Game Over: consoles killed the video arcade star
I can remember going to arcades as a kid and loving it. Double Dragon was the game du jour, and my best friend and I spent our entire allowances finishing it. Ah, good times. LAN parties just aren't the same.
Today, the odd customer saunters in to take an uninspired crack at one of the old-time games before drifting back into the mad rush of Yonge Street a few minutes later. Frulano stares out at the virtually empty arcade. Rows of vacant machines, many flashing a prophetic "Game Over", sit like glowing tombstones, marking the demise of a once-thriving industry.
"We used to have six arcades between here and Bloor," he recalls with a tone of sentimentality usually reserved for long lost loves. "The heyday was probably in the 60s and 70s. I was a kid and I used to come here."
Frulano has worked at Funland for 33 years and managed the business for more than 20, but most of the 'fun' has been removed from the equation, thanks in large part to the wild popularity of home gaming consoles and personal computers.
"Things have just been going down and down. Between the home systems, non-smoking in bars, and the casinos, that's been the three biggest factors," Sheppard tells CityNews.ca.
"If you think about it, you can play computer games with anybody in the world, anybody that's got a personal computer," Frulano stresses. "You can play the same game with somebody across the world.
"How can you compete with that?"
"We're like Sam the Record Man across the street," he concludes, citing the landmark record store that fell victim to the online downloading craze.
"We're a dying breed."