The arcade bar is my happy place. Gimme a captain and coke, a pocket full of quarters, and a Ms. Pacman console. The dedicated, original solo game console plays the best of all the options that are commonly available. Sometimes Ms. Pacman is paired with Asteroids, or 50+ Atari era games. Often it is set into a barrel, a TV beneath the glass, smaller joysticks clutched in sweaty hands as the ice sways in the glass in motion with the joystick’s movements.
The joy is unparalleled; the routine and structure in drinking the dots along the screen’s labyrinth is exhilarating. Right, down, left, up, the same starting pattern each and every time a different dot maze appears on the screen. You can never get lost in Ms. Pacman. All across the nation the music is the same, however the play experience is not always.
Ideally, by the time you hear the music of the second cut screen, you’re halfway through your first drink. Sip it quickly before the next stage begins.