Why you should embrace the joy of arcade games

Sep 17 22:15 2022 Stephen Bell Print This Article

Short story of my experience in games arcades and why I feel that it's more important to embrace the joy of playing, rather than winning.

My first experience of gaming was at Barry's amusements Arcade in Portrush,Guest Posting Northern Ireland as a teenager. I used to love playing the 2p and 10p pusher machines. The concept was simple, you would drop your coins through the slots at the top of the machine, they would fall onto a platform below that was going back and forth, and your coin or coins would (hopefully) push the coins on this platform onto a lower platform, once the coins dropped onto the lower platform, they would be pushed by the top platform hopefully over the edge where they would drop into the tray below were they are collected as winnings. Many hours as a teenager were spent trying to find the precise moment to drop my coin through one of the 3 slots. I tried different strategies, trying to figure the optimal moment to drop the coins, dropping 2 coins simultaneously, or even 3 at a time. Often when I ran out of 2p coins and was about to wander off, gravity would pull a few extra coins into the winning tray, and the game would continue.

These arcade pusher machines were my happy place. I would stand in front of the machines hypnotized in the hope of filling my little bucket with 2p or 10p coins. I loved the excitement of watching the coins fall, and hoping that this would be my lucky day. For the many hours that I played, I don't ever recall leaving Barry's as a winner though.

Many years later, when I started working in Casinos, I discovered that many of the coins that drop from the lower platform on a pusher machine, don't drop into the winners tray below. These coins are carried away to another tray at the bottom of the machine. If you look closely at the bottom of a pusher machine there is a locked drawer, and when the arcade is closed, these coins are taken away by the staff. These additional coins that don't make it out is similar to what is referred to as the house edge in Casino games - when you win, you don't win as much as you should.

I hadn't been to Barry's Arcade for over 20 years, but we went as a family recently, and it was the first time for my 4-year-old daughter Leila. I was immediately drawn to the pusher machines, and changed £1 for 2p coins and filled my little bucket. The 3 of us stood dropping 2p coins for 30 magical minutes before we had used all our coins.

Leila loved watching the coins drop, and if any fell into the winners tray, she would fish them out and put them in our little bucket. It was so much fun to spend time together as a family and to watch our daughter experience something new. I remembered how much I used to enjoy playing these machines when I was younger, and it was great to be able to share that with my daughter. 

When it comes to arcade gaming, most people view it as something that's not about winning. Instead, it's seen as a form of entertainment that's all about having fun. And that's really the key thing to remember – arcade games are meant to be enjoyed, not taken too seriously.

Whether you're playing by yourself or with friends, arcade games are a blast. And, even if you don't always win, that's okay. The important thing is that you're having fun.

So next time you're at the arcade, don't worry about winning. Just focus on having a good time and enjoying yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Stephen Bell is the owner of Fun 21 Casino Hire, an entertainment company that specializes in No-Money Fun Casino nights.

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Stephen Bell
Stephen Bell

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