I can tell you the exact moment I was an odd kid. When I turned 5 years old in 1985, most Saturdays consisted of the family going to the mall. While there, I always hoped to visit the arcade. No matter what the reason was, that 10 minute drive was every bit of happiness, waiting to arrive when I was handed a $1.00 bill. That dollar held the key to me not only getting better at video games but it provided the fun my NES and Sega Master System didn’t provide.
When I was handed that special dollar, I disappeared into the wilderness but was always easy to find when my mom looked for me. She wouldn’t enter the arcade but she knew when it was time to go, I would walk out happy that I got to play some of the oddest games I knew wouldn’t come to my consoles of the time. If it did, it would be the same quality that I enjoyed.
Odd Arcade and still to this day, odd video games, made me love and respect the weirdness and offbeat franchises that no big company was doing. For every Final Fight Capcom beat em up, there was a Data East, SNK, or Taito equivalent but weird enough that the one token play was always the best value and time you would get. I didn’t want to play the brokenness of Double Dragon or replay The Simpsons again because it was a Konami licensed game. I wanted to play this weird Japanese game would get passed. The back room in my Aladdin’s Castle was the treasure I seek because that area had only Japanese weirdness that wouldn’t be allowed in the home. Since there wasn’t a rating system for arcades to later on in the 90s, anything was up for play.
I still love odd games. In this modern era, a lot of indie games have become my arcade of old and enjoy the creative goofiness that is provided. Why is something like Castle Crashers hold more interest than something like Halo 5, because beating a catfish than some boring enemy fight brings me laughter and pleasure. Knowing that this is the wackiest things and beautifully bizarre moment in that game lets me have hope that the odd things I love will forever will be around.
Now, just give me Cuphead.