Space Port: Arcade Training Videos

A video post this week.

Space Port was a chain of arcades across America usually located within shopping malls. Along the lines of Time-Out, it was a staple of any eighties kid’s world. As the name suggests, the branding was very space age!

Now this is a place I would happily visit today

I came across a couple of interesting videos on YouTube, that I thought were worth sharing here this week. These are the original corporate employee training videos, presumably shown to new incumbents to the business:

Space Port employees ready to serve!

As well as dwelling on the overall 80s vibe, it’s worth checking out the cool shots of cabinets in-situ within the arcade.

The video proudly proclaims:

The pleasant, beautiful surroundings of each Space Port is carefully planned by the leading architects and space planners in the industry, and its your job to keep the atmosphere pleasant, so that our customers can enjoy themselves in safety.

Some of the instructions are fantastic – particularly on how to give customers change. “No Checks, no borrowing!”. Here the first part:

What is interesting in that first video is the use of painted tokens. Employees were told to never manually activate the coin switch of any game. Employees were given a number of painted tokens which could be used to not only test games when required, but also to provide family members and the emplaoyee, free games. So what these painted coins did was to hold the employees accountable. If the manager pulled 100 coins from a machine, but the coin counter had 200 meter advances, then clearly, an employee was giving games away. That’s harder to do with painted coins, especially if there was a limited inventory on each shift.

More here in Part 2:

Brilliant stuff.

Handling an awkward customer?

I would imagine for you American readers, this is a great trip down memory lane. Of course Space Port is now long gone, but we are left with a few photos of this particular chain of arcades in their heyday:

Space Port, Hunt Valley Mall, Maryand
Space Port, Hunt Valley Mall in Maryland circa 1991 – photo credit: KLOV user ‘yaggy’
Space Port Arcade Cumberland Mall Vineland NJ
Space Port Cumberland Mall, Vineland, NJ. Circa 1986
Space Port Bloomington Indiana 2
A long closed-down Space Port in Bloomington, Indiana
Space Port Bloomington Indiana 1
The same arcade at its height in the background there, sometime in the eighties

Hope you enjoyed these great videos and pictures. Thanks go to YouTube user Craig Schaible for sharing these the vids for us to enjoy.

If you remember visiting Space Port for your arcade kicks, let us know in the comments. You can share this article using the social media buttons below.

See you next week.


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12 Comments Add yours

  1. _Spr_Drnk says:

    Truly, a ‘different time’. That comb-over for a start… Lovely stuff as ever Tony, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. _Spr_Drnk says:

    On an unrelated note – I’d just like to say how much I truly appreciate this blog (been refreshing since around 4.30 this afternoon). It’s always informative and beautifully well researched, with many things I didn’t know about before. Also – and I’m not sure many appreciate this so much now – it’s always very, very well written. And they say video games rot the brain (another 80’s trope).. Now where’s my Marble Madness article? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tony says:

    Thanks – really appreciate that. Glad the blog is resonating with you!


  4. Prince adam says:

    As a Brit I find this info fascinating, a very different experience to the one I recall in the 80s. It’s more obvious to me now where the inspiration for the arcade in the Toy Story movie comes from. So thank you for that reference 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Keith s says:

    Ah space port. How I miss thee. Spent way too much often time in these at the neshaminy mall, quakerbrudge mall, lincoln plaza and Oxford valley Mall in suburban Philly/NJ back in the day. Pinball mainly. Used to buy the employee for Susan b Anthony dollars since you got 5 games for a dollar that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alec says:

    I worked at the Space Port at the Neshaminy Mall for a brief period of time, and actually WORKED with the guy with th ecomb over. His name was John. Great guy. Would be interested in getting in touch with others that worked there. Looking for someone in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John Casey says:

    Wow. The Space Port in the Bangor Mall next to I-95 in Bangor Maine. From 79-83ish my parents would deposit me there while shopping. Go through the JC Penny entrance, out the back and turn right. A quick Google search still lists the business and phone number. Seems it only shut down a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. David Kennedy says:

    My father worked for Space Port in the early to late ’80s. Originally as a tech, then manager, then regional manager. I was exposed to all of the good and also hard to get laser disc games nowadays, including: Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, Cliff Hanger and Galaxy Ranger. Good times…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ken says:

    Wow, I think I bought the exact Missile Command pictured today! Guy in NJ said his dad bought it from Space Port in 1983. Low and behold, I get home and the bill of sale from Space Port was inside with the sale price of $200! I have Photos if you want to see them. The machine has the same markings on the coin door.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tony says:

    Would love to see those Ken!


  11. Brian Walker says:

    Remember the one in Bloomington well 🙂


  12. Time Crisis says:

    There’s still like half of the original Space Port facade in the Whitehall Mall in Allentown PA. It is (or was) a comic shop.

    Liked by 1 person

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