In focusing my efforts on this research task, I decided to get some hands on experience with some arcades. With there being no arcades near my house, that is within twenty minutes travel, I decided to rope some of my friends into a train ride into the centre of Sydney.
Once we got to the arcade it was instantly different to where I normally play games at home. There was less elbow space, there were quite a few people around, it was loud (and I should have expected that one, there’s gaming machines everywhere). That said, I was excited to try out new games. I play lots of games, I like exploring new mechanics so I had a buffet of games to try out. It was going to be fun.
A lot of the games, as we found out, were connected. There were racing machines all connected, there were shooting games that had a shared game space. It let me not only play with my friends, which is nice since all the games look separate, but it let me compete. The different machines kept track of every single action that was done. It’s always fun to compete with your friends, but it’s better when you can lean over and hit them when they’re ahead or they can show you what they’re doing better so that you learn. It was really cool. That’s not something you can do at home.
This closeness, that allowed a higher level of interactivity that wouldn’t happen at home, made it easier to make new friends. I’m not normally that socially adept, but with all these people so close together, it became simple to interact, especially with this common ground together.
Something I did notice about these new friends was, and I mean this in the least racist way possible, they were all Asian. I grew up in pretty much white suburbia. There were two Asian kids in my high school. At this arcade, me and my friends were the minority. It was an unusual feeling, but nobody treated us different avoided us. We all had this common ground in the games we were playing and it was nice.
Now one problem that did arise, and I tried my hardest to not let it be a problem, was that I started to get carried away with the atmosphere of the place. My auto-ethnography really isn’t going to work if I’m not paying attention and trying to record the differences between my life outside the arcade and inside the arcade. More than once in that night I had to remind myself that this was for uni and not just for fun, which is fine because realistically I wouldn’t have gone to an arcade if uni hadn’t motivated me.
Join me next time when I follow the advice on my last post and look into the financial situation that may or may not have caused the rise and fall of arcades.