A possessed video games starts stealing kids souls in 1993’s “Arcade” and only Peter Billingsley and his trusty red rider rifle can stop it. Peter plays Nick, a self proclaimed gaming wizard who thinks he can beat any game ever made. He and his slacker buddies head down to the Dante’s Inferno Arcade to check out a new videogame and listen to some Pearl Jam. The game is called Arcade and supposedly so high-tech you have to look through a submarine scope and use joysticks while wearing racing gloves. That’s 90’s marketing genius.
Nick is the first to give it a try but once inside the virtual gaming arena, he gets stuck in a spike maze and is killed by a flaming skull bat. Stunned by his defeat, Nick claims it’s the most amazing game he’s ever seen. Really Nick?…even more amazing than Kirby Superstar? All the kids are given a free console version by the promoter but sadly Ebay hasn’t been invented so they can’t sell it back. Alex (Megan Ward) resident newbie isn’t as impressed but her boyfriend Greg ditches her to stay behind and play it anyways. The game microwaves him like day old pizza and he disappears in a puff of smoke. Nobody really notices or cares, but I blame Nirvana.
Days later people finally start asking what happened to Greg and Alex’s console game starts taunting her about her now teen spirit boyfriend is trapped inside and she’s next. She rushes over to Nick’s to be “consoled” who doesn’t believe her until witnessing a friend getting nuked while playing it in her living room.
Alex and Nick decide to go to the game’s sleazy promotor Mr. Dillford, played by John De “Q” Lance who tells them they are on “trial for crimes against humanity!” OK not really. He actually has no clue what they’re talking about so he takes them to game’s programmer, Albert for some valuable gamer tips. His best advice is “don’t die” and then shows them a picture of a game map for bonus points. Albert must have missed the beta testing.
Alex and Nick plug back into the game now turbo-charged with kids souls but Nick gets wiped out on the first level and Alex gets zapped into a bonus round where her mom commit suicide. Wow, so remember kids don’t play video games or your parents will die. Glad she didn’t make it to the “kicking puppies” level.
Alex fortunately had earned a extra bonus life so she’s able to return back to the playfield to defeat the possessed game, free her friends and getting back her loser boyfriend Greg all before dinner. Sadly Nick didn’t even get to first base with Alex. He must have too busy being the “gaming master” or maybe it was the pink bunny suit he kept wearing?
“Arcade” is not one of Full Moon’s better films that didn’t involve killer puppets or star Tim Thomerson but the 20 minutes of psychedelic credits were interesting enough. Barry Goodall says check it out but only if you’re running low on gaming tokens. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to playing a much better game of Angry Birds.
Check out this trailer from “Arcade”