Friends, running a little late for today’s article but in all honesty I was up rather late at the arcade seeing in 2020 in the usual style. If you’ve ever read my reports about New Year’s Eve at Arkadia back on the Retroist you know that for 8 years now we have upheld a tradition. As the arcade is Family Friendly, we have no alcohol or the like at the celebration, instead I have secured vintage ’80s Great Bluedini for the Players and the Arkadians to enjoy. With each New Year’s Eve event it has become harder and harder to obtain enough of those vintage Kool-Aid packets – obviously I could use some of the reissued Great Bluedini but the point is to be enjoying something that was available when the games at the arcade were brand new. So while searching on eBay I had a bit of luck and even more luck when the seller happened to be a fan of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast. So it is thanks to Walter R. that I was able to get enough Bluedini at an affordable price for last night and get to act as a Kool-Aid attendant for the thirsty crowd of classic arcade game enthusiasts!
There is another tradition we uphold at the arcade on New Year’s Eve – after we have reached midnight and the toasts and wishes for a better year have been made – I always head over to the Nintendo Playchoice-10 to play Super Mario Bros. Actually I do not play it as much as pull off the ‘Minus World’ trick on stage 1-2, a tradition started at the first New Year’s Eve celebration at the arcade. How it all came about was I talking to some of the Players at the event and they had never heard of ‘Minus World’ or the ‘Negative World’ trick on that classic game – so a couple of minutes later they were introduced to that endless water stage.
Besides the Great Bluedini and that ‘Minus World’ trick there is yet another yearly tradition that we uphold at Arkadia. This one however is for the Arkadians after we have shut down the arcade, restocked, cleaned and made sure everything is ready for business the next day. We head up to the office and boot up the Commodore 64 computer and pick a game to enjoy – for the first New Year’s Eve that was 1986’s The Bard’s Tale II: The Destiny Knight. For this year we decided to tackle 1983’s Planetfall – one of those iconic interactive fiction titles published by Infocom back in the day. We did not remotely get to the end of the game – we closed the arcade down at 2 AM and didn’t begin playing until after 3 – but we had fun nonetheless.
Not too shabby of a way to celebrate the end of 2019 and greet the New Year in my personal opinion. When we were able to take a breather it felt good to just look around and enjoy the fact that so many Players were still being entertained by all of those classic arcade titles – just like in our youth.