Watching Azumanga Daioh made me reminiscence about my younger days and how carefree they were. That time, arcades were actually fun.
When I was around five years old or so, I was often brought to the arcades at Parkway Parade (Funworld!), Ang Mo Kio (I believe it was WyWy?) and many other places. Parkway was the most notable, since distance-wise it was the nearest and it provided the most kiddy fun. Perhaps it was only that particular arcade (Hey what do I know? I was like five at that time), but it was one of the few with many kiddy games such as the horse carousel and water-based games. There were also puzzle and timing games that provided the majority of tickets. You could then use the tickets to exchange for a pen, a soft toy or if you are hardcore enough, even some cool electronic gadget.
There were machines which you could toss a token in in an attempt to get more tokens, and there were machines which dished out sweets. And there were machines which gave you the chance to grab a soft toy, which was what started me on the arcade thing in the first place. A few years at the kiddy rides, and arcades went out of my life for a while.
Nowadays, the only place you can find those rides are the rare funfair cum “pasar malam” (where you have to pay to enter, bah) and overseas. Are such rides not popular with young kids anymore, or are they just a victim of the video game generation? The closest thing you can get to physical gratification nowadays are probably your usual Bemani games which actually require a brain to play.
Not to mention such places are often popular as dating spots in television shows. You see couples ride horses together, but you don’t often see couples play Street Fighter 2 (hadoken! hadoken!) together.
Those were the days… How I’ve missed them indeed.