Reclaim Arcade

Azeiza Hamza
3 min readSep 23, 2021


Photo by George Lakos on Unsplash

I had a lot of fun during our trip to the arcade. I’ve only ever been to small arcades that are part of restaurants, or places like Chuck E. Cheese. I liked how each game had the sound on and even though it was loud in the room, it was also sort of soothing. I didn’t really look around the living room, but I did notice the couches and how cozy the sitting area looked.

I think I spent the most time playing the TMNT pinball game, mainly because it was easy and fun. Unfortunately, I didn't get any high scores, mainly because even after reading the instructions, I wasn’t that good at the games.

The game I want to focus on is called Elevator Action. It was one of the first games I played and it was super fun. It was made by Taito in 1983 and apparently, it was a success. It even has a sequel.

The cabinet is brown and there’s artwork on both sides of the screen, one shows a man holding a folder that says top secret. The artwork near the buttons also features doors, which is a nod to the game. There’s a lot of red, yellow, and black being used for the art.

There are six buttons, but two of those indicate whether or not you want to play single-player or multiplayer and two of the buttons are for playing multiplayer. So if you’re a single player, there are really only two buttons you have to worry about and use after clicking the single player button. There’s also a joystick for moving left and right and up and down the floors.

I couldn’t find what display system it uses, but a lot of video games in the 1980s used raster graphics. The machine I used said it cost 25 cents to play. I don’t know exactly what the attract mode is, but when I went up to the game it was asking if I was one or two players.

The game’s graphics are very simple, but I think they work. On both sides of the elevator, there are two doors and all the characters are simple pixel drawings. There’s no variety in the enemy agents, but I think that’s fine. I don’t know if they’re necessarily realistic because they are just drawings of a head and body, but I do think it matches the time the game was made.

All the agents have black suits and hats, while Otto has a brown suit and I believe blond hair. The perspective of the game is sort of as if the hotel was cut in half and we opened it up like a dollhouse and looked at Otto trying to defeat the enemy agents.

I think this game is an action, platform, and shooter game. I wasn’t able to get on the high score list because I wasn’t fast enough to defeat the agents. But I did try really hard. I didn’t realize until reading the Wiki page, but you have to not only defeat the agents but also pick up secret documents. I think it encourages you to keep playing because you so badly want to make it to the bottom floor and get away successfully. It’s also simple enough in nature (go left and right, go up and down) that you don’t have to worry about too many things while playing.

I couldn’t find what the game is about metaphorically, but in my opinion, I think it might have to do with the Cold War espionage and also the spy trope in general, like James Bond. Overall the arcade field trip and game were really fun and I found an online version of Elevator Action that I will probably play in my free time.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash