As someone who still wears the occasional onion on his belt, I remember arcades quite fondly. They were in steady decline when I was a kid, but they were a good way to kill time at the mall or to spend a Sunday morning. They’ve come back in modified form (e.g., Barcade), and while there’s a social aspect to this new coin-op gaming, it’s just not the same. I mean, I’m getting drunk on craft beer and I’m not always wearing an onion on my belt.
The fondness for old school arcades is at the center of Kurt Vincent’s documentary The Lost Arcade, which focuses on Chinatown Fair, an arcade that’s been around since the 1940s.
Check out the trailer below.
Here’s a official synopsis for The Lost Arcade:
Written and produced by Irene Chin and directed by Kurt Vincent, THE LOST ARCADE, is an intimate story of a once-ubiquitous cultural phenomenon on the edge of extinction, especially in New York City, which once had video arcades by the dozen. These arcades were as much social hubs to meet up and hang out as they were public arenas for gamers to demonstrate their skills. But by 2011, only a handful remained, most of them corporate affairs, leaving the legendary Chinatown Fair on Mott Street as the last hold-out of old-school arcade culture. Opened in the early 1940’s, Chinatown Fair, famous for its dancing and tic tac toe playing chickens, survived turf wars between rival gangs, increases in rent, and the rise of the home gaming system to become an institution and haven for kids from all five boroughs. A documentary portrait of the Chinatown Fair and its denizens, THE LOST ARCADE is a eulogy for and a celebration of the arcade gaming community, tenacity, and Dance Dance Revolutionary spirit.
The Lost Arcade will be out in San Francisco on August 5th and will be released in New York City on August 12th at Metrograph. The Lost Arcade will be available on VOD in September.