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Pac-Man is coming to J.C. Penney!


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Are you ready? LOL. It was the last flea market ever here so I thought I'd buy this. I also bought a Game Boy game.

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This must be a promotional pin for some version of Pac-Man they were selling at J.C. Penney. I didn't know Penney's sold video games.

Maybe a Christmas time promotion to compete with Sears. We all loved the Wishbook!

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They totally did. Sears, JC Penney, Montgomery Ward, and other big department stores carried games and took them seriously.

 

Here's an interesting interview with their former game buyer, Al Nilsen, who went on to market Sonic the Hedgehog for Sega. https://m.reddit.com/r/retrogaming/comments/4n1p0c/rretrogaming_podcast_episode_11_al_nilsen_part_i/

 

Unlike many game buyers for big chain stores, Nilsen played all the games and was choosy about what they would stock. To bring in a new game, something old would have to be cut.

 

Atari Pac-Man was a very big deal for 1980s JCP.

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There was a time when the JC Penny catalog had enough gaming/toys in it to be a kind of second banana Sears Wish Book. Not as good, but you Still wanted it. This seemed to end around the time of the 16 but era.

 

I remember a very small video game counter in the store too, but for the life of me, I can't remember if that was JCP or Macy's.

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Cool find!

 

My parents bought my 5200 at JC Penney.

 

They bought my Atari 400, The Programmer, The Entertainer, and (later on) my 1200XL, a 1050, and the Assembler/Editor cartridge at Macy's. I remember the nice Vectrex display they had as well.

 

It was a different time...

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lol for a kid living in Guam, the JC Penny and Sears catalogs were more often than not, the SOLE source of videogame goodness. Those stores embodied video (and electronic) games to me even though the only time I'd ever actually step in one was the rare times I'd travel to the states.. :)

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In the early 1980s Pac-man was something of a phenomenon, even entering popular culture. The atari 2600 pac-man was hugely anticipated. According to that Al Nilssen interview JC Penny became the largest retailer of video games, larger than Sears. Maybe thanks to Atari 2600 pac-man.

 

Edit:

In Canada I remember going to K-Mart and Eaton's to preview the video games of the early 1980s. And yes, it all soon disappeared, in 1983 I was thinking.

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Yep. In the early 80s they had a pretty decent electronics section.

 

I remember when my mom bought a Coleco ADAM from Montgomery Ward, a few months later we were in J.C. Penny and I was looking at the Colecovision games. I think they removed the whole electronics department before Christmas that year. It must have been 84.

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Cool find!

 

My parents bought my 5200 at JC Penney.

 

They bought my Atari 400, The Programmer, The Entertainer, and (later on) my 1200XL, a 1050, and the Assembler/Editor cartridge at Macy's. I remember the nice Vectrex display they had as well.

 

It was a different time...

You nailed it, when you said "It was a different time..."

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The very first Atari 400 and 800 I'd ever laid eyes on was at a Penny's.

Southlake Mall, Merrillville Indiana...they had a large computer/video game area on the 1st floor near the escalators.

Penny's was right up there with Wards and Sears. Now they're a joke with fake 50% off sales. Show a grossly inflated original price, take 50% off and they're still more expensive than anyone else. Happy to hear they're finally getting sued over that.

 

Wards was always one of my favorites and I miss that place. They always had killer deals on electronics and even their house brand, Signature 2000, was always from a top manufacturer. I still have my 19" stereo TV from around '87 and it works great. Signature made by Zenith in USA.

 

Service Merchandise was another great place and the Silent Sam terminals were awesome.

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In Canada I remember going to K-Mart and Eaton's to preview the video games of the early 1980s. And yes, it all soon disappeared, in 1983 I was thinking.

 

Eaton's (at least the store in Halifax) flirted with video games on-and-off. I remember playing the Colecovision demo there. Video games then disappeared from the store until several years later when the Sega Genesis store demo console arrived. There was a small selection of PC hardware and software in the furniture department that would seemingly randomly appear and then disappear.

