Quarters were quite valuable to me at age 10. I would save them until I had several dollars worth. I had a specific use for them; one that had nothing to do with a piggy bank. The location for my deposit of quarters? The arcade game Galaga.
The small convenience store on the corner of the street on which I grew up had Galaga for years in a back corner of the store. I would go to the store, sometimes buy a soda (I called it pop because people from Colorado call it pop), or a candy bar, and then plant myself at Galaga. The duration of play depended on whether or not I had brought my “A” game, and, of course, how many quarters I had in my pocket.
Today I discovered Galaga in the wild, and in an unlikely place. It’s located in a kids hair salon. Despite its out-of-place location, I’m drawn to it immediately.
Over the last few years I’ve seen an emergence of Galaga in the form of new, upright consoles that combine two classic Namco/Midway arcade games from the 1980s: Galaga and Ms. Pacman. I was never into the Pacman games, so if given a choice between a classic upright Galaga console and one with both Galaga and Ms. Pacman, I’d go with the Galaga-only version.
Galaga is really the only arcade game I thoroughly enjoyed. There are web and hacked versions available online, but I’m a purist. The only time I play Galaga is when I find the upright console. Incidentally, the correct pronunciation of the word Galaga seems to be open to interpretation. If anyone knows the correct pronunciation or comes across a reliable source that can confirm and explain the pronunciation, please share.
Maybe I should scrounge up some quarters and go hang out at the kid’s hair salon for a couple hours. “Sir, do you have a child with you who needs a haircut?” “Nope. I’m here for Galaga! Do you have any pop?”
As they left, I’d shrug off the creepy assumptions about my presence and return to game play.