‘The Ultimate Early ’80s Arcade Tribute’

The footage comes from Patrick Scott Patterson, “the man who talks about video games for a living.” Patterson has amassed an impressive amount of historic arcade and gaming-related video on his YouTube channel.

It really is the best golden age arcade compilation I’ve seen. Music featured in the montage includes The Beepers’ “Video Fever” and “History Lesson” from the War Games soundtrack (two of my all-time favorites) and “Pac-Man Fever.”

Some of the video is from a 1981 news story I featured last year.

Thanks, Patrick!

6 Responses to “‘The Ultimate Early ’80s Arcade Tribute’”


  1. 1 leftylimbo February 5, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Sigh…what a great time. Especially the early ’80s—’81 to ’83—those were awesome years for video games. IMO those were the golden years right there. Such a great compilation, thanks for sharing.

    I’ve been thinking of tracking down people who used to work as the “change men” in those old arcades and interview them on their experiences. There were the mobile guys who had that metal changemaker on their waist, and then there were those “booth doods” who literally sat in this tiny little booth behind glass and waited for kids to walk up with their dollars so he could break them into quarters. On occasion, they’d have to come out to fix a jammed game or retrieve a stuck quarter. I remember those keychains with that one special key to unlock the arcade cabinet coin slot doors. I was always fascinated to see them unlock it and reveal all the guts within.

  2. 2 J February 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    In my experience those “guys” behind the glass were the people we would complain to when the games were strangly harder than they normally are (compared to other arcades, conveniently much further away). I think in these particular arcades (usually in local malls) they set the dipswitchs to the most punishing difficulties to really drain the kids “lunch money”, if you know what I’m saying. Jerks. I can hear Sinistar taunting me now.

  3. 4 J February 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    The best example of dip switch manipulation is with something like Street Fighter II. If you have ever seen the operations manuals for coin ops like these (should be easily obtainable as pdf’s these days), they have charts of the dip switch settings and their effect on various aspects of the game. There’s a reason they used to call them quarter munchers. Also, I still set aside quarters instinctively as if I’m saving them for a trip to the arcade.

  4. 5 leftylimbo February 6, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Ah, the infamous dip switch. I never knew about those until I got into arcade game emulators in the late ’90s. But that explains why certain instances of arcade games were harder than others. When I was hooked on Xevious I ran across a couple which were unusually harder than most cabs I played on.


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