Welcome to the first post of our “’80s Nightlife” series, which will spotlight depictions of 1980s pop culture and design during the post-sunset hours. Movies and television shows of this era displayed a penchant for big-city skylines with neon lights, nightclubs featuring the best in new wave music and excess-ive evening wear, and plenty of synth and saxophone accompaniments to glam it up.
Our first post takes a look at that magical world of flashing lights and gaming thrills: the arcade. In the early ’80s, also known as the “golden age” of arcades, eager players spent hours hovering over acrylic-top machines, trying to beat the top scores of games like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Pac-Man.
We couldn’t include this post without a clip from the 1982 classic Tron (see above) in which we get a glimpse into the sound-rich, neon sign-clad world of Flynn’s Arcade, owned and operated by the movie’s main character, Kevin Flynn.
’80s style enthusiasts–be on the lookout for running lights (marquis-style); nooks bathed in neon orange hues; wall signs in shades of hot blue, orange and violet; ’80s track lighting and pendant lights hanging from the ceilings; and old-school game graphics and machines.
Yearning for more? You’re in luck! Dave Dries has recreated the magic of the ’80s arcade (shown above). As noted on his website, Cinemarcade:
Arcade ’84 is my attempt at recreating the atmosphere of the classic arcades. It’s a 3-minute+ trip through an imaginary arcade circa 1984 entirely rendered in 3D computer graphics.
Arcade ’84 is amazingly detailed (down to the awesome arcade carpet), and the site includes vivid descriptions of ’80s arcade life. You will need to have Quicktime installed on your computer to view Arcade ’84, but it’s well worth the setup time.
Thank you, Dave, for taking us back to the golden age of the arcade, complete with meticulously crafted sights and sounds.