Sean: So, Rhana. Tell me about your time back in ancient days. Back when you hung out in those temples of by-gonery called….video game arcades.
Rhana: Well, I’d take my Ziploc full of quarters and always head to the back of the arcade where they had Centipede. I was little and had small hands, so Centipede was easy for me to play.
Sean: You had a Ziploc full of quarters? Oh My GOD. That’s adorable.
Rhana: There were also pennies and dimes in there and maybe some lint. And it was covered with scratch and sniff stickers
Sean: Like ironic scratch and sniff stickers like garbage cans or little flowers with smiley faces?
Rhana: I’m pretty sure they were fruit and cupcakes - I was really into stickers then. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Sean: I’m not pretending. This is a Girl Thing. Much like playing Centipede. Which was a Girl Game up here in Canada. Only girls played Centipede.
Rhana: Oh, those girls…Well, almighty gamer, what did you play? Burgertime??
Sean: Burger Time was such a terrible game, but it gave birth to all the restaurant games we have today. Pour a forty in respect. And I wasn’t judging Centipede. It was just an observation.
Rhana: Sure, sure. Burgertime took A LOT of my quarters.
Sean: Like a lot of games back then, I don’t think you could last longer than three minutes on a single quarter.
Rhana: There was no way. Did you ever play Zaxxon?
Sean: Zaxxon was played by the guys in Maiden jean jackets who scared me.
Rhana: YES! in Seattle, it was guys wearing AC/DC shirts with British Knights high tops.
And yes, they were scary.
Sean: But did you charm past them with your Ziploc bag and play it?
Rhana: No, the arcade back then, was a total boys club and I got laughed at a lot or the boys just ignored me.
Sean: Up here, a girl in an arcade caused a hush to fall. A path would open up to the Centipede game. And we would all admire the feathered hair and Jordache jeans in respectful silence.
Rhana: I didn’t have feathered hair. I had a bowl cut. That hairstyle doesn’t give you a ton of street cred. You had feathered hair, didn’t you?
Sean: I tried, but couldn’t get it right. I had many bad experiences with blow dryers. I looked like I’d just stumbled out of a wind tunnel.
Rhana: At least you didn’t share the same hairstyle with your mom. THAT was horrible.
Sean: Horrible, but cute. So, let’s imagine L’il Rhana wandering into the arcade. You played Centipede and BurgerTime. What other games did you play?
Rhana: I tried to play Defender, but all those buttons confused me.
Sean: Defender up here was another hardcore stoner game. Same guys who played Zaxxon played that. They smelled of weed and high school sex.
Sean: But they could play that game, which even now, I CANNOT. The planet always blows up, everyone dies, and I just fly around in space, awaiting the inevitable.
Rhana: Ha! I used to jump up and down behind these boys who played Tempest so I could see what was going on. That game hypnotized me.
Sean: Now, Tempest. That I could play.
Rhana: I think I spent my college fund on that game.
Sean: Those Vector graphics were hypnotic.
Rhana: Did you like Joust? I hated those stupid birds.
Sean: The stoners avoided it probably because it gave them flashbacks.
Sean: Joust? I tried to play it, but you had to keep whacking that button and I’d get tired.
Rhana: I was really good at Qbert.
Sean: I had that on Colecovision. Still couldn’t get past the third screen. You know, I kinda suck at video games.
Rhana: Don’t tell people that.
Sean: Blow my street cred. Like a bowl cut.
Sean: THIS IS MY BOWL CUT
Rhana: Hey - I didn’t have a choice with that bowl cut. One day, you’ll wake up and look in the mirror, and you’ll have a bowl cut. There There’s no waking up from that nightmare.
Sean: I thought bowl cuts were outlawed by the UN in the Eighties. The Dorothy Hamill Act, I believe it was called.
Rhana: My parents are lawbreakers.
Sean: Clearly. Raising outlaws.
Rhana: I mean, what type of parents let their 7 year old hang out at arcades?
Sean: YOU WERE SEVEN?
Rhana: They used to go to Las Vegas a lot and they’d leave me and my cousin at Circus Circus while they gambled.
Sean: HA HA HA
Rhana: I used to get scared they’d leave me there and I’d have to become a carny or something.
