During the 1980’s and 90’s, arcades were a popular destination for gamers to experience the most technologically advanced video games on the market. The arcade scene was also a great place for people to socialize, and it wasn’t uncommon to see groups of people gathered around an arcade cabinet cheering on gamers as they set a new high score.
Fast forward to the present day – most arcades have vanished completely. The decline of arcades started in the late 90s to early 2000’s during the PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast era. Advances in video game technology allowed arcade manufacturers to bring their games into people’s homes.
Since arcade manufacturers could make more money on the home console versions, many of them stopped putting out new arcade machines. Despite the rise of video game consoles, one popular arcade destination that remains in Milwaukee is Landmark Lanes. The arcade has been a part of Landmark for over 30 years and continues to do well today. Below is a brief history of the success and failures of Landmark’s arcades.
Some of the very ﬁrst arcade games at Landmark were Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, and Ms. Pac-Man. Ms. PacMan is notable for being one of the ﬁrst video games that women played. Other popular games were Cruis’n USA, “which did phenomenal,” according to Mitchell Novelty Company service technician Randy Romans. Landmark’s also had one of the ﬁrst Dance Dance Revolution machines in Milwaukee, and it was so popular that a box fan was put in to keep players from sweating too much.
Another successful arcade game was Mortal Kombat, which, despite being incredibly bloody, could be censored so kids could play it. Pinball used to be extremely popular during the golden era of arcades. Milwaukee even held a tournament sponsored by the International Pinball Flippers Association (IFPA) to showcase new pinball machines and give out prizes. “People from all over the world came to [the pinball tournament],” Romans said.
Some of the most popular pinball games were High Speed and The Adams Family.All of the arcade games at Landmark receive weekly maintenance to ensure that the machines are clean, and everything is working properly. “It looks terrible when you have out-of-order signs on games,” said Romans. “You can tell a bad company by that.”
”Even though arcades are a former shell of what they used to be, the games won’t be leaving Landmark in the foreseeable future. “Landmark is unique because it has bowling…it’s got pool, darts, air hockey – and an arcade is one of the pieces that make it successful,” Romans said.
Check out the original article from the UWM Post here. http://issuu.com/theuwmpost/docs/final_issue