a face >my face when I can't even greentext The only arcade experience I've ever had was playing Mrs. Pac-Man and Street Fighter II at a Little Caesar's pizza. You guys make me feel like I missed something great :(
  • Tomgoulter - May 9, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    @paganpoet: We had one all lined up to publish, but then a visit from some gentlemen representing an agency we've been advised not to name saw us strongly advised that Polybius would be best left unmentioned. @BigKingBud: I think this thread has a clear winner.
  • adamstephenson - May 9, 2011 10:50 p.m.

    Kick ass! These photos are a few years before my time. I remember playing TMNT when it first came out. Pole Position was a dinosaur already when I hit the arcades, it still had a pretty sweet wheel though.
  • yasmarc - May 9, 2011 9:42 p.m.

    Just watched the original TRON the other night and now this. So much nostalgia! I remember the Battletoads arcade game being amazing, especially when I had played the NES one to death.
  • paganpoet - May 9, 2011 9:19 p.m.

    I was hoping to see a pic of a Polybius arcade cabinet.
  • Letter11 - May 9, 2011 9:05 p.m.

    This is part of why I had such a great time in Japan. They're are Club Sega's everywhere! (Sigh...) I miss you arcades!
  • 8bitBaby - May 9, 2011 8:43 p.m.

    cool. those make me smile a bit. i kind of like my arcade memories in my head rather than put into actual images. that way they stay far grander than i know they really ever were. C:
  • SHAPATTAK - May 9, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    I have such good arcade memories from my youth, and these pics brought them back. Except for the girl on the motorcycle, I'm glad I don't remember that.
  • IntimidatingStair - May 9, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    Old, but nice, and there is much to be appreciated about the intimacy of an arcade.
  • BigLandoz - May 9, 2011 7:19 p.m.

    ::sigh:: This takes me back...
  • Japanaman - May 9, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    You are correct, sir! This makes me happy. This makes me very happy. The games, not the kids. PERVERT!

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