In the late 70s I had a paper route and found a better way to spend my money than baseball cards and candy...I discovered pinball machines! And in the early 80s my home away from home became our local arcade - just a short bike ride away. My mom would say "why do you want to go to that cruddy place?" and "most of the kids there are up to no good!". But there was plenty of good fun to be had playing cool machines like Flash, Xenon, Laserball and Black Hole. And my favorite nemesis of all - Eight Ball Deluxe!
Our high school was conveniently located near the arcade (now nicknamed "the crud"), so after school trips were frequent. All the machines offered 5 balls back then, and I could usually make a pinball game last a bit longer than a video game. And with practice I would occasionally hear the sweet "Pop!" of a free game - what satisfaction!! And even after a bad game an occasional match was a nice consolation.
Once we got our drivers licenses, my friends and I soon realized a strange phenomenon - all roads lead to the crud! It was near the center of town and and it was the perfect meeting place. Those fond memories have always kept me coming back for more!