St. Louis County, 1984

My first job:

🏰 Arcade manager at Magic Castle Pizza -- a medieval-themed Chuck E Cheese knockoff

👾 10 pinball machines, 30 arcade cabinets, 3 skee-ball games


🧝 Green polyester serf outfit

🪙 Token dispenser

🗝️ Keys to the cabinets

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Wow! So did they have knight and wizard animatronics? I tried Googling it and couldn't find anything, because the Magic Castle in LA has those keywords on lock.

Oh man, did they call their employees "serfs" as part of the theming? I would hate that, lol.

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They had a LIVE stage show! Dragon, Wizard, Knight. Sadly, it only survived for a year. I think it only ran on the weekends or for big parties.

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Fun! Totally reminded me of being in an empty arcade when I was a teenager. Spooky on many levels.

I love Centipede myself, but pinball has become my big fascination.

This interactive story device is really inspiring me lately.

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I'm getting IF curious for sure. I watched your video about doing interactive fiction and I want to explore doing something here on Substack like you've recommended.

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That’s exciting! If you want help or advice, let me know. And definitely send me what you make.

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Marc! Hello! It’s been ages! So great to see you here.

I was just at a comic book store slash pinball arcade yesterday in LA called Revenge Of. They had a nice selection of modern Stern games. The Stranger Things game is really fun.

Are you working on an interactive project or thinking about one?

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This was an interesting change of pace. I enjoyed the feeling of moving around in an uncertain pace. Hard to do with text, but you guys done did it! Also, I love that Adventure Snack is now big enough to support contributors!

I don't know if I have a favorite retro arcade game, but when I have the chance I always hit up Centipede and Galago. I like PacMan too. And if I really want to get weird, Joust is there for me.

Glad to see that Fix Your Mother’s Printer is going to get made. I think this one is really going to connect with a wider audience. Can't wait to play it, but right now, I'm living it.

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Glad you enjoyed the game! All credit goes to Matthew. He designed a really fun game and I could imagine the space as I navigated it.

Yes, I’m bringing in guest designers. Speaking of which, ever wanted to write a video game, Michael? 🤓

Joust is very underrated. If you want a modern, amazing update to Joust, I highly recommend Killer Queen if you can find it at an arcade.

Looking forward to diving in and getting my hands inky!

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Quotes to live by: "If playing text adventures on your APPLE II has taught you anything, it's that you should always pocket keys."

I never spent much time playing arcade games because I grew up in a country town where there was no such thing. Also even if you went to an arcade in the cities in Australia they cost like 1 or 2 dollars to play.. not a quarter. So it actually always felt like a rich persons pursuit (that's why every arcade was filled with moustachioed men wearing top hats and tails). However, when I was in high school the bowling alley in my town got a DDR machine and I got so good at that.

I've played heaps of MAME emulated stuff over the years though but I still don't think I can answer the question.. Galaga is a good pick though.

I got lost when I was four years old by running into an elevator at a mall. I got out on a floor and started roaming about. The weird thing was there were other people on the elevator, you'd think think they'd be like 'Hey that kid just got away from his parents better look after him!" but, no.

My shop would be a boutique-y place called Walkman's, with classy cut outs with the kinds of geometric abstraction reserved for T-shirts of the era and the Saved By The Bell opening. We'd sell anything related to walking; leg warmers, giant clunky pedometers, jellies, those shoes that used to pump up for some reason... and the titular Walkman.

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On a technical question: are these written in 'Ink'? Would be cool to take one and use that ink + unity plugin they used for 80 Days to turn it into a graphic adventure kind of thing.

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Why were arcade games so expensive? Because they were imported? I’m imagining fancy arcades where everyone is dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos, crowding around Ms. Pac-Man drinking fine wine. I’m glad you got to experience arcade goodness eventually through emulation.

Wow, funny enough, I also got lost at a mall when I was a kid. Back in the day, adults let kids roam free in malls, like it was our natural habitat.

+50 Points! I kinda wanna buy the geometric abstractions, too.

Yes, starting this year, I’m writing all my games in Ink, partly because of its compatibility with Unity. I just need the time to figure it out, but I like the idea that I could create a “proper” game with Ink.

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I haven’t the foggiest idea why they were expensive. Maybe it just never caught on quite as much and there were lots of cost to recoup. I could be wrong but from TV i got the impression that a couple of dollars could go a long way at an arcade.

I was trying Ink not too long ago because I wanted to make a super simple game that I could then make visuals for with unity integration but I found it strangely difficult even though it seemed like such a simple tool. I was thinking while playing this one that it even has variables/conditions to play around with. Maybe I’ll have to give it another shot.

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Yeah, in the early 90s, 20 bucks could basically keep you entertained for an entire afternoon at an arcade in the US at least. Which of course was a LOT of money to a kid like me, and not super common to have, but when I did, oh boy! I'm with Geoffrey, Minigolf. Sunnyvale Golfland Arcade (Which i think is somehow still around?) Minigolf and Arcades. You have to deal with the family for like an hour, then you get to deal with video games for am hour, then you have to go back to your terrible terrible gameless home. (My parents were both tech people, I was lucky enough to have a decent amount of games at home....... for my parents to play. I got in there, though! Lots!)

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Yup. $20 at the arcade made me feel like a goddamn KING. And weirdly, my old mini-golf place is still up-and-running, too. (They changed the name, but everything else is the same.)

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In an American arcade, I’d probably play a game for 5 minutes on a quarter on average, meaning $3 would entertain me for about an hour. I could swing that, because I was good at saving.

