For anybody that missed the Golden Age of arcade games, it's sometimes difficult to explain exactly the effect of walking into an arcade with a pocket full of quarters. Row after row of flickering screens. A symphony of "beeps" and "boops" competes with Foreigner and Duran Duran being pumped over some tinny speakers. Floors sticky with the residue of dropped Cokes. These palaces were an oasis for gamers -- a stopover escape from the bright world outside where you were not a brave knight, pilot of a space cruiser, or any number of animals that suddenly had the fate of the world hoisted upon on their shoulders.
Arcades have largely been ripped from the pop culture landscape. There are a few mega-arcades left in the Gameworks or Dave & Busters chains. The resurgent Chuck E. Cheese offers a modest number of arcade cabinets amongst a sea of redemption games. And every once in a while, you happen upon a retro house that gets by on the strength of thirtysomething nostalgia. However, the hole-in-the-wall arcade that was a staple of the Reagan Era is forever gone.
But not here at IGN Retro. Not with their new Dream Arcades series, where they imagine the ideal arcade of the eighties, stocked with favorite machines on "free play." They are kicking off this week with a collection of cherished cabinets from their arcade-fueled childhood.