When I was emancipated and living on my own for the first time my needs were few, my desires many. As is common with many impressionable youth, I craved excitement. My options were limited by my bank-book and my circumstances. One outlet for entertainment that always beckoned was the downtown amusement gallery. The gallery was a collection of world-war-II-era pinball machines in a dirty storefront lit by a couple of flickering florescent lamps and the gaming apparatus itself. Some machines were a nickel a play, most were a dime. Most had some minor defect, you just played around that. The idea was to win games, to hear that resounding “thock” as you passed an arbitrary score. The games were just as addicting as their modern counterparts. They had an aura of hand-craft about them: the varnished wooden deck, the hand stenciled decorations, the general funkiness of machine from a different era, they were almost an anachronism already (the first Pong games were just coming out then) and even if you only had a quarter, you could play for a while.
Of course, after a while you had lost your quarters, and you had lost your time, time lost forever in the company of your fellow-reptiles, seeking that animal adrenaline rush, trying to stave off extinction for another day.