We didn’t have a local arcade exactly. Every so often my family would play mini-golf and they had an arcade, which was my chance to play Street Fighter and Centipede.

I think Unity is the hard part. Ink has built-in support for images when you export to web from Inkle. You use the # IMAGE tag with the URL and it’ll display an image with your text.

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Interesting, i might go back to fiddling around with it. I had a pretty good idea for a proof of concept idea but with limited skills to exercise it.

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If you have trouble, hit me up and I’ll do my best to help!

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This was a change of pace, more of a puzzle to solve compared to other adventure snacks. Text adventures like this can be hard on me in terms of figuring out what to do and what exactly has changed. But I was able to escape the arcade, didn't waste time with the prize counter, felt like that option was just asking for the rat to finish the sandwich and punish my greed.

There's a retro fighting game I actually take part in tournaments for via emulation, Avengers in Galactic Storm, and yes Avengers as in Marvel's Avengers. It's based off the Operation Galactic Storm storyline and is an interesting time capsule of Marvel, since you get characters like Black Knight and Thunderstrike playable while Iron Man is only an assist character.

You can call on different assists depending on if your character is an Avenger or Kree, though the community developed and now uses a mod to make all assists universally accessible, and make the boss CPU only character playable (personally I preferred the faction based assist system). I usually roll with Black Knight + Vision's assist attack, have sometimes used Supremor.

Oh and while I haven't gotten a chance to do it myself, it actually has a co-op mode vs AI. You can only use the Avengers, but there's unique team super moves for each possible co-op team. That's still pretty unique for a fighting game I'm sure. If you're interested, try looking into Fightcade. Actually Fightcade is a great hub for emulation of arcade games in general, not just fighting games.

I've gotten lost as a child and it was scary experience, especially on vacation. But I found my way back. For the arcade prize it depends on what's available. If they somehow have a Steam Deck I'd totally get that, they like to dangle video game consoles as impossible prizes like that. Or maybe a cool figure.

Since I wasn't born yet in the 80s not sure if I can capture the vibe or trends that well, so I'll just make a store in general where there's no reason it couldn't have been a thing in the 80s.

Game N' Play, a combination library, video game store, and arcade. There's a special section for video game related books and video games based on books, you could get The Hobbit (as in the video game for the Gamecube) and the Hobbit (as in the book) in one go. Also has that cool Nintendo World Store/ Pokemon Center exclusive merch except in a nationwide chain, yes this part is pure wish fulfillment.

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I'm glad you were able to escape! Yeah, when Matthew pitched it to me I liked the idea partly because it was so different than most Adventure Snack quests, but as someone who gets very frustrated playing parcer games, I thought he did a good job balancing the difficulty. You might be surprised to learn the prizes aren't as trappy as I assumed, too.

I'll check out Fightcade. I know you love fighting games. You're obviously very well-versed in the scene! I'm more of a button masher, honestly, but I loved the bombastic characters and stories in Street Fighter II, and as a 90s X-Men fan from that Iron Man-is-an-assist-character era, I would gladly plunk a quarter into Marvel vs. X-Men.

This does make me wonder if I could design a rudimentary fighting game in Ink. 🤔

Glad you were okay, but sorry you got lost on vacation. That happened to me, too, when I was a kid. Very scary!

Back in the day, I remember an N64 being offered behind the counter for an astronomical amount of tickets. I bet there's a putt-putt arcade with a Steam Deck behind the glass.

+50 Points! This is a store I want to shop at, like, right now. And my wife's in book publishing, so we'd probably go every weekend.

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That putt-putt arcade Steam Deck better have the Putt-Putt games already loaded on it so I can immediately start playing Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo.

I think one effect of the quest's more elaborate nature is that it feels a bit less replayable for me due to all the steps you need to take, so I'm not as quick to see what happens when getting the prizes as I am for the usual quest. Though maybe I could make it a speedrun and submit to some speedrunning website so I can take the undisputed first place.

Fighting games can be fun button mashing and getting into the lore, that was how I played Soul Calibur as a kid. Think too many fighting games have forgotten how to actually appeal to that demographic to be honest, too many of the big developers assume everyone wants to play in tournaments these days. Actually since you mentioned Street Fighter II, any interest in Street Fighter 6? They seem to have fun single player stuff this time around.

A fighting game might be hard to design in Ink I'd imagine, well for two players at least. Actually now you have me wondering about trying to make something fighting game esque in Ink. You've had numerical variables before I think, so in theory all you'd need at minimum is HP variables and a varied enough loop to keep it entertaining while you try to use the right moves to take down the enemy. Maybe add a super meter variable if you want to get really elaborate.

Looking at turn based fighting games like Mega Knockdown or fighting game inspired board games like Versus Tag Shuffle could also be helpful references.

Considering my own serial fiction project is styled like a fighting game, I've got to get in on this to preserve my niche as the Prose Pretending To Be A Fighting Game Guy.

As for the store, yes I'd also love to shop there. And browse it.

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Haha, if you do a speedrun and get an official record, please post it in Table Talk and I'll signal boost it. Let's get the ball rolling on Adventure Snack speedruns!

You read my mind. Yes, Street Fighter 6 is very intriguing to me! I pretty much play single player games with story exclusively. I'm not into tournaments or multiplayer, so fighting games went off my radar.

For a quest, it wouldn't be two player. It'd be a single player game exactly as you described, with an HP meter and a varied loop. I'll take a look at your references and if I end up building it, I'll give you credit.

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