# # Token of My Extreme

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Token of My Extreme

I have long collected, among other things, coinage. Not being passionate about it, my collection is slim and unremarkable, containing, to my limited knowledge, nothing of any real value.

Point of fact, when I went through it recently, I realized that about 20% of it is marked (or minted intentionally to have) “No Cash Value;” commemorative, marketing, and gaming tokens.

Of these, the gaming tokens are, for some reason, the most interesting to me.

Now, despite the collection displayed here, I was never a big fan of video games and, by extension, hanging out at video arcades.

Not only was I raised in a household that openly mocked said pastimes, I was also never too keen to spend what little money I had as a teen on such frivolities, preferring instead to blow my cash on cassette tapes, gaming supplies, 3.2 beer, and clove cigarettes.

Many of my friends were of the opposite bent so, much to my chagrin and boredom, I ended up spending an unfortunate chunk of my early emancipation standing around in the cacophonous, multi-hued gloom of a variety of video arcades and “fun” centers.

Not that there weren’t any video games I enjoyed. Many a quarter, both mooched and hard earned, made it from my pocket into such consoles as Crystal Castles, Discs of Tron, Gyrus, Star Trek, and Red Baron. With few exceptions, I was not a very apt player, another reason, I am sure, for my general disinterest.

While my friends plunked every last token and not a little pocket lint into their arcade games of choice, I was most often standing behind them, bored and secretly pocketing the occasional token for … well, the birth of the internet and blogging, I suppose.

Having mooched most of the tokens I gamed with, it seems almost cruel that, while my friends desperately scrounged under mall vending machines and the grimy, grey depths of automobile ashtrays for spare coinage with which to purchase more gaming tokens, I was standing by with one or two in my pocket and mum on my lips.

Such is the price of posterity.

Here, then, are the tokens I retained. If you lived in the Fort Collins/Loveland area of Colorado in the 80’s, you may recognize some of them.

Bally’s Le Mans

Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle

Fun Factory

Superfun

Jolly Time

These first five, if I am not mistaken, were all from establishments I frequented in the 80’s as a hapless passenger – but I’m not sure which is which. FunFactory was located on the west side of the Orchard’s Shopping Center in Loveland, Super Fun was in The Foothills Fashion Mall – I’m convinced the rest come from Fort Collins, too. Certainly one must be from the arcade in The University Mall.

Which was “Aladdin’s Castle?” Which was “Le Mans?” Were these separate venues or the same locations under different management? And “Jolly Time” – was that in Fort Collins as well or did I somehow end up with tokens from another arcade, such as the old one in the Greeley Mall – you know: with the massive, bubble window? I just don’t remember. The only reason I am convinced I must have been to “Jolly Time” is I have three of their tokens instead of the usual one.

There was another arcade, just west of the CSU campus in the same complex, if I am not mistaken, that also held Finest Records and Tapes (R.I.P.). Could one or more of these come from there?

Showbiz Pizza Place

Chuck E. Cheese’s

While I and my friends continually mocked establishments like the above, they did have games you couldn’t find elsewhere and, though as a teen I was too cool to truly relax in a place designed, I felt, for ten-year-olds, I must admit I rather enjoyed the opportunity to use the air hockey table while my friends plunked quarters into the county’s lone “Dragon’s Lair” console. (the fact that the token for “Chuck E Cheese’s” is dated 1993 leads me to believe that I collected it outside of said establishment)

Celebrity Sports Center

My good friend, Izzy, took me to the above venue, which was located in Denver. I’d never seen such a place. If memory serves, it was a sprawling, three or more story complex that held all kinds of gaming facilities, including arcades on all levels. Amazing.

Diamond Jim’s

Tilt

Mothers

Chicago Illini Union/Univ. of Illinois

The four tokens above made it into my collection somewhat mysteriously. I have no idea how I came upon them as I am fairly certain the arcades they are associated with are well outside my experience, despite the fact that I have three of the “Diamond Jim” ones – the same number that convinced me I *must* have been to “Jolly Time.” Are they familiar to you? For obvious reasons, I am rather fond of the “Mothers” token …

Kitsap/South Center Mall

This, the most recent token in my collection, was collected at a currently running arcade in the Kitsap Mall on Washington’s Kitsap (natch) peninsula. After having not visited a video arcade for over twenty years, we took our daughter in the mid 2000’s and I was both shocked and dismayed to see that the types of arcade games I’d grudgingly enjoyed were long gone. Now you danced, fought, and played skeeball. Skeeball? Ugh. The one game I saw that hearkened back to those of my youth was a monstrous Star Wars game that took a dollar for one play and, though featuring excellent graphics and sound, gave me back approximately a dime’s worth of gameplay. Feh.

If I was somewhat skeptical as a teen, my dislike of video arcades has solidified as an adult.

But I’ll take the tokens!

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7 Responses to “Token of My Extreme”

  1. blackonyx says:

    My dad and I used to go to the arcade in the Kitsap mall all the time, I loved it!!!

  2. cae says:

    Mel dug it, too – I think there is still a grocery bag around somewhere filled with “prize” tickets …

  3. n2jeepn says:

    I used to live in Loveland in the 80’s and spent a lot of time at Fun Factory. It was located at a shopping center, but if I recall was in a separate building in the parking lot. I lived somewhere around 38th street, so it had to be somewhat close to there as I would walk/bike to get there. I wish I would have kept a token from Fun Factory.

  4. cae says:

    sweet! That means Fun Factory (which I think was later renamed) was at Orchards shopping center in Loveland – the one in the Foothills Fashion mall was “SuperFun.” Thank you!

  5. n2jeepn says:

    Glad I could help! The only memories I have of the Foothills Fashion Mall are eating delicious pizza at East Coast Pizza. That was some good stuff. For some reason, I don’t remember the arcade there.

  6. Jake says:

    Jolly time was in the foothills fashion mall and aladins castle was in the university mall in Fort Collins. I would go to to Aladin’s after getting a hair cut at cost cutters, or fantastic sams. It’s really cool to see those coins again! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thaaaaat’s it. So Jolly Time had two locations in the mall, over the years, didn’t it? I remember when it was down across from the magic/costume shop, which was lots of other things too, over the years. I go there now and get all turned around, what with the new bits all blocked off and such.

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