First thing you notice is the sound: The sound of a dozen or more machines calling to you. They beckon to you, begging you to come play, to test your skill, to fight for a chance to enter your initials on the high score screen. As you enter the room, a caravel of flashing lights and demo videos welcome you. Put in your quarter, try your luck, become a three-letter legend. You have entered the arcade.
Sadly as reported in the July 7, 2009 edition of The Jibsheet, the arcade on campus is no more.
The machines that once sold entertainment for the price of a quarter or two have been sent back to the cold lonely warehouses of their masters.
“The removal of the arcade is another step in removing generic student use areas. The students don’t have as many places to hang out on campus and to socialize,” said Rick M, an employee of 11 years and former student.
The usage of the arcade, however, has been steadily dropping. In fiscal year 2008 (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009) there was a 27 percent reduction in use from the previous year, according to the Director of Campus Operations Laurel Lafever.
The arcade was also costing the College money. It is estimated that C103, where the arcade was located, cost approximately $3,495 a year to supply power and cooling. In 2008, the arcade revenue was only $2,858.
Originally C103 was slated to be converted into a classroom for the English Language Institute. Assistant Dean of Student Programs Faisal Jaswal fought to keep the room a student use area. It was then decided that C103 would be used as a student club meeting room.
“One of the biggest challenges is [that] we have close to one hundred student clubs and organizations that all need space” said Lafever. “Taking away the game room really wasn’t done to hurt students.”
As a student meeting room, C103 will become available for use by chartered student clubs. When the room is not reserved, the doors will remain unlocked for general student use.
“There is an issue on campus with a lack of fun for students” said ASG President Joseph Root.
“The lack of a game room represents another step in that direction to me, but I do think there is a potential for more fun to come out of this kind of thing and more school sprit.”
Joseph Root also said that he encourages students who are moved by the loss the arcade to contact himself or another ASG representative in C212 and let them know, so that they can better represent you.
Dash Stone may be such a student. He was clearly upset over the loss of the arcade.
“If they can build an entire building, I think they can find an extra room” said Stone referencing the new S building. “It’s just as much of a pastime as sports and we have sports fields.”
Stone went on to reflect that while the College teaches gaming design, it no longer has a room dedicated to that art form.
“I would think they would encourage people to experience actual games in context, instead of just talking about it in classes.”
It is no secret that arcades are disappearing all across the United States.
With the home and handheld gaming industry booming, it seems that arcades may be soon found only in the pages of Wikipedia; Bellevue College is no exception.
The loss of the C103 arcade for its devoted fans is truly horrific, but without a doubt the tradition of gaming on campus will continue in one form or another.