Last week, in our Oxford Valley Mall of Days of Old article, we reminisced about what the mall used to be. In our conversation on Facebook, we talked about missing Swanky Frank, Chew-Chew, Olga’s Kitchen, you name it! But, the place I’ll miss most is where I spent the most time and dropped the most quarters. Space Port!
Space Port was futuristic looking arcade, by 80s standards. Even the patch on their uniforms is reminiscent of NASA. The emergency escape hatch installed on the ceiling and the fuel tanks everywhere gave this place a real serious look. But, it was all about games! Get it!? (click any image for a larger version)
It was located on the Oxford Valley Mall’s second floor, east of where the food court is now. In this classic photo, you can just about make it out in the upper-right. There’s a handy arrow for your identifying enjoyment. It was dark, full of strange sounds and trippy. Basically, it was the perfect video game arcade!
Though, none of these images are from our own Oxford Valley location, save for the faint view in the classic image above, they’re very accurate to our Space Port’s style. Gaming was in its infancy then and arcades encouraged a social aspect, long since forgotten. Lining up your quarter on the game cabinet for your chance to play next is a lost art. Internet gaming has replaced the the white-knuckle, in-your-face style of digital competition we once enjoyed.
Some of the coin-op games I sunk the most silver into included Spy Hunter, Crossbow and Karate Champ. The classic soundtrack of bleeps and bloops filled the arcade with various music and sound effects. I specifically recall a constant left, right, BODY BLOW!!! BODY BLOW!!! eminating from Punch Out!!
I could go on all day about Crystal Castles and Centipede, but I’ve found some interesting videos online that will take you back to the Space Port days of old and remind you of what gaming was like in the early days.
1981 Spaceport Employee Training Video Pt 1 posted by Craig Schaible
These videos are definitely the granddaddy of Space Port memorabilia. Learn how to make change, deal with thugs and run an effective arcade in these training spots.
1981 Spaceport Employee Training Video Pt 2 posted by Craig Schaible
One, last, bit of Space Port memorabilia we have for you is from the King of Prussia Mall. Before its remodeling in January 1993, someone captured the essence of our favorite mall attraction. Mortal Kombat II was a big in those days as we anxiously waited part III.
Spaceport posted by yaggy9
If you pine for the old days of the video arcade game scene, as I do, you may also appreciate this look back at a gameshow called Starcade, courtesy of the 80s, featuring all of our old favorites:
Starcade – Season 2 Ep. 25 posted by retrogameclips