Back to the arcades!

So wouldn’t you know it studying arcades meant I had to go back! This time I went alone… well, without my closer circle of friends.  I decided I was going to make a serious effort to get to understand why the regulars (people who visit at least once per week) go to the arcade.

Obviously I didn’t want to get stuck on one guy because one data point does not a study make so I moved around and tried to talk to as many people as I could.  that way I’d get a variety of answers rather than just, “My friends come here.”

Not really surprising that reason was one of the most popular reasons.  Similar to the reasoning in my last post, people go out to be with their friends; nothing new here.  What I didn’t expect to be a common answer was that this was their way to escape.

What I mean when I say that is that, unlike me who plays games to escape into new worlds and be the hero and slay the dragon and save the world, there version of escape was really just a change of scenery.  They could escape their home life/their apartment/their other social circle.  It was more about physically being somewhere different than being the hero.

Don’t get me wrong, people definitely liked being the saviour and blowing up the terrorists but that was definitely unexpected.  I’ve never really been concerned with my surroundings unless they’re super bland but I guess I’ve just been used to my room for so long I’ve become immune to it.

It’s just interesting to see that while the games are definitely fun and the core of the experience (I mean, why be at the gaming arcade if not to play games) but the games themselves weren’t at the forefront of the reasoning.  I suppose it’s like playing soccer with your friends even if you’d rather play rugby.

I don’t think I could do that but hey, to each their own.


  1. I always like that you blogs get straight to the point, I have trouble figuring out what I need to say sometimes, so this is refreshing. I also like that you went and talked to people and got the real first hand primary source data. I think you may have come across an important insight; people escaping through a game, but in another setting completely for the opportunity to escape further, is quite extraordinary from a social sciences stand-point. I think the analogy of soccer and football is fair, however, you play on a team in those games, and gaming at an arcade has the option of being solo as you demonstrated or with friends as you also demonstrated. From what I can guess it would probably depend on the mood of the person whether they decided to go solo or not, which I think is also pretty interesting from a social sciences stand-point.


  2. This is an interesting discovery – albeit not that surprising when you consider the facts. In a home or a lifestyle where ‘escaping’ is a necessary way to avoid the pressures of the home or of the family, it seems logical that escaping to an avenue where the sole focus is on gaming – it seems to be a fair excuse. Did you find the experience of travelling there a second time any different when alone to going as a group? Awesome to see how the study unfolded in this assessment. nice job!


  3. Its interesting that people use acrades as their escape. I mean I have always turned to video games when i need to escape from reality but usually this is from the comforts of my own home. Its sad to know that there are people who need that much of an escape from everything that they need to go dump coins into a machine every Saturday, but I completely understand why. It must have been interesting for you to learn about all this stuff when you were at the arcade, keep up the good work 🙂


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