The city arcade had not changed in the ten years that marked my absence. I walked down, the ground sloping to the end, the roof open to the sky. The arcade was built around 80 years ago in a faux Edwardian England style. At the bottom of the arcade there is a type of portcullis. Entering this I turned to the left and descended a steep stairway that turned sharply on itself and plummeted two floors. On the second flight I became aware of the sickly sweet funk of teenage male sweat. I grabbed hold of the banister and steeled myself as to what lay before me. As the room came into view I glimpsed male bodies garbed in the unmistakeable clothing of teenage nerd-dom. I almost failed at this last hurdle, as I stopped and briefly pondered whether I should be attempting such a dangerous journey. But was I not a blogger of note? Was I not someone who had trod these very corridors not twenty years previously when these unwashed cretins were but spemizoildal ideas on the butt-cloth of their mothers womb?

I rolled my saving throw and passed into the first antechamber. A dozen smelly teenage males sat around folding tables throwing cards at each other and uttering sentences such as, “My wizard-mage slays your dragon-bane!” My entrance did not garner even a glance of disdain. Where is a glance of disdain when you need it? I placed one foot in front of the other as I tried to remember if my objective lay at the open door on the right or the passage leading to another door straight ahead. Gathering my wits I chose the right side and entered the inner sanctum.

Here it was; the gaming shop from where I myself had purchased so many role playing games two whole generations before. Nothing had changed. The counter was still to my immediate right, behind which lurked an individual in his late forties, bereft of female company for eternity and devoid of any type of fashion sense. From this did I spring corrupted? The large room opened itself up to me revealing row upon row of games and miniatures. Old memories came flooding back as I carefully lifted one box after the other, briefly turning them to scan the well known text that adorned the box’s rear. The cries of the tortured teenagers filtered through to my consciousness. I walked in the aisles in a daze, letting the experience sweep over me.

Now games let you choose the makeup on your avatar, though I think that Spink’s use of the term ‘slap’ to be much more descriptive. Yet the closest that any of the life-forms to be found in this inner city dungeon will get to makeup is when they steal it from their little sister and rub it over their own face. Gaming is the present ‘in-thing’. WoW had the extreme good fortune to arrive at just that point in time. But today’s in-thing is tomorrows roller blades. And when they sweep off into the sunset we will return to our origins of grey jeans and no personal hygiene. I gotta stop complaining.

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