Video Game Arcades – The Nostalgic Digital Playground of my Childhood

I had plenty of fun growing up in the 80s and 90s. I grew up during the days of the Sega Mega Drive and Super NES . I even had the original Gameboy, which my family bought at the now defunct SOGO at Raffles City.

My dad, sister and myself spent many happy moments playing Road Rash, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Two Crude Dudes, Altered Beasts and other plethora of 16 bit goodness.

Those were the days when you needed to visit an video game arcade in order to play more visually impressive games.

The first arcade I visited was in Genting Highlands, where I got my first taste of the legendary Street Fighter II. I remember choosing Blanka only to get whopped by a Ken user. When I was in secondary school, I spent a lot of my free time at arcades. I loved playing fighting games like Tekken and Street Fighter and shooting games like House of the Dead and Gun Barl (Point Blank).

Those were the days when arcades were doing roaring business.

When I grew older, I’d occasionally take a date to an arcade. We’d play more shooting games, Dance Dance Revolution (oh, the horror) or ticket-based games, where we’d bring home a stuff toy if we were skilled enough. When I went out on dates, I loved going to the arcade at Clarke Quay that was directly opposite Liang Court.

I’ve always found Clarke Quay a very romantic place. In addition to the arcade, there were plenty of toy stores. Sadly, Clarke Quay’s ‘rejuvenation’ has stripped it of much of its old-world charm. I find it to be a commercialize place for bar-hopping now. The arcade at Clarke Quay is not closed.

The once bustling video game arcade has also become a quiet ghost town for aficionados.

I took this series of photographs when I was in the Bugis area attending some courses. I was saddened to see how empty the arcades were. Sometimes I wonder if we need to redeveloping Singapore at the rate we do. I once read  a comment from an outsider that said that because Singapore keeps tearing things and rebuilding them, there’s no chance of building an identity.

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About Dedrick Koh

Dedrick Koh is a Social Media and Communications Specialist at Nanyang Polytechnic. He has a Bachelors (Murdoch) and Diploma (Ngee Ann Polytechnic) in Mass Communication. Dedrick is a communications professional and a highly skilled classical guitarist. As a communications professional, he has worked on brands like Coca Cola, DHL, Nokia, Nestle, the Health Promotion Board, the Economic Development Board of Singapore and the President Challenge. He gave private classical guitar during his polytechnic and undergraduate studies to put himself through school. He has succesfully prepared students for ABRSM and Trinity exams and was previously an instructor cum assistant conductor at Ngee Ann Polytechnic Strings under Alex Abisheganaden .