Arcade (1993)

In this film Albert Pyun posits a future in which an arcade called Dante’s Inferno has a new virtual reality arcade game called Arcade. It’s being test-marketed by a company man who is handing out free samples of the home edition and hyping the thing up like he’ll die if it doesn’t sell, which is not far off.

The problems start here. The arcade has a cool name and the game has a really boring one. Arcade? Let me see the creatives who sold that one and I imagine their balls