pigrabbitbear writes "If you were born before 1990, chances are you've long bemoaned the disappearance of a meaningful pillar of your upbringing: video arcades. There used to be 13,000 of them across the country, back in the early 1980s when arcades were a $3 billion industry. Now there are too few to merit counting. Where did they go? You fed them all the quarters in your mom's purse! Why did they leave?
The rapid tumble of American arcades — the real arcades, the loud dark rooms with gross carpets and no parents — has left a hole where a piece of culture used to be. Rather than try and recreate that vintage arcade experience, Japanese video game maker Namco is rolling out a "restaurant-centered, destination entertainment concept." The arcade pioneer, which produced such golden-age gems as Pac-Man and Space Invaders, is poised to roll out a chain of the arcade-restaurants in Chicago. They're called "Level 256," a reference to the mythical final level of Pac-Man."
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