Finding an arcade machine outside of an arcade proper was a rare occurrence in the 90′s. It made sense to see a Turtles machine in the pizza parlor, sure, but a bar? Or a grocery store? Nothing but a video game miracle. Or “powerful” marketing.
A Tumblr, curated by the folks at Rosetintedgamers.com, called Crazy Arcade Flyers collects ads for arcade machines in the 90′s and the results are exactly what you would expect.
According to these ads, all it took to convince a shop owner to install a cabinet was a nice lady, a horizontal monitor, a continuation feature, and two player feature. The scary part about all of this besides, well, everything, is focus on anything but video games. If you look hard enough you might be able to find the game that’s featured. Screenshots of these games in the ads are more rare than a Mew in the wild.
My favorite ads come dangerously close to infringing on other’s intellectual property. Particularly this Gold Wings ad which has absolutely nothing to do with Top Gun at all. Nope, nothing to see here. Guys dressed up like Tom Cruise on the regular back then.
Arcades may be a thing of the past, but at the height of their popularity many business owners could have been making decisions on what games to host based on barely any information. “Am I attracted to this lady? Does war appeal to me? Yes, I’ll take four of these M.I.A. machines.”
At least now I know why I’ve never seen a Vanguard cabinet anywhere in the wild.