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Forever Young at the Arcade

Rarely does it ever happen that there’s a place where people of all ages are able to have an equally enjoyable time. If you take a five year old out to bar, which I highly recommend avoiding, he or she is more than likely to be crying the whole time. Likewise, if adults sit in Chuck-e-cheese’s for three hours, they’re probably also crying (and looking for a bar). And that’s where the beauty of the arcade comes it. Kids, adults, and teenagers alike enjoy the arcade.

Growing up in Cape May, I couldn’t tell you the hundreds of dollars in quarters that my family has spent there over the years. “Just one more dollar!” I would always ask, which led to another, and another, and before you know it, it was ten dollars instead of “just one more”. I guess you could say that I had a specialty when it came to working my parents for spare change. It’s a good trait to have; I still use it from time to time.

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As a child, I was absolutely obsessed with the arcade, wanting to go at least once a week. My favorite game consisted of a spinning wheel where you had to slide the quarters in a small slot at just the right moment in order to get any tickets and, by the time I was ten, I had it down to a science. But as I reached my early tweens, I was embarrassed to go to the arcade for fear of being seen in public with my parents. At the time, that was lame. So I would casually stroll away from them and start playing a game on the other side of the arcade, because for whatever reason I thought playing a game all alone made me look so much cooler?

Currently long over my worries of being seen at the arcade, I dash there whenever I get the chance so that I can take pictures in the photo booth with my friends. My walls are lined with countless shots of two, three, and even five of us crammed in to the little booth as the automatic voice says, “Smile for the camera!” The best part about the arcade is the youth that it revives. Surrounded by young kids, I’m reminded of my earlier, carefree years. The joyful smiles on their faces inspire me to appreciate the simple things, like winning five tickets from ski ball or even getting a bouncy ball as a prize. The flashing lights, ringing laughter, and continuous smiles fill my childhood memories of the arcade, and I’m sure there are many more memories yet to be made. Regardless of how old we are, the arcade brings out the inner kid in all of us.

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