I just came back from a vacation to the beach, and it was everything I could’ve asked for. Sand, waves, and sunshine were abundant, but there was something else there that I’ve been missing for ages: A good, old fashioned arcade.

The feeling of opening the door and being bombarded with a wall of beeps and boops was magical and reminded me of the old arcade nearby my home that I went to when I was younger. (It was not magical, however, for my toddler who had just woken up from a nap in a stroller.) Walking through the arcade, I went past several classic games, as well as ones that were brand new to me. It was both nice and strange to play something that required using a joystick attached to an upright gaming cabinet. It was much like digging up an old floppy disk and putting it in the appropriate reader.

Even when I was a kid, going to an arcade was like walking into a living anachronism. It’s akin to suddenly entering an unironic, non-kitschy fifties-themed diner. Arcades have long been dying out due to competition from home consoles, so whenever I see one that’s still-functional, I jump on the opportunity to go. There’s something nice about it being so communal, having a crowd around you as you play. It gives you an audience, which can be a little daunting at first, but can really pump you up when you get into it. Having that face-to-face connection also reinforces good behavior, too. Bullying and trolling (for me, that is) were always non-existent at the arcade. The closest we have to this is are LAN games, and they are exceedingly rare nowadays.

I guess I could always go to a Dave and Buster’s to get my arcade fix, but I really don’t want go through the hassle of eating and/or drinking there, as both options are garbage. I just want to play some dang games! Get off my lawn!