With Malibu Grand Prix/Grand Prix Tampa closing, it got me feeling a little nostalgic and thinking about how much time and money I spent at arcades. The sights and sounds of an arcade back in the day was electric. The excitement of who you were going to run into, what new games had arrived, and was today finally the day you were going to beat that game that you’ve put so many quarters into.

The arcade was something I looked forward to every time I stepped foot inside of a mall and has stuck with me to this day. My home turf was Aladdin’s Castle at Tyrone Square Mall. I would grab a slice from Sbarro pizza and head in with a pocket full of quarters. Once I eyed the game I wanted to play, I would slap a quarter on the machine to signify, “I got next!” I remember doing the arcade tour with friends to go play games that Tyrone didn’t have. Pinellas Square Mall which turned into Parkside Mall had “Fun-N-Games,” Seminole Mall had “Cloud 9,” and Countryside Mall had “Tokens.” I don’t remember the name of the arcade at Clearwater Mall, but I went there, too. We also spent a lot of time at the original Treasure Island Fun Center and St. Pete Beach Amusement Center.

With malls slowly disappearing, arcades are finding other ways to survive. We now have Dave & Buster’s in Tampa and GameTime in Ybor City. There’s a lot of what I like to call “bar arcades” around, where you can have a drink and play some of school arcade games and at some places, even play console games, too. Arcades were such a great part of my childhood and why I still play video games as an adult.

Here’s 10 of my favorite arcade games:

  • NBA Jams

    Probably my favorite arcade game of all time! I spent so much money playing this game, I could’ve have a vacation home.

  • Mortal Kombat

    Although I could never figure out how to do the fatalities, I loved this game!

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    When this game can out, it blew our minds. Not only could you play as your favorite TMNT. But if you had three other friends with you, you could play all at once!

  • X-Men

    Just like TMNT you could play with three of your friends. You could play as Wolverine, Colossus, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler or Dazzler.

  • Cruis’n USA

    Cruis’n USA and other racing games allowed you to get behind the wheel as a kid with no drivers license, pick your car and ride.

  • The Simpsons

    The four player at the same time became a trend that people loved. But when you throw the Simpsons into it, it’s next level. Bye quarters… Doh!!

  • Out Run

    Out Run might have been one of the coolest, but also hardest racing games from back in the day. I played it a lot and never remember beating it. Maybe I was just a bad driver!

  • Bubble Bobble

    In between speed skating, I remember playing this game a lot at Southland Roller Rink and then on NES

  • Off Road

    This game was fun!! Spinning the steering wheel as fast as you could and mashing that nitrous button!

  • Toobin

    This is one of those games that forever stuck with me. I only played it a hand full of times and only saw it at one location, Malibu Grand Prix. It was a simple concept, but pretty challenging because you only had buttons to control the tube. It sure was fun though!

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