First and foremost, I would like to welcome back The League, last known as the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, it has now evolved in the Pop Culture League and is the brilliant brainchild of Brian over at Cool & Collected, a great site that you should really check out covering tons of retro goodness for your eyes and memories to gush over.
Each week The League brings up a new question to get us thinking to the backs of our brains of new wondrous ideas to type a few words about and this week it’s “What’s your earliest arcade or video game memory?”
Well friends, that opens up a flood of images in my mind, but I’m going to touch on just one place, a place so important in my gaming history that it deserves to be mentioned, sure I had the Intellivision and NES at home, and played many a game before this place opened it’s doors, but the reason I can call myself a gamer is because of this place.
Back in the day arcades were the place to go for socialization and competition, the place where you could swear like a sailor at your friends, and no one complained due to the drowning tone of beeps and boops. The sound of the quarter dropping into the bucket still brings me back to the days where allowances were spent watching sprites leap across the screen. My greatest memory of this was a magical place we had back in my hometown of Bismarck, ND, where no quarter’s were needed once you paid the front door admission, where there was no worry about if you’d get to play as everyone worked together to get you in on the fun, where you could spend a day and watch it skip by like a blur, and this place was called Snooper’s Bump and Tilt.
Snoopers was a place that every kid begged their parents to have their birthday party at, the pinnacle of awesomeness like no other, it was nirvana mixed with nachos and a side of fun.
Snoopers was an arcade like no other I have seen since, it originally opened it’s doors in 1990, and was filled to the brim with a maze of arcade games as well as a full bumper car section, that was all available to you for a simple five dollar bill admission. Sure they had their premium games that you paid for but that was because you would get tickets to trade in for measly prizes, but there really wasn’t a need for that area (which typically housed the newest games) as the place was filled with classics from Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to light gun shooter games, Tron, Turtles in Time, Super Off Road, and way to many more that are escaping me at the moment as it was an ever revolving door of what games were in and out as they constantly were bringing in new cabinets to the room.
Entire days were spent here, both in my childhood and teenage years, as it was next door to my high school, and it was easy enough to get done with class and head over for a while before having to head home or to work afterwards. I can still see the concession stand at the front door and it’s nutritious delectable treats heated by a warmer lamp for when I needed to refuel.
The place was designed like an infinity loop, with a line of games surrounding the outside walls, but inside there was two circles of games as well that you could just walk around in until that next game called your name to press start on.
It was dimly lit, as most arcades were, the only light needed was that of the arcade games bouncing off of one another to let you see your way around.
Now when the Super Nintendo launched, Snoopers went all out and created a whole new room, with a bright red paint on the walls, that featured two systems, two TVs, and two couches that was dubbed the Super Nintendo room, where many a battle was fought over next game and who gets winner as there was no quarter to lay down, just the fight for the controller when someone let it slip from their sweaty grip.
As new systems came out, they would continue to add to the room, but no matter what technological advancement was placed on those stands, it was and always will be remembered as the Super Nintendo room.
Now I’ve talked a bit about the greatness that was the arcade, but this place wasn’t called Snooper’s Bump and Tilt for nothing, as I mentioned it also featured a Bumper Car section, that had about 10 cars in it, however usually only about five of them actually worked, but this was yet another place that we could compete with our friends, smashing and bashing our cars together until the timer turned us off, and it was then the mad sprint to get back in the line so you could get on again before those that you just beat into oblivion.
But alas, those days are now over.
Unfortunately in the age of home video games and evolution to gaming it’s brought on, Snooper’s is no longer in operation, the last time I remember going was on a vacation home from college a few friends and I went up there for a party night, but now I just see that empty building sitting there, screaming for the fun we once had. No longer will the arcade sounds ring out into the street, as people stumble away as their eyes adjust to the light of the outside world, but each time I step into a new arcade be it those horrible Game works or Dave and Busters, I remember Snooper’s Bump and Tilt, and what a great arcade can be.
Now if you enjoyed hearing about my gaming memory, why not check out a few of these other guys and gals from The League.
The Last Hometown has Space Invaders on the mind
Mr Smith’s Plastic Bubble is going to Space War
Retro Ramblings rambles about arcades and NES
Green Plastic Squirt Gun gets all mechanical on us
The Nerd Nook takes us out for pizza and video games
The Toy Box brings Aladdin’s Castle and NES to the party
20 Years Before 2000 brings back the Simpson’s Arcade Game to us
Ian Wells drops a little Sonic 2 for your memory glands
Marc Allie reminds us of the Sears Telegames Video Arcade
ReDiscover the 80s takes us out to dinner
Collector’s Universe is seeing Space Invaders
Cool & Collected takes us to South Korea Arcades
G.I. Jigsaw takes us to Shakey’s Pizza