Arcade After Dark
The arcade was abuzz with excitement. The game that
replaced Tabletop Tennis has quickly become the most popular game at the arcade.
But then new games usually were popular at first. But this game was even more
popular than Toygirl and she was the queen of the arcade. Congo Drums was the
first game at the arcade to feature different screens. Until now, all the games
had the main character moving on the same screen. The backgrounds changed
occasionally or the enemies changed, but it was always the same screen. But in
Congo Drums, the main character moved from one level to another by scrolling
backgrounds. The kids were amazed and loved the game. They loved taking turns
leading Stanley from the jungles where he had to dodge animals in a stampede to
the river where he had to get his canoe past crocodiles and hippos to the hill
he has to climb while dodging coconuts the monkeys are throwing to finally
getting past the gorillas that are holding his beloved captive. Everyday there
is a line of kids waiting and putting their quarters on the machine.
As each day goes by, it looks less and less likely that Billy was coming back. It had been nearly a week since they took him away. Most games were back in a matter of days if they needed work. And with the success of Congo Drums, the arcade would be foolish to remove it. Sure there was plenty of room to put Billy if he did come back, but they would probably just put another new game. There were new games being released weekly and with the big arcade down at the mall, this arcade could not afford to waste space on old games.
As the others watch, Bill slowly climbs up the power
cord. As he gets to the top, he enters the machine. While he has been in a few
different machines in his time, it is still always exciting for him to see a new
machine. Most machines look pretty similar. There are alot of wires and machine
parts. He doesn't know what they are but he figures they are the guts of the
machine, so to speak. Being only a squirrel, he is not the brightest member of
the group. The machine is very dark, but then that is expected with it being
turned off. So Billy used great caution as he made his way through this unknown
area. But as he felt his way through the darkness, he saw a light up ahead. As
he neared it, he heard conversation and laughter. Once he made his way into the
light, he saw something that he never expected to see. Sitting at a large table
was Stanley and what looked like a zoo full of animals around the table. There
were hippos, gorillas, crocodiles, rhinos and other animals. They were all
talking and laughing and having a meal together. Stanley quickly saw Bill and
waved for him to come over. Bill was not sure what to do, but he figured he
would come over. One of the monkey's got up from the table and made room for
Bill. He sat down next to Stanley and soon there was a glass in front of him and
a plate. "Make yourself at home" Stanley said as he poured a strange looking
liquid into Bill's glass. "I can see why you never heard us when we called you"
Bill said as he had a hard time hearing over the noise the animals made. "We can
be a noisy bunch" one of the gorillas said with a smile. Stanley then offered
his hand and said "Where are my manners, my name is Stanley and these are all my
friends from the game." Bill shook his hand and then replied "I am Roadkill
Bill, I am in the game across from you." Everyone came over and said hello. One
by one they shook his hand and told him their name. There was Gerald the Giraffe
and Harry the Hippo. The gorillas went by such names as Charles and Darwin.
That night, Captain Moon Man went back to his machine and thought about what he had heard. Why hadn't he ever seen the aliens from his video game once the machine was turned on. They had to be there, at least he thought they did. He decided that he would have to look for them with the rest of the gang. While he would not admit it, he was scared to look himself. They were pretty scary looking in the game and the last thing he wanted was to be surrounded by them. He shot at them all day, so they may not like him. He did not hold a grudge at them shooting at him as he figured it was part of the game, but would they be as understanding. That night, he did not sleep very well.
Arcade After Dark © Tom Zjaba
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