Just before Christmas, I went to Mohegan Sun, one of two large casinos in southern Connecticut, with my daughter and grandchildren. Mohegan has a children’s arcade, pictured above, which we all love. The games are loud, bright and challenging, rewarding points for achievements. As at many arcades, the points can be traded in for kid coveted prizes.
My grandson’s skill lies in the claw machines where one maneuvers a mechanism around a bin of prizes, drops it to “claw” a prize and then brings the prize over to the chute for retrieval. I have never been able to even latch onto any object in the pile, while he routinely picks up things. He brags that he is “king of the claw,” and I have to agree.
I have been a fan of arcades all my life. My first one was in the Oregon coastal town of Seaside. Rain routinely falls on the coast, and to burn off some of our excess energy, my mother would drop my brother and me off at the arcade. There we happily played SkeeBall, racking up points to trade for candy. The Seaside arcade housed lots of old machines, including some not very risque “peep shows,” where for a penny a picture of a woman in a bathing suit was revealed for a quick look. We found these hilarious.
Our favorite spot was next door to the arcade, the table entertainment Fascination.
This game put us in competition with other players in a game involving rolling balls into a bingo grid trying to get a full row lit before any other player accomplished the task. We rarely won, but we enjoyed the thrill of almost winning nearly as much. Anyway, here the prizes appealed more to adults, so we were not too disappointed.
Many people told us we were wasting our money. Even today many accuse casinos of being exploitative. I felt then and now that I was free to “waste” my money any way I chose. And I still choose the flashing lights and loud buzzers on a rainy day.