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January 2018 Retro Gaming Article

January 13, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A dual-link Arctic Thunder video game arrived at my local movie theater's arcade

Midway's Arctic Thunder arcade game
There's something magical about a new video game appearing at a familiar arcade, even if it's seventeen years old!
I was excited to see Molly's Game (great film), but that began to pale as I realized there was a new game in the movie theater's arcade! I always try to get to the theater early to rally thorough a few games before taking in a movie. When my son is visiting, the 2-player games often culminate in Air Hockey - a family favorite.

Today, the back wall of the arcade looked similar - but a little different. The familiar seats of Midway's Hydro Thunder had been replaced with sit-on "sleds"! One of the former Hydro Thunder units had been "out of order" for a while. It seems the fix was the introduction of another Midway title - Arctic Thunder, released in 2000.

Having played several sit-on motorcycle games, this one was similar, but had a nice feel to it. Most motorcycle games seat you fairly high up, forcing the player to hunch over. Arctic Thunder's snowmobile game lets you sit lower and almost look upward to the screen. I found this a nice change in this type of game. I'm stoked to have my son visit so we can make use of the dual-machine link.

Having grown up in the lavish arcades of the 80's, I'm accustomed to rows and rows of amazing games - too many to play through in one night. In those days we used to scoff at a "theater arcade" with four or five video games. Today, those feelings are reversed! In fact, I'm stoked that modern theaters often have more than two games. It's another place to enjoy the kind of entertainment that meant everything to me as a kid.

Two local arcades have Space Invaders Frenzy and another has the original Space Invaders video game similar to the one I played at the bowling alley in my childhood home town. DEcades later it's a joy to see video game arcades still in operation. While not the same as they were in the 80s, I'm glad the advances in home video game consoles hasn't completely ruined the option of going out... just to play video games and maybe take in a movie.

Midway's Arctic Thunder arcade game Poke around your local movie theater next time you arrive early for a blockbuster showing. You may find a bit of arcade awesomeness lurking in the wings ;)

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