 

For a brief while, there was even a Space Duel machine (later replaced by Ms. Pac-Man) inside the main front entrance of the store.

 

The only K-Mart store remotely close to where I lived was over in Dartmouth, so I only shopped there a very few times. I have no memories of what games they sold.

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As I kid, I distinctly remember going through both the JCPenney and Sears catalogs over and over till the toy section pages were ready to fall out of the books!

 

JCP was probably Sears' stiffest competition back in the late 70's-Early 80's - at least at the national level. While JCP had the Atari VCS, Sears had the Tele-Games Video Arcade. Even as a 10 year old I could tell that Sears was just "painting" an Atari, lol. For that reason alone, I preferred the VCS... Besides, I was already a fan of Atari, thanks to Stunt Cycle. :)

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Turbo torch, I'm from the same area and a couple years older than you. Do you remember Aladins Castle? Same mall...

 

The very first Atari 400 and 800 I'd ever laid eyes on was at a Penny's.

Southlake Mall, Merrillville Indiana...they had a large computer/video game area on the 1st floor near the escalators.

Penny's was right up there with Wards and Sears. Now they're a joke with fake 50% off sales. Show a grossly inflated original price, take 50% off and they're still more expensive than anyone else. Happy to hear they're finally getting sued over that.

 

Wards was always one of my favorites and I miss that place. They always had killer deals on electronics and even their house brand, Signature 2000, was always from a top manufacturer. I still have my 19" stereo TV from around '87 and it works great. Signature made by Zenith in USA.

 

Service Merchandise was another great place and the Silent Sam terminals were awesome.

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Turbo torch, I'm from the same area and a couple years older than you. Do you remember Aladins Castle? Same mall...

 

 

Oh heck yeah! I grew up in Hobart...what area are you from?

 

It must have been Christmas of '82 that I had to wait in line to get in. The place was so popular they had a sign out front with a capacity number due to fire code...as people left, they let more in. I used to love hanging out at that mall with friends. Remember Camelot Music and Playback? Nobody seems to remember Playback, it was a really cool dark stereo store. Bought my copy of 2600 Space Invaders there.

Now the only time I go into that mall is when my job sends me there. It's like a ruined childhood experience...stupid kiosks peddling junk and cell phone trash where they once had all those cool fountains. I'm glad the place is doing well, but it lost its soul a long time ago.

 

Century Mall also had a good arcade. I think it changed names a few times, Super Fun and 10 pin arcade? Sad day when they leveled that mall.

Wally's Game Room in Hobart at 6 and 51 was incredible and the owner was really cool.

Marquette Mall in Michigan City also had that really cool hidden arcade where you had to go through a few corridors to get to it.

 

I got this as a Christmas present, most likely '82 and it was full of tokens. They were all gold except for one silver one; I thought it was good luck and never used it. :)

 

ac.jpg

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Oh heck yeah! I grew up in Hobart...what area are you from?

 

Lake Rat believe it or not, though stomping grounds were everywhere from Crown Point, Merrillville, Highland, Dyer, Schererville, Lowell, etc. Oh and yes, Hobart too...

 

It must have been Christmas of '82 that I had to wait in line to get in. The place was so popular they had a sign out front with a capacity number due to fire code...as people left, they let more in. I used to love hanging out at that mall with friends.

 

Yes actually, I do remember having to stand and wait for entrance to the arcade. First played Dragon's Lair 1 there, they had the double monitor on top deal, remember that?

 

Remember Camelot Music and Playback? Nobody seems to remember Playback, it was a really cool dark stereo store. Bought my copy of 2600 Space Invaders there.

 

I certainly do. It's been YEARS since I've even heard those names. I've lived in Las Vegas for the past 17 years, but I do come back for the occasional vacation every several years. It is sad what's happened to that mall. It seemed to have turned to crap post 90s...

