Location: Woodshed, Oregon
Most Popular Machine: Super Hat Trick Racing, a horse racing sim with an actual saddle you sat on and reins you held. Based on one of those motorcycle racing games with the tilting fake motorcycle seat.
Most Popular Food or Drink Item: Cheese fries, wedge-cut
Depressing Personal Anecdote: Charlie Foreman, 39, writes: "Oh man, Zazzie’s. I took my first wife there on our second date back in high school. They got her burger wrong and we had to send it back and for some reason I felt responsible and I kept apologizing over and over."
Crown Pizza & Subs
Location: Brackish Bay, Delaware
Most Popular Machine: Time Crisis Future EX: We Have To Go Back, also known in fan circles as Time Crisis 2.75 (the non-EX version is 2.5). Strangely, the only Time Crisis series entry featuring time travel.
Most Popular Food or Drink Item: Pizza; subs
Depressing Personal Anecdote: Steve Jacks, 42, writes: "Oh wow that’s a trip down memory lane. Yeah me and my Alternity group used to go there at the end of the monthly gaming weekend to wrap up and get some actual non-snack food into us. Jesus, what ever happened to us? I guess Paul joined the army, Sarah moved away, and John and Rowan had that big fight and both accused the rest of us of siding with the other. You said it’s closed now? Man, fuck."
Location: Beagle, Missouri
Most Popular Machine: Quest Of Nautilus, a unique prototype for an arcade port of the NES classic JRPG where you put in more quarters instead of chugging healing potions.
Most Popular Food or Drink Item: Popcorn, because the establishment was primarily a movie theater
Depressing Personal Anecdote: Jackie Willowby, 36, writes: "Awwww the Beagle closed? I had my 16th birthday party there seeing Scream vs. Candyman with my BFF Dawn. I remember she was like gripping my hand really tight during one scene and after the movie was over, while we were eating dinner at the nearby Shadow Drive-In, I asked her what that was even about and I guess literally this couch in the background of the scene was the exact couch her friend from elementary school had before she moved away that she always slept on at sleepovers? So specific but I kind of get it. I should see if I can find Dawn's contact info again, I lost a bunch of saved numbers when my phone got stolen last year."
Royale Bowling & Billiards
Location: Rockport, New Hampshire
Most Popular Machine: CarnEvil 2, the 2003 sequel to Midway's light gun classic from the late 90s
Most Popular Food or Drink Item: Just the regular on-tap beer, not even any of the genuinely creative and original cocktails that someone worked so hard on
Depressing Personal Anecdote: Sheva Knight, 34, writes: "My dumbass parents took me bowling here when I was 11 to break the news of their divorce to me, like it was supposed to soften the blow. We were literally five frames into the most awkward game of all time when my mom finally said what was going on. Up to that point they were just exchanging worried glances and furrowing their brows and shit like that and I fuckin' knew something was up, it was honestly a release of tension when it finally happened. I remember my reaction was something like 'Oh, okay,' and my dad flipped out because it wasnt sad enough or some shit and started another of his tirades and my mom just rolled her eyes and walked out, but she fucking left me there and I had to have this fuming asshole drive me home."
The Gamer Zone
Location: Sabrina, New Jersey
Most Popular Machine: Not applicable, this was one of those places where they had a bunch of Xboxes and TVs and you could play networked Halo (and theoretically other home console games)
Most Popular Food or Drink Item: Dix, the hilariously named mango soda that has so, so much taurine in it
Depressing Personal Anecdote: Jack Steves, 24, writes: "I'm surprised that joint lasted as long as it did. My main memory of the place was when I was like 6 or 7 and my older brother Dennis decided my birthday party there was a great time to tell my parents he had joined the army and was shipping out to Iraq the following week. Really put a damper on things! I just remember trying to focus on playing the copy of Halo 2 I'd just opened with my friend Aaron and failing to tune out my mom's wailing and my dad's yelling. My dad always talked like Dennis' military career was some kind of targeted emotional attack on my mom. Anyway I am no longer in contact with any of those fuckin' people and I live a rich and fulfilling life now. Print that. Print that last part or I'll fuckin' hit you."