Wil Wheaton (yes, that kid from Star Trek) has a touching column on the slow death of the arcade over at Suicide Girls, of all places (page is safe for work, but links to NSFW content). Wheaton lays out some interesting historical analysis on what actually caused the game center's slow decline (endless fighting game clones might be as culpable as powerful home systems), but just as interesting are Wheaton's carefully laid out sensory memories from the gaming rooms of his youth.

More than the games themselves, the pizza-stained, Mountain Dew-infused social atmosphere of the old arcades are what give them a special place in many an old fogey gamer's heart. These young whippersnappers don't know what they're missing with their online deathmatches and Xbox Live Arcade downloads and what-not. In my day, we played standing up at a wooden cabinet in a dimly lit room... and we liked it, dagnabbit!

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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