 

Now the only time I go into that mall is when my job sends me there. It's like a ruined childhood experience...stupid kiosks peddling junk and cell phone trash where they once had all those cool fountains. I'm glad the place is doing well, but it lost its soul a long time ago.

 

That it did. Would love to build an 80s version of that into a virtual one using the Unreal 4 or Unity FPS engines. That would be awesome!

 

Century Mall also had a good arcade. I think it changed names a few times, Super Fun and 10 pin arcade? Sad day when they leveled that mall.

 

Yes, Century Mall was an awesome mall as well. I first played Dragon's Lair 2 in that mall in the 90s. It was called Super Fun then. I knew the lady Sherry (she was cool) and the guy that worked there. They were both cool and there for years! It's GONE? I didn't know that. I haven't been back for several years now but didn't know they leveled it! Damn shame my friend, damn shame.

 

Wally's Game Room in Hobart at 6 and 51 was incredible and the owner was really cool.

Marquette Mall in Michigan City also had that really cool hidden arcade where you had to go through a few corridors to get to it.

 

Never knew about those, a bit far from my normal stomping grounds.

 

I got this as a Christmas present, most likely '82 and it was full of tokens. They were all gold except for one silver one; I thought it was good luck and never used it. :)

 

Dude! So friggin jealous of the bag of tokens, probably only a few of us from that area can even appreciate that. I still think I have several original Aladdin's Castle tokens (mixed with a bunch from odd arcades from back then and that area) that I kept as a kid... Same reason... Lol

 

Some of my fondest memories of shopping as a kid back then were from the malls that we spoke of, Zayre's, Venture's, (all no longer there), Service Merchadise, and the ones you mentioned from above, plus the occasional odd game store/music store/video store that would pop up for a couple years and then disappear. I actually worked for Walden's Software the winter of 95 when the Playstation one was released. Good time, good times. You may have been a customer I helped... Ha, you never know.

 

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Yes actually, I do remember having to stand and wait for entrance to the arcade. First played Dragon's Lair 1 there, they had the double monitor on top deal, remember that?

 

Yep! That's one of those photographic memory moments. I remember going to the Walgreens restaurant across from the arcade with my mom...we'd always eat there and the food was phenomenal. While in the restaurant I could see the crowd of people around Dragon's Lair and the big monitor on top of it. I couldn't wait to finish eating so I could go check it out. People were dumping money into it and lasting all of 30 seconds. It was also the first game I'd seen that cost 50¢ to play.

 

I certainly do. It's been YEARS since I've even heard those names. I've lived in Las Vegas for the past 17 years, but I do come back for the occasional vacation every several years. It is sad what's happened to that mall. It seemed to have turned to crap post 90s...

 

 

Definitely. Today, it's almost all clothing stores for women and guys into skinny jeans. Gone are the days of classic car shows with cars parked all over inside the mall...same with boat shows. That Cookie Factory place you could smell from 10 stores away. I do think Hot Sams pretzels is still there.

They changed the name to Westfield Mall for a few years but it sold again and is back to Southlake Mall. Hobart annexed that area a long time ago and they actually put a satellite jail inside the mall. Then on court days in Hobart, you can't find a place to park around the court house because of all the shop lifting cases. Few years back there was also a gang shooting inside.

Overall, it's still a safe family environment and Hobart does a very good job at keeping it that way. Now if you ever visited River Oaks in Lansing, that's a different story...it's pretty much done.

I had also visited Lincoln Mall in IL a few times and it was just as nice as Southlake Mall and even built about the same time in the early 70s. Gangs completely overtook that one and I read where they boarded it up last year.

 

That it did. Would love to build an 80s version of that into a virtual one using the Unreal 4 or Unity FPS engines. That would be awesome!

 

How cool would that be! There's got to be enough photos and video footage to recreate it.