Sean: ‘L’il Rhana—The Littlest Carny.” Now on Lifetime
Rhana: I’m getting in the car with my scissors now and driving your way. You’re ready for the bowl cut.
Sean: Before you destroy my Herculean mane, what songs do you associate with arcades?
Rhana: Wow. Eye of the Tiger? That song makes me want to crotch punch people.
Sean: That’s a healthy reaction. No court would convict you. For me, it was ’ Heat of The Moment’ by Asia.
Rhana: I hate that song. Again, that song causes a violent reaction in me. And then there was Electric Avenue.
Sean: That song is the sound of an empty soul on a garbage filled street.
Sean: I also remember Saga songs.
Sean: Like ‘On The Loose’.
Rhana: I thought I locked those memories in a box and burned them. Thanks a lot.
Sean: A lot of metal was played in the local arcades, but now and again some smartass would play Huey Lewis and there’d be insurrections.
Rhana: The arcade in the bowling alley I’d go to always had on Air Supply and I’d see my family bowling while singing along. And now I know most of the lyrics to Air Supply songs. THIS is my curse.
Sean: I envision this little seven year old, jangling her Ziploc bag and nodding her bowl cut to Air Supply songs AND I LOVE IT. This is how I will now always think of you
Rhana: I knew the bowl cut was going to haunt me forever.
Sean: Now, do you remember the names of the arcades? These were often the best parts of them.
Rhana: THAT I cannot remember. I can see the neon lights and hear the cheesy music, but can’t recall the names. And you?
Sean: Oh yes. These were the last places I was ever truly happy.
Rhana: I didn’t know I was on the Hallmark channel today. Hand me some tissues.
Sean: I’m just smearing Vaseline on the lens to give it that special soft focus look here.
Rhana: Oh man, stop talking about Vaseline. It may get you in trouble.
Sean: I have no idea what you’re talking about. Or too many ideas. Or here are the names of the local arcades. We had Wizards. Down the street we had the incredibly imaginatively titled Wizards 2.
Rhana: I love that
Sean: There was a block between them.
Rhana: Were they owned by the same people?
Sean: Yep. They EXPANDED.
Sean: Down from them there was a really seedy, tiny place where everyone knew you went to score drugs. It was called Endless Arcade.
Rhana: Sounds like a porn shop.
Sean: It was dark and gross. Lots of leather jackets in there.
Rhana: I did play video games at this play called Fun Forest a few times.
Sean: Now that sounds like a porn shop. From the Seventies.
Rhana: The porn shops were close by, I’m sure.
Sean: Did Fun Forest have a motif?
Rhana: Well, it was an amusement park - like that KISS movie. It was creepy.
Sean: KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM? Awesome film.
Rhana: Was that what it was called? Scared me to death.
Sean: They were all drunk when they filmed it. It freaked me out as well.
Rhana: AND the special effects were bad.
Sean: Andy Murray sounds like Ace Frehley saying ‘Fuck me’ when he serves.
It was the Seventies. Everything was bad. Except Boston albums.
Rhana: He’s British - give him a break. You did not just say Boston.
NOW I’m gonna crotch punch you.
Sean: Look, Rhana, I love Boston. We can work this out. You have the bowl cut. I have Boston.
Rhana: Boston is two echelons lower than a bowl cut.
Sean: Ouch. That one stung.
Rhana: Here’s a pillow to cry yourself to sleep on.
Sean: So, to end: do you still play video games? Have you continued the tradition? And if so, what are you playing RIGHT NOW?
Rhana: On the XBOX360, I cannot stop playing LEGO Batman 2. It’s difficult to play, though, when a 7yo is whispering in your ear how to play the whole level. Smartass.
Sean: The LEGO games are wonderful. And I like how you spell LEGO correctly. You will raise good children on that proof alone.
Rhana: Why thank you. Are you still playing that Samurai game?
Sean: Samurai Warriors 2. It’s absolute bullshit, but it’s addictive. And I’m playing Blue Dragon, and Minecraft. Because I’m an adult. Speaking of which…(looks longingly at XBOX…)
Rhana: You and I will never be adults. NEVER.