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Scott Stilphen

Electronic Experience arcades

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There's a thread on KLOV about these, and someone just posted about their experiences working at one.  Btw, does anybody have photos of one?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cidco View Post
The Electronic Experiance arcades were owned by United Artists theaters and usually appeared in malls that had a UA theater. In addition to Golden Triangle in Denton, there were also Electronic Experience arcades in Northeast Mall in Hurst and Crossroads Mall in Greenville. One of the cool features of the arcade were monitors hooked up to the newest games embedded in the wall facing out into the mall proper. This allowed you to see if they had any new games without even going inside the arcade. 

Their sign was neon with an infinity mirror, but also had white lights around it that further enhanced the infinity mirror effect. Similar to the back glass of the Space Invaders pinball machine. The entryway also featured shiny red tile all the way around. I haven't had any luck finding pictures online of an Electromic Experience arcade. I've found one picture of Golden Triangle Mall taken in 1981, but it's just of the center court. I can find pictures of every other major arcade chain online, so it really drives me crazy I can't find anything from Electronic Expierence. 

I grew up in Decatur 30 minutes away from Denton, so I spent a lot of time at Golden Triangle and the Electronic Experience arcade. I actually have an Elevator Action and an Atari 720 machine that were purchased from the arcade. After the video game crash UA got out of the arcade business. So the Electronic Experience arcade closed in the mall and a Tilt opened up at another entrance across from El Chico. It wasn't as big and never had the same attraction to me as Electronic Experience did.

Posted by SpaceTime

Hello, 

Thank you for posting this! Your description is fairly accurate. Electronic Experience was operated by United Artist Theater Amusements and we would occasionally trade games with the theater behind the Golden Triangle Mall in Denton, Texas.. We were also allotted free movie passes. 

Here is my story of what it was like working at the peak of the video arcade boom.

I worked at Electronic Experience (“The” is not in the name) for a few years and am seeking photos also. I keep hounding my old manager for them who I am still in contact with. I know he has some. We had an annual Christmas party after hours that featured a keg. Those are the photos I am looking for.

The red neon sign was infinity as you say but the white marquee bulb lights were mounted under it on a mirrored ceiling (but not infinity) lighting the entrance foyer. The red tiled wall did have multiple monitors horizontally and vertically randomly arranged. Our technician, Bob Bender (RIP) performed a small miracle getting those analog signals to the remote monitors. It took four or five shielded RF cables per game to feed the remote exposed monitors in the “radiation closet” as I called it. High voltage monitors sitting on open shelves in a narrow passageway. Eventually, only one or two monitors displayed new games. The others stayed the same.

The arcade had four full range speakers from Radio Shack and a stereo receiver and a separate cassette deck. You probably were listening to my mix tapes on Friday or Saturday nights. The rest of the time we tuned to different radio stations.

We were allowed to play free games off the clock using red quarters. These were regular quarters painted with red nail polish so we could deduct them from the count. They were also used to credit a machine for a customer that lost a quarter.

Our biggest money maker was Dragons Lair at .50 for three lives. That machine was minting quarters at about $3000+ per week if I remember correctly.

Only one floor walker worked a shift and we had to dust the tops of the machines nightly. Glass was cleaned throughout the day. The insides of the games were dusted and vacuumed on a regular basis. Scuff marks on the cabinets were buffed out with black shoe polish. We also dusted the monitor under the glass which would accumulate dust quickly. Occasional visits from the home office resulted in a military type inspection for cleanliness. That arcade was spotless! 

We un-crated new games on a regular basis and tested them in the back room before they went to the floor. The prying eyes were dying to know what was back there. It was a small back shop and when I was in the small office I would leave the door open so people asking for change other than what the Rowe bill changer provided could preview the games. We installed a shaded pole squirrel cage blower in the back door of the cabinet of all new games to exhaust hot air. Needless to say, our A/C ran continuously but it maintained about 72 degrees unlike some arcades. Nobody anticipated the heat being generated by these machines. Once I found out that the air filters in our units on the roof of the mall were caked with dust, I changed them regularly and that improved the A/C even more. What a stupid place to put them!

Leaving the shop while on the clock was prohibited so for food the floor walkers had to get some kid to pick up a phone-in order to a food place in the mall. The compensation was free games as long as they were at the arcade that day. We would put the red quarters in the machine for them for credits. Ten to twenty free games was a pretty good deal for running an errand. I would give them cash to pay for the food.
Some kids said no, afraid that they would get in trouble for leaving the arcade (beginning of the helicopter parent). We got to know the regulars as this was their big Friday or Saturday night. After a while, the regulars were checking in to see if I needed any food. If not, I would have them pick up a soda. We didn't have a refrigerator.

I worked at several arcades during the boom and Electronic Experience was by far my favorite. I made so many friends working at the mall. Eventually I was promoted to assistant manager and was responsible for the banking and the count. We had a special arrangement with the bank to purchase loose quarters in bags of $500 each. Busting rolls of quarters was pain. We quickly became a known as a source of $1 bills and quarters throughout the mall. We didn't mind changing the stacks of $1 bills to the local merchants because we literally had piles of them. Some of the merchants had privileges set up by my boss and always got all the free games they wanted and my boss got free meals everywhere.

Great memories!

 

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