Relics of the Past - A Brief Guide to the Coin Op Arcade

The word "arcade" can mean many things from someone who has experienced its rapid rise to popularity to its steady decline in the following decades. Arcade games bring a sense of nostalgia.

Decades ago, when the arcade was termed to play games inside a store with large boxes, it was a social experience. Arcade conjures a lot of nostalgia from how you discovered your new favorite game to introduce yourself to many new friends you have made along the way.


The arcade's space used to be full of screams of joy, gasps of defeat, or heartfelt laughter. It was when kids, teenagers, young adults, and even older people came together to enjoy and have a good time. Learn more about Coin Op Arcade below.

Relics of the Past - A Brief Guide to the Coin Op Arcade
Image Source: Pocket Gamer

History of Arcade

The Early Years

Long before the arcade hallways were filled with large cabinets and screaming children, arcade games can be traced back to fond memories of watching moving images similar to the movies in the early 1920s.

Children would eagerly wait in line and curious adults just to take a peek at the sights and sounds of the images. People would pay money for the experience, and that alone was the precursor of how the act of playing arcade games came to be.


Turn Of The Century

At the turn of the century, these amusement centers turned into penny arcades. This revolutionized the way we seek entertainment. As more and more people invested money into watching these moving images, it became even more popular.

The popularity skyrocketed, and sophisticated men and women were willing to pay large sums of money for the private experience.

Soon enough, many patrons were lining up for the chance to use these coin-operated types of machinery that provide them entertainment, even for a short amount of time.


Owners became innovative and started creating machines that would dispense candies and other mechanical devices that anyone can play for as little as a penny.

Electronic Arcade Video Games

The introduction of electronic arcade video games in the 1970s ushered a new age for coin op arcade games. Games like Pinball and Pong started to dominate the entertainment and gaming landscape.

By the early 1980s, arcade games were integrated into society that it has become a staple in American life as we know it.

Relics of the Past - A Brief Guide to the Coin Op Arcade
Image Source: Game Spot

The Impact of Arcade Games

Providing The Option To Socialize

As soon as arcade games became very popular during the 80s and changed how we played games, it also brought a community together.

Kids, teens, and young adults flock to arcade centers all over the US and many other countries to play games by inserting pennies or coins to activate the game.

Others would have to wait in line to play the game, and there are even times when you can't play the game if the player does not want to leave.

While people were waiting in line, they were also sharing their thoughts and experiences with the games they were eager to play. Many would bond over talking about strategies or theorize over the story and the characters in the game.

The Start Of Tournaments

It was only a matter of time before new relationships, and friendly rivalries were built. The time you spend over arcades was very communal. Groups and cliques were formed, which led to many rivalries pushing the way we play arcade games.

Soon enough, tournaments and other events begin to pop up over the halls of an arcade store. It wasn't until the introduction of gaming consoles that led to the decline of arcade games' popularity.

However, arcade machines were still popular then and are still popular now. It's just that people now have a lot of options to play their games.


Today, vintage games are usually played over entertainment establishments such as Chuck E'Cheese, where families can introduce their kids to the experience that is playing arcade games.

Many gamers of that era will always treasure the time spent inside the arcade stores. There is nothing else quite like the experience of playing arcade games.