# # Token of My Extreme - Vintage Arcade Tokens

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Token of My Extreme – Vintage Arcade Tokens

vintage arcade tokensThough I have long collected coins, my interest in the hobby is minimal and my collection worth little, if anything. In fact, “No Cash Value” is even stamped onto some of the coins. They’re vintage arcade tokens, most of which I collected in Northern Colorado during my teen years in the 1980’s.

I was gifted most of my coin collection. Handfuls of foreign coins or bills left over from a relative or friend’s journey. Always small change and denomination. I enjoy looking through my collection, though, slim and unremarkable as it is. Sometimes the least remarkable are my favorites.

About 20% of my collection is made up of non-monetary coins. Commemorative coins, marketing materials, and arcade tokens. The tokens are some of the most interesting to me. Not because of their value but because of the history and memories attached to many of them.

Not Much Of A Video Gamer

Contrary to this post’s subject matter, I was never a big fan of video games or hanging out at the arcades.

The household I was raised in openly mocked video games and I tended to agree. Video games could be fun but I tired of them quickly. What little money I had as a teen was spent on cassette tapes, wargaming supplies, 3.2 beer, and gas money, not video games.

Many of my friends were of the opposite bent so, however. Consequently, I spent an unfortunate chunk of my teen years in the cacophonous, strobing gloom of video arcades and “fun” centers.

Not that I didn’t enjoy any video games. Much to the contrary! Many a hard earned (or hard-mooched) quarter made it from my pocket to the dark depths of an arcade slot. Crystal Castles, Discs of Tron, Gyrus, Star Trek, and Red Baron were all favorites. I was not a very apt player, mind you, even at these favorites. Another possible reason for my general disinterest in video games?

My friends played every last token they had when we’d go. Often casting about desperately for one last token when their supply was exhausted. Not me. I always seemed to have one or two left over and would often let my friends use them up. Sometimes though, and I’m not sure why, I pocketed them. I guess I was waiting for … well, for the birth of the internet and blogging to catalog them, I suppose.

If you lived in the Fort Collins/Loveland area of Colorado in the 80’s, you may recognize some of the arcade tokens I managed to retain.

Vintage Arcade Tokens

Bally's Le Mans arcade token

Bally’s Le Mans

Bally's Aladdin's Castle arcade token

Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle

Fun Factory arcade token

Fun Factory

Superfun arcade token


Jolly Time arcade token

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 fact that I have three “Jolly Time” tokens makes me think I must have been there.

There was another arcade, just west of the CSU campus, in the same complex as Finest Records and Tapes (R.I.P.). Could one or more of these come from there?

[Thanks to comments from readers, it now seems that Fun Factory/SuperFun was the arcade at the Orchards Shopping Center in Loveland. Jolly Time was in the Foothills Fashion Mall and Aladdin’s Castle was in the University Mall, both in Fort Collins.]

Showbiz, Chuck E’s, Celebrity Sports Center Arcade Tokens

Showbiz Pizza Place arcade token

Showbiz Pizza Place

Chuck E. Cheese's arcade token

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 1993 on the “Chuck E Cheese’s” token tells me I collected it outside of my teen years)

Celebrity Sports Center arcade token

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.

“Mystery” & Other Arcade Tokens

Diamond Jim's arcade token

Diamond Jim’s

Tilt arcade token


Mother's arcade token


Chicago Illini Union/Univ. of Illinois arcade token

Chicago Illini Union/Univ. of Illinois

The four arcade tokens above made it into my collection somewhat mysteriously. I have no idea where they came from. I know for a fact that I have never been to Diamond Jim’s. This despite the fact that I have three such tokens. 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 arcade token

Kitsap/South Center Mall

The most recent token in my collection comes from an arcade in the Kitsap Mall on Washington’s Kitsap (natch) peninsula. We took our daughter there in the mid 2000’s. I was surprised by the types of games I saw, not having been to a video arcade in over twenty years. Now you danced, fought … and played 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!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses to “Token of My Extreme – Vintage Arcade Tokens”

  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.

  7. Greg Stiner says:

    Aladdin’s Castle was in the University Mall. I worked there for a year in 87. The small arcade in Orchards Shopping Center was also called Superfun. I don’t ever remember it being called Fun Factory

Leave a Reply