Arcade offers a high tech way to de-stress


The Wood Center arcade is located on the main floor, next to the bowling alley. A variety of games are offered for play.

By Heather Penn

Sun Star Reporter

Once upon a time, an arcade would’ve brung students in by the masses. The whirling lights and shrilling bells available at all hours would’ve been a popular sight.

Need to de-stress? Try your luck at pinball. Use those flippers to keep that ball in play and earn bragging rights with the highest score on the backboard, or avoid the ghosties by following the dotted path to claim the fruit.

The bowling alley was built in 1973, and still uses most of it’s original mechanisms. The arcade soon followed, and has been an ever game changing forum as technology further advances. It started with classics like Pac Man and Pinball, and eventually evolved into more modern games such as Dance Dance Revolution and shooting games like Silent Scope and Trophy Hunter.

Back in its day, Dance Dance Revolution got more plays than any other game.

“It has its ebbs and tide,” said Jeri Maxwell, Operations Director of the Wood Center, “Pinball is still really popular, as are the shooting games. We want students to come out of their room and spend a few quarters.”

There aren’t many places left in town that house arcades. Regal Cinema has a few games in their main lobby, but “Really, they are only played on weekends or when the little kids come for matinee,” said Jake Mcconnell, former employee.

Another arcade is located within ZipZaps, in North Pole. Zip Zaps is only open weekends however, and soon as the cold weather sets in, will be available by party reservation only.

The UAF arcade is also home to air hockey, ping -pong, pool and foosball tables. At times, the area seems all but deserted, but some days, “It’s nice to come in with friends and play a round of pool or the shooting games, I like that, it relaxes me,” said Criminal Justice major Mike Ivie .

“It costs nothing to have the arcades here,” said Maxwell, “They are owned and maintained by Vend Alaska with the school earning 50% of the profits from every machine. Summers tend to bring camps and field trips to the bowling alley and arcade, but with the construction the traffic has lessened significantly. I think having the arcade is a great idea, it’s for the students enjoyment,” said Maxwell. How long has it been since you have “dropped a quarter”?

Take a trip down nostalgia lane, put aside your Candy Crush or Farmville app, and try your hand at the original gaming experience.

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