I love video arcades. I always have. I also loved it when arcades popped up in movies. It was fun trying to pick out what games I could see and identify. So, I thought it would be a fun exercise to pick some of my favorite movies that have an arcade scene and do a “walk through” to see what games we could see. This should be interesting because video arcades during the the late 70s to mid 80s are ancient history. There’s nothing really like them anymore. These walk throughs should be nice snapshots of a moment in time at a video arcade during their hey day. So let’s begin.
One of my favorite movies from childhood is the 1980 screwball road race comedy Midnight Madness.
The movie stars David Naughton, Stephen Furst, Eddie Deezen, Debra Clinger and a very young Michael J Fox as a group of college students split up into colored teams (yellow, blue, green, red and white) who go out on an all night long clue hunt.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the arcade scene at a place called Pinball City. It’s here the characters play a game that I thought was fake, called Star Fire. I’ve talked about this scene before. You can watch that full scene here. Well, there’s a wealth of other awesomely vintage video games in that scene, so let’s start off this first walking tour with Pinball City from the movie Midnight Madness.
This movie was released in early 1980, which means it was probably filmed in mid-to-late 1979.
This is the clue the players receive for the arcade. It essentially is a word game that tells them to go to PIN + BALL + SIT + E, or Pinball City.
Here’s the entrance to Pinball City.
Here’s the adorable Debra Clinger checking out an Atari Football game which was produced in 1979. Behind her is a carnival shooter game called Shark Bait. However, I could find no information on that game anywhere. I can’t believe that this was created specifically for the movie to be used in a background shot when they didn’t even bother to do that for the Star Fire game.
In the background of this scene is a giant game called Indy 800. It was manufactured by Kee Games in 1975. The game cabinet was huge and took up 16 feet of space.
Here’s a very young Michael J Fox leaning up against a Death Race game. It was manufactured by Exidy in 1976. This game is based on and inspired by the movie Death Race 2000. There were only 500 or so made. When it came out it was banned in many cities due to its violent content.