 

Yes, Century Mall was an awesome mall as well. I first played Dragon's Lair 2 in that mall in the 90s. It was called Super Fun then. I knew the lady Sherry (she was cool) and the guy that worked there. They were both cool and there for years! It's GONE? I didn't know that. I haven't been back for several years now but didn't know they leveled it! Damn shame my friend, damn shame.

 

I loved that arcade. I remember the sit down Night Driver near the change window in the back. A white Asteroids up front. Pretty sure it was the first place I played Berzerk. That place stayed true to the classics up till the end in the mid 90s.

The south portion of the mall is still there. After Service Merchandise moved out, Burlington moved in and they left that section. A number of years ago Burlington left and I believe it's just vacant now. I think the arcade area still may be part of what's left.

Of course Wards went with it and there are new buildings such as Staples and strip mall stores.

 

Some of my fondest memories of shopping as a kid back then were from the malls that we spoke of, Zayre's, Venture's, (all no longer there), Service Merchadise, and the ones you mentioned from above, plus the occasional odd game store/music store/video store that would pop up for a couple years and then disappear. I actually worked for Walden's Software the winter of 95 when the Playstation one was released. Good time, good times. You may have been a customer I helped... Ha, you never know.

 

61st and Broadway. :) Good times in that area too. Zayre's long gone...I think it's another grocery store now.

I remember driving my Vega to Venture with a buddy and hogging the NES display for hours on end. Remember TurnStyle that was in there before Venture?

A Big Lots took over Venture and even they high tailed it out of there. Today that section is Renta Centers, beauty supply and payday loan places. Further down, around 53rd, used to be May or Mays? McDonald's across the street. That's where we used to cruise Broadway between that McDonald's and Burger King in Gary on Friday and Saturday nights. Cops pushed us out by '88 which didn't much matter as it became unsafe, and today, it's one of those areas you don't want to drive through unless you have to.

Believe it or not, The Village is still open in Gary and it's fairly active!

 

There was also Tepe's around 80th which was just like Service Merchandise. Riss on 30 and Colorado. 3D in Valparaiso...

Today, it's basically Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

 

I'm trying to remember where Walden's Software was? Were they in the Southlake Mall, 2nd floor across from Radio Shack's new location? If so, I know I bought a bunch of VirtualBoy games there. I did buy plenty of books from Walden Books in the mall.

 

If you're ever back up this way, drop me a PM, I'll buy you lunch somewhere!

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Yep! That's one of those photographic memory moments. I remember going to the Walgreens restaurant across from the arcade with my mom...we'd always eat there and the food was phenomenal. While in the restaurant I could see the crowd of people around Dragon's Lair and the big monitor on top of it. I couldn't wait to finish eating so I could go check it out. People were dumping money into it and lasting all of 30 seconds. It was also the first game I'd seen that cost 50¢ to play.

 

I completely forgot about the Walgreens restaurant across from Aladdins. That was such a wierd concept back then.

 

Definitely. Today, it's almost all clothing stores for women and guys into skinny jeans. Gone are the days of classic car shows with cars parked all over inside the mall...same with boat shows. That Cookie Factory place you could smell from 10 stores away. I do think Hot Sams pretzels is still there.

 

Cookie Factory was awesome and so was the Sams Pretzels. I also remember the classic car shows. That was a nice touch back then.

 

They changed the name to Westfield Mall for a few years but it sold again and is back to Southlake Mall. Hobart annexed that area a long time ago and they actually put a satellite jail inside the mall. Then on court days in Hobart, you can't find a place to park around the court house because of all the shop lifting cases. Few years back there was also a gang shooting inside.

Overall, it's still a safe family environment and Hobart does a very good job at keeping it that way.

 

That is the way I remember the last couple of visits to there. Glad to hear they re-renamed it! Westfield Mall, how bogus!

 

Now if you ever visited River Oaks in Lansing, that's a different story...it's pretty much done.

I had also visited Lincoln Mall in IL a few times and it was just as nice as Southlake Mall and even built about the same time in the early 70s. Gangs completely overtook that one and I read where they boarded it up last year.

