Community Question: Which Coin-op Did You Put The Most Quarters Into?

Posted on 08/04 07:41 in | 0

Many complain about microtransactions in gaming these days, but back in the day, that's what it was all about - playing games by spending a quarter at a time. With that in mind, can you remember which arcade machine you put the most amount of money into? Perhaps it was a golden age classic like Pac-Man or Space Invaders, or maybe it was a much later machine like Street Fighter II or NBA Jam. Whatever it is, we're interested to hear your story.

As always, here's the USgamer team on which coin-ops they dropped the most amount of money into.

I had to think about this one, because the arcade games I played most frequently when I was a kid I played for free — a rare and wonderful perk of my childhood. So you take my countless fumbling childhood attempts at Ms. Pac-Man out of the picture and the only possible answer becomes: Time Crisis 3.

Kind of a dark horse, I guess, but I played so much Time Crisis 3 the summer before I moved out to California and began working in the games press. My Time Crisis 3 spending habits probably could have gotten me the job on hardcore credibility alone! I don't think a week went by that summer in which I didn't play the game from start to finish… and that was one of those deluxe arcade installations that took, what, a full dollar to play?

Oh, and I didn't play alone; a big part of the game's appeal was that the girl I was dating was just as into Time Crisis 3 as I was. We'd team up and take down the enemy army together, side by side, and by the end of the summer we could pretty nearly finish the game on our first coin drop. But still, getting to that point meant I was dropping in enough quarters for myself and for her, and boy did that money add up fast. Worth it, though. What a fantastic game. I know Time Crisis 2 is the more respectable game, but my nostalgia for the third game runs deep….

In the early 90s, the arcade was king. When I used to head down to our local mall arcade, most of my money went towards Street Fighter II. Well, that's not entirely correct; most of my money went towards fighting games: Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, Samurai Showdown, King of Fighters, and more. I jumped from game to game on a whim, but if I had to guess which game drew the most of my quarters, it was probably SFII and its various follow-ups.

I remember the days of cashing in the meager dollars I had for tokens and then putting my tokens up on the machine just like everyone else. I wasn't amazing at Street Fighter II. I was only around 12 at the time. But I enjoyed the game and I enjoyed the feeling of competition. That moment when you'd get a solid run on the machine, beating everyone who stepped up to you? That was great.

I dipped out of arcade when home consoles started getting nearly arcade perfect ports of fighting games. I played Street Fighter Alpha mostly on PlayStation. I upgraded my Sega Saturn for X-Men vs. Street Fighter and I loved my Dreamcast for all the great fighting games I could play.

I can't remember the last time I even saw an arcade, but I still cherish those long hours on Street Fighter II. Probably more than I'll cherish the hours I'm spending at home on Street Fighter V.

I've slipped a vast amount of coinage into the slots of arcade machines over the years, but trying to think of which one I've spent the most on is tough. In the early days of gaming, many coin-ops didn't have an end point, and once you got good enough at them, you could play them for hours on end for just one quarter. I'm talking games like Asteroids, Defender, Robotron, and the like.

However, by the mid-80's, arcade games began to change significantly in terms of their design. Rather than being open-ended, they had a set numbers of levels, and featured continues that were designed to keep the quarters flowing into the machines. Space Harrier, Super Hang-On, and Afterburner were all examples of this new breed of game. And I'm pretty sure it's one of these that ate the most amount of my quarters.

Thinking back, I remember going on vacation to Blackpool in England in 1986, a major tourist destination that was known for its huge amount of arcades. It was there that I saw Space Harrier for the first time, and I recall pumping stacks of coins into the premium-priced sit-on cabinet as I attempted to reach the end of its 18 levels. I eventually did, but not before spending most of my cash reserves on the seriously challenging machine. I think that one mad session was the most amount of money I'd ever put into an arcade machine - especially in one sitting.

I relayed this story during the glory days of 1UP, but it seems appropriate to recall it today, seeing as we’ve just bathed in the sacred green light of St Patrick’s Day.

I have a passel of aunts, uncles, and cousins from Belfast. We don’t interact much, but once, when I was a child, they crossed the broad Atlantic and stayed with us for a spell.

It was during one of these days that I spent time with one such uncle and a couple of cousins. We entered a pub, and, well, that was the end of that. I learned Irish people do not exit drinking establishments quickly, and the Northern Irish, particularly those of my direct bloodline, are particularly fond of dawdling in public houses.

Luckily, this pub had a Double Dragon cabinet on-hand. I was way too young to drink, but not too young to play arcade games and eat a lot of excellent pub fare. Since the pub was owned by a family friend, I was kept neck-deep in quarters while I doggedly chased down the Shadow Boss.

So, there we are. I pumped an untold number of quarters into Double Dragon. They weren’t my quarters, but hey. Technicalities.

Thinking back, I wonder if I was legally allowed to even be in there…

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