Category Archives: drive-in
One of my recent downloads from the PlayStation Store has been X-Men, not a PS3 or PS2 dealie, but the real classic arcade side scroller. Old folks like me may remember this bad boy from the early 1990s when arcade games still existed where everyone could get to them as opposed to antique stores and othersuch places.
The X-Men arcade game was by Konami, and was as I said, a side scrolling fight game. You could play, with other players, anywhere from one to six different X-Men characters. The choices available were Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, or Dazzler, and you fought your way through multiple levels of Sentinels of varying power levels past bosses who were all major and minor X-villains all under the control of Magneto. Simple game, but for the time, this was a major thing.
I was thrilled to find it on the PS3. Ray was unimpressed when I told him, I was full of the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. “This is why you like it,” he said, “It’s moron simple, you just hit stuff.” That may be, and it may be simple, as I said, but it was cool. Now in the age of an Avengers movie that makes over a billion dollars at the box office, but for the time, it was awesome, and it takes me back in time. Then nobody knew who the X-Men were, and comic recognition was low, so for those in the know, an X-Men arcade game was a special thing.
I remember distinctly the X-Men arcade being at the Atco Multiplex movie theater. The Multiplex was built on top of the old Atco Drive-In, a place of many childhood memories for me. I remember climbing to the top of the screen one afternoon with a friend when we were kids. I also remember seeing probably my very first movies, either Jungle Book or Doctor Doolittle there, when I was much much younger. And of course I took dates there when I was much much older. Eventually it was demolished, paved over and replaced by the Multiplex. The Multiplex itself is now long gone, a deserted church the last time I checked.
The Multiplex had a gigantic lobby, with videogames on either wall, and at the height of its popularity, the crowds were always around the X-Men machine. I still remember the Friday night I saw the end of the game. I kept my date waiting, and we were late for the flick we were there to see, but I saw three players – Wolverine, Storm, and Colossus – I still remember finish the game. This was a huge thing. How rare it was to see someone win a videogame, and I saw it that night. I remember the crowd, probably two dozen people at the end, cheered.
And that was the golden age of videogames. Say what you like, Ray, I’m going to enjoy playing my new hitting stuff game, and when I win it, which I hope I can, it will be a crowd from a dead movie theatre from over two decades ago I hear cheering.