 

Such a shame, although I did know that about both, they were awesome places in the 80s and even 90s...

 

 

How cool would that be! There's got to be enough photos and video footage to recreate it.

 

 

I loved that arcade. I remember the sit down Night Driver near the change window in the back. A white Asteroids up front. Pretty sure it was the first place I played Berzerk. That place stayed true to the classics up till the end in the mid 90s.

The south portion of the mall is still there. After Service Merchandise moved out, Burlington moved in and they left that section. A number of years ago Burlington left and I believe it's just vacant now. I think the arcade area still may be part of what's left.

Of course Wards went with it and there are new buildings such as Staples and strip mall stores.

 

 

61st and Broadway. :) Good times in that area too. Zayre's long gone...I think it's another grocery store now.

I remember driving my Vega to Venture with a buddy and hogging the NES display for hours on end. Remember TurnStyle that was in there before Venture?

A Big Lots took over Venture and even they high tailed it out of there. Today that section is Renta Centers, beauty supply and payday loan places. Further down, around 53rd, used to be May or Mays? McDonald's across the street. That's where we used to cruise Broadway between that McDonald's and Burger King in Gary on Friday and Saturday nights. Cops pushed us out by '88 which didn't much matter as it became unsafe, and today, it's one of those areas you don't want to drive through unless you have to.

Believe it or not, The Village is still open in Gary and it's fairly active!

 

There was also Tepe's around 80th which was just like Service Merchandise. Riss on 30 and Colorado. 3D in Valparaiso...

Today, it's basically Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

 

Interesting to say the least about the top several statements, though I'm not surprised at all, this was the pattern even before I left in 97...

 

I'm trying to remember where Walden's Software was? Were they in the Southlake Mall, 2nd floor across from Radio Shack's new location? If so, I know I bought a bunch of VirtualBoy games there. I did buy plenty of books from Walden Books in the mall.

 

Yep, 2nd floor right across from Cinnabon on one of the side nooks in front of the escalators... Fall and Winter of 95... Best friggin times. Good friends worked there as well, Rob, Earl, Josh, Stacy. Wonder what they've been doing for the past couple decades... Can't remember their last names. lol

 

If you're ever back up this way, drop me a PM, I'll buy you lunch somewhere!

 

That sounds great! How about Shakeys or Ponderosa Steak House? ; ) I know, I know long gone... More things from my young adulthood ripped away from me in time... I miss RAX roastbeef restaurant as well... They had one in Crown Point. Ok, I'm done... lol

 

You still got tokens for that pouch from AC?

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That sounds great! How about Shakeys or Ponderosa Steak House?

 

Oh man...Ponderosa on 61st is now a nasty pancake place. :woozy: The theater next door where I saw Star Wars is gone.

A few months ago, the empty Ponderosa building in Crown Point was torn down for a new building.

That's my best friend's favorite restaurant and every so often we'll ride our motorcycles to the one left in Plymouth for lunch.

 

Shakey's!!! I worked at the Portage one my senior year in high school. :) That was the worst job and longest 6 months ever.

I have to admit, the owner, Brian Cload was one of the coolest people I ever met. If you were into BBSs back then, he ran the Port of Call out of that restaurant. He'd often break in to chat and that's how I ended up getting my job there. This was 1987 and I believe it was the largest BBS on the planet at that point, and all run off a Tandy (3000 I think). A 100mb IBM system was pretty high end back then...he was pushing 8gb of storage, tons of phone lines and everyday he mirrored all of Rusty N' Eddies files. Best of all it was a local call from Hobart.

That building is now a Texas Corral and they kept it exactly the same as Shakey's with the cool western look architecture.

 

You still got tokens for that pouch from AC?

 

Just the single silver one. Wish I had some from the Showbiz in Indy as I have some good memories of that place.

All we got was Celebration Station...kind of a crappy knock off and I was too old for it by the time it opened.

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