Where are the coins? How are they disappearing?

This is a story from my childhood, a rather funny story that I want to share with you:

street-fighter-arcadeBack when I was around 8 to 9 years old, I found a small amusement center where they had a few arcade games, and a couple billiard table.

These places were frequented by what my parents would call: “Thugs, impolite, and people with bad influence”. They did not want me to go to this place because as far as they know this place could be dangerous for a young schoolboy.

Of course, I was afraid too of bad influence but the arcade games are irresistible.

To prevent me from going, my parents will not give me money or they would ask me how I am spending my time and money.

In a sense, after school I should be back home and any other activity should be close by and my parents should know where I am at all time.

As a young kid, I had to find an excuse, a legitimate excuse to justify the time when I am able to sneak out, go to that place and play.

The other problem was that I needed money so I can go there and play!

One day, I was going through my dad’s drawer and I found a bag full of quarters. “Jackpot!”, I said to myself.

This bag had so many coins that no way my dad kept a count of them. I figured if I take a few each day, go play for one hour or so, then no one would notice.

What was my excuse regarding where I would be spending my time? I would tell my parents I have to go to the library and study with a friend. The library was just across the street from that arcade place, a perfect excuse. My friend too, wanted to play with me, so we both had good excuses.

Each time I would go with my school buddy, we would cover each other’s lies and backs. We would make sure no one saw us coming in or out from the arcade place. After all, in a small town, everybody knows everybody.

This charade went on for a while: I would steal a few coins, make excuses and go play Street Fighter, Contra and all those old arcade games that still gives me nostalgia when I think about them!

After a while, the bag of quarters eventually ran out. It took a while for my dad to notice, but when he did, he asked me: “Where did all the coins disappear?”

I was afraid but I had to tell the truth. My dad was not happy about it but he knew that if I had my own video game console then I won’t be spending money outside or go to that place at all.

Two weeks later, my dad returns home with a Nintendo NES System!

I stopped going to the Arcade games place and started playing at home. This started a new phase in my life where I become addicted to video games. I became so good at playing that my friends would lend me a game just so that they sit next to me and watch me play it from beginning to end in a matter of hours.

Looking back at this incident, I still cannot understand why my parents were over protective, but I am glad that I got into video games and later into into PC games because of this incident.

By the way, recently, the Internet Archive started collecting old arcade games and hosting them. If you feel like playing any of the old games, make sure you visit the Internet Arcade site!

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