Back when I was 12-15 yrs old, my Da use to take me with him on business trips to Toronto. I would love the 4 1/2 hour drive from Brockvegas to the big city and would eagerly sit on the edge of my seat as downtown came into view.
We’d either stay at my grandparents house or if it was a quick visit, a cheap hotel somewhere near the big malls. Breakfast at these hotels was always a C Plus orange soda (“Don’t tell your mother. At least it has Vitamin C in it”) and some greasy spoon fare. Then Da would hand me some money and drop me off downtown. He would then go off to his “business” meetings, which I now know were some sort of tryst-like affair that involved an intricate network of homosexual men communicating their desires by mail. Can you believe it? PRE-INTERNET! They actually wrote letters to each other! Meeting up took months! Chemical based, thick paper backed images were swapped! That must have taken so much effort to meet up…
Getting back to me downtown: It’s a changed world, people. Back in ’79 – ’83, nobody would think twice about a 13 yr old walking around unescorted in the city. I use to stop by the shop where my sister worked in the Eaton Centre and have lunch with her. Or I would scope out the “dirty” books at The World’s Biggest Bookstore (family health issues isle – they had an open copy of Joy of Gay Sex).
But mostly I spent the money my Da gave me at Funland.
Funland was a massive arcade just north of Dundas on Yonge. It had the latest games in a big smokey room (when you could smoke inside) that went on forever. The front 1/3rd was filled with cutting edge technology machines: Frogger, Qix and the mind blowing Dragons Lair. I even remember a 3D “holographic” game where video was projected up onto nearly invisible blocks in a basin-like game, played in the round – true Logan’s Run stuff. The name escapes me.
I got pretty good at some games, but I can remember never, ever “finishing” a game, but I did watch lots of other guys complete a few story driven consoles. Despite not being good enough to go all out on any games, I was able to carefully drag out the $20 Da usually gave me over the course of a couple hours. It was heaven. Typical to my extremely boring life, I was never offered drugs, sex or crazy shit the entire time I spent there (the “family issues isle” is another story).
I see the Star mentions it’s finally closing it’s doors, blaming crime, the home gaming industry and crappy games.
I’m getting waaay too old. It closes on my birthday. I think I know what I want to do that night…