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It seems like when I've discussed this concept with people, it's something they've never seen or heard of, so I thought I would mention it here and get some feedback.


In the early 90's (like 90-93 or so) there were two different places in my area that I like to call console arcades. They would have tables setup with TV's and a console next to each, and walls of games just like a rental store (and would sometimes allow rental of the games on display). You would pay by the hour, and you could pick any game you wanted to play off the wall, trade the box with the attendant for the game, then take the game, slap it into the console, and play it until you wanted a different game. Both of these places had the NES, the Genesis, Master System, Turbografx 16, and SNES.


I loved this concept because it allowed me to experience so many different games and systems that I knew about from magazines, but couldn't afford and that friends didn't have. Alex Kidd on the SMS; played it on a power base converter at one of these places, and I had never seen or played any SMS stuff before that. The TG-16; something I always wanted when I saw it on the pages of EGM, but would have never had the chance to play had it not been for these console arcades.


So my question is, was this just some sort of unique phenomenon to my neck of the woods? I did live in a fairly rural county in mid-Michigan, so I think that may be why the owners of these places thought the market was there for this concept. Eventually the two of these arcades went out of business, and I've never seen anything like them since. Just curious if anyone else has seen anything like this?

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The only thing closest to what you described that I've seen was at Internet cafes, mostly overseas where I saw them. South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and of all places, United Arab Emerites. Late 90s mostly, but I saw one about 5 years ago in Panama. They also had a giant Dungeons and dragons type game room. They're usually in a mall or western type market place.

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I never seen anything like this in the 90's other than an actual Super Nintendo arcade machine in an arcade that managed to stay alive until the late 90's in my hometown.  The only other time I seen anything similar was at a church I played bass at.  It had a kids section that had XBOX and Playstation systems setup for the kids to play.  These were, of course, set up like arcade machines.


Well...now that I think about it, there was another place I seen something similar.  The Game X Change headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas I would visit frequently.  I loved that place because of the way it was setup and the employees were very friendly.  They had systems setup where you could try out the games before you buy them.  The cabinets were similar to arcade cabinets.  Everything from the NES to the Playstation and Dreamcast consoles would be in these cabinets up and running until the store closed for the day.  If you have never been there, and are traveling through Springdale sometime, stop by and check it out.  It really is a game trading store that needs to be seen to believe.  I no longer live in Arkansas and miss getting to visit the store.  

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