old times

I posted this up on zee’s blog, so without anything else of interest to put here I’ll copy here.

Back when I was a teen (back when, I’m sounding old) me and my friends (Marty and Scott) would go to the mall to hang out. There’s not a lot to do in Louisburg now, much less 10+ years ago.  We’d go to Crabtree, the most popular and biggest mall in the area then.  We’d walk around, browse the shops, eat in the pavilion, and hit up the arcade.  I remember spending hours and hours in the arcades there.  Me and my friends never looked for trouble anywhere, but if there was one excuse for going to the mall, it kept us out of it.

When Triangle Town Center opened up I was speaking with some of the people who worked there.  I told them I’d come to their mall more often if they had an arcade.  I was told specifically the mall management would not open an arcade because they didn’t want to attract the kids.
I believe the arcade is now gone from Crabtree very recently.  Leaving the only good arcade I know about to be the one at Adventure Landing on capitol.  It’s full of kids games though, some grown up games.  Gillians in downtown has a huge arcade, but they’re all lame shooting games.
When I get rich, I’m definitely opening up a arcade somewhere.

— i’m adding to my post on her blog now, had some more ideas

When I get rich, I’m definitely opening up a arcade somewhere.  In a huge building, throw in nice PA system, hook up a dj booth and techno the place out.  I’d have a side stage with defunct chuck e cheese animatronic band up there, all retrofited to date.

And I specifically wanted to mention that because

So on youtube there’s these guys that have copies of old chuck e cheese and showbizz pizza videos and shows from when they were big.  They’re posting the old videos they played in the restaurants, and they’ve even got recordings of the animatronics doing their thing.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, chuck e cheese was a family restaurant back a lonnnng time ago, like 80’s or early 90’s at the latest.  They had a decent kids and teenagers arcade, sold pizza, and had a big room where you could see a cheese animatronic band play the latest tunes and kid songs.  Most of these are now gone, you can read up on a pretty dramitic history of it at wikipedia

My mom used to take me there in Raleigh.  It was on falls of the neuse road, right where it turns into wake forest road i believe.  There’s a bojangles there now, and I think a CVS or something.  But in the shopping center right behind there was where chuck e cheeses’s stood.  I don’t know whats in that spot now, but I think the shopping center is still there.  Anyway, I remember they had the person dressed as a big mouse and he’d come out and greet the kids and things.  When you’re like 5 this was awesome.  So, I remember mom’s driving me home one day and I spot on that road, in a white convertable, chuck e cheese himself cruising down falls of the neuse.  His big ass head sticking out the top of the car, I dont know how the guy kept it up.  But he was waving at all the cars and my mom honked and he waved!! aww the rat waved at me!  Of course, then I probabaly thought he was real, so I was pretty excited.

Well anyway, i’m rambling

Anyway, the animatronic show was pretty neat, it had several characters on 3 different stages.  They would ‘play’ the song by moving and wobbling around.  I was so fascinated by the whole thing.  Even now.  To look back that long ago and remember that stupid show, technicaly it was pretty impressive.  Others thought so too.  People have been buying up the old units and setting them up in their houses and garages, retrofitting them and getting them all working again as a hobby.  This guy has this whole setup in his house, it gives you a good idea of the main stage.  Keep in mind these things are huge.  It still plays the old songs:

Well, some guys have been trying to reverse engineer the animatronics and making their own shows.  They finally manged to create a custom interface for a USB port and some software that interfaces directly with the original system.  Here’s one of the first full shows they put together, which is pretty awesomely done:

The other night I found this hilarous one, It’s just so funny thinking this playing to a bunch of kids!  hope you enjoy:

2 Responses to “old times”

  1. Dawn says:

    That’s awesome..and a little unnerving. 🙂 But I do agree that the idea of an arcade that caters to an older crowd, with music like this played by animatronics is a great idea. I know of plenty of people who would spend their money there.

    BTW, I made my way over via myspace. We apparently went to school together, but despite my staring at your photo..knowing your face…I can’t remember your name. 12 years has changed us all so much…it’s getting hard to place faces with names these days.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your blog..and will be bookmarking it for future reading.

  2. Dawn says:

    Ok, so, through further reading of your post and whatnot..I figured out who you are…and I was right in thinking you where who I thought you were..but didn’t want to suggest that was who you were for fear of being wrong. That statement did make sense to you, right?

    So, now that that is settled…Nice to see you! 🙂

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