I’m such a kid at heart – and I imagine when I hit 50, I’ll be joining my kids in whatever skank is all the rage in 2030-somethin. Therefore Namco – the arcade centre near the London Eye that’s sort of similar to the Trocadero’s Funland in Picadilly Circus but without the seediness – always take me to back to my 13-year-old self; especially when I go with my latest batch of trainee journalists who I let run riot before they come back begging me for more pound coins. So here’s why I love it:
1) NBA Hoops - as I’m an American, I’m under the constant delusion that I’m totally kick ass when it comes to basketball, because I had a Larry Bird signed ball when I was 8, and I used to play in amateur tournaments. Well, I really need to get over myself because I can tell you now that I’m no pro – But I feel no way feeding the basketball machine anything up to a fiver for whatever snatch of glory I can claim for the night; victory in defeat and all that (side glance).
2) The bumper cars - I’ve got unnecessary bruises because of this – and last night, my hat flew off after one of my students smashed into me, exposing my extremely, nappy, atrocious head of curls and kinks. Whatever. But alas, if someone can tell me a better method of helping me de-stress than punching my car into someone else’s with reckless abandonment, than e-mail me. Bumper cars are doing it for me right about now (especially if you jump into one right after listening to Tempa T’s Battle Riddim. SMAAAAAAAAAASH!)
3) Tickets - Call it the early signs of a potential gambling addiction (God forbid!) but when I step into Namco, I’ll do almost ANYTHING to cop those tickets that you can earn from some of the games. Yes, I know the prizes hardly match the value of what it costs to win tickets, but it’ll all in the challenge my friends. It’s all in the challenge (mwah, ha haaaaaaaaa! Now spare me a 50p, I beg…)
4) Dancing Stage Supernova - This is otherwise known as the dancing game the Japanese are really good at. As for me, I’m about a 6/10 – but it’s all about adding those little gestures to the otherwise robotic dance steps that black women like me do oh so well. A bit of booty-bump, some “winding of the waist”; I’m taking the Soul Train, shoot!
5) The Annoying Thing Game – in some countries, this is called Whac-A-Mole, but for obvious reasons, Namco have teamed up with the Crazy Frog to produce a new version of a game because most people will find such animated foolishness infuriating and part with their coins accordingly. This game works for me in the same way as the bumper cars. Those little frogs that pop up tend to represent every person that’s vexed me in the past week – and the relief is absolutely euphoric.