Writing Prompts: Arcades

A meerkat winning a meerkat?! Very meta… also, why does the machine have live prizes?!

If you happen to be near a seaside town in the UK (think Brighton, Bournemouth, Southend, Blackpool, to name a few) you’ll have probably encountered the arcade. These can also be found in or around holiday parks too. A typical arcade will house a number of games, including coin-ops (coin-operated games consoles) among other temptations. The crane/claw machine is a favourite of my wife’s, whilst my daughter has developed a fondness for the penny pushers. As for me, I am not overly fussed by either of those, though I will partake in them, from time to time.

Arcades are certainly good at sucking away money. This is not actually too much of a problem to me, for when I visit an arcade, I expect to spend money. I’ll slip a few coins into machines that offer up various prizes, knowing I probably won’t win, because it’s A: fun, and B: you never know! The prizes vary wildly – from cuddly toys to sophisticated headphones, to sweets and toy cars, and so forth – and these days, a lot of arcade games give you tickets, which can be exchanged for prizes. You need a lot of tickets to win the biggest prizes, in fact so many that you might have realistically bought and paid less for the item if you went direct!

Still, as I said, it’s in the name of fun. There are games based on horse-racing, games where you shoot water at little rubber ducks, immersive 3D zombie-shooting games, VR games, and more. There’s air hockey, and sometimes pool tables as well. I don’t know of anyone who goes to an arcade with the expectation of winning lots of stuff, but it’s a good, fun place to visit with family and friends.

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