Another round?

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.

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4 comments

  1. I like that for your autoethnographic study you’ve actually gone out an experienced the gaming arcade culture. Getting distracted while doing this research seems to be a common problem for so many people whether it’s watching a show or scrolling the internet or playing a video game so you’re not on your own for that one. I think when you’re sitting down to write and reflecting on your experience you’ll probably remember a lot more about it and how it differs from playing at home.
    Interested to see more about gaming culture. As someone who has no idea about any games it’s kind of cool how there’s a place you can go to play video games, like the equivalent of going to a concert to be around other people with an interest in the same band as you I guess.

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  2. I think it is really cool that you have gone out and actually experienced an arcade for yourself. Growing up In Ulladulla we had one arcade to go to and a lot of the machinces didnt work or were being serviced. This is one reason I wished I had had the opportunity to travel and experience sydney more. As a gamer I loved being able to go and compete with my friends on something like the sega Daytona machines because for 1. I was pretty decent at this game and 2. we all interacted with each other and competed to see who was really the best at it.

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  3. The only two reasons I don’t go is because 1. not that many great arcades where I am and 2. arcades in Australia are expensive. My friend Kyle who has done study abroad in Japan twice now, has informed me that arcade machines over there cost close to nothing. For me this, along with the fact that some Asian countries take their gaming very seriously, explains the contrast between arcade cultures. This might also be a major part as to why gaming arcades are dying out and really only remaining in major cities with higher levels of Asian immigrants, while arcades might be more expensive here there is such a prevalent culture that they continue to part take in it down here.

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