today's arcade is Facebook. While i loved the games.. many where in the arcades (at least of my youth) to socialize.. most of the girls seldom played. I was lucky enough to have run an arcade in the late 80's, when they where hot enough that even Small towns had one. We had 7 machines (counting 2 pinballs) a jukebox and sold pizza, snacks and pop.. No adults ever set foot in the place, the owner worked a night shift (gone from 3PM to 3AM most of the time) so was never around. the Kids owned the place. We smoked (I'm not sure if everybody did.. but in my town we had about 75% Highs school rs smoking.. -cigs i mean) and sweared and whatever else.. The place always had about 10+ kids.. say 4-5 boys (we mostly played games and BS'ed, its where i learned without any help to play Pac-man till the screen split) they girls where Girlfriends, or friends of theirs.. most the girls didn't play.. they just hung out with us and played the Jukebox. Goody Two Shoes (adam ant) happy trails (van halen) Everybopdy wants you (billy squire) Back in Black (acDc).. and My pick Raise a little hell by Trooper, whre played almost non stop.. (it was a juke box, some good, alot of bad songs).
it was a great time.. Girls where new (well.. you know what i mean) arcade games, nobody to bug you about what you where doing.. we run the place.. Well when I was running it.. I only didnt allow booze.. I quite about a year after i started (girls where taking to much time :) ) and surprisingly with that said my Girlfriend took over (kinda killed the reason I quit).. but I did the manly thing.. I cheated on her with other girls.. (save the brow beating.. i was 16.. life was far to short to be "perment" at that time.. and nowadays.. you don't know how glad i am i didn't keep that one) I guess I'm trying to say it was a perfect time.. not just the Arcades.. but the whole deal for me.. never be able to relive that.. Of course some things have surpassed it.. (my son) and such.. but it was just great all around. I am sad to say kids wont get that anymore.. and most wont care. being with people isnt it anymore.. facebook, txt, twitter, etc.. I have resisted is so much as I always felt it was a teen girls area.. but its not.. I'm old.. and that stuff all shows it.. And much as I love the Rolling stones.. i don't want to be a dinosaur trying to be hip and cool... when I'm not. I tired.. and felt like a dork telling everybody what i was doing.. does anybody really care if they are over 16? My parents sure didn't care about arcades..
I have to go with the 80's, although I agree this is the best time for gaming right now.
What I miss is the arcade scene. Arcades were going strong in the 80's, and excitement was in the air every time you stepped into one. Now, arcades are long forgotten.
Yes, there are still video game arcades in my area, but going to a video arcade now is like stepping into a sad time warp. The games are basically the same now as they were twenty years ago! I used to enjoy going to the arcades, because that's where you'd go to see the pinnacle of gaming technology. Now, the home front has largely left the arcades in the dust, tech-wise, and you practically have to swipe away the cobwebs to play an arcade machine now. There appears to have been no advancement at all in the American arcade scene, except for the prevalence of prize-based gaming.
On top of that, I don't go to arcades anymore because it feels a bit creepy to be an "old" guy in an arcade. :-)
I agree with Davy. The best time for gaming is now. We have access to EVERYTHING. However, for the definition of a "Golden Age," I'd have to go with the 80s when everything was still relatively new and all that we know today was established (i.e., recognizable).
While we are going through an excellent period right now - to be there when genres were being created by the likes of Atari and Namco in the arcade is an experience that sadly can never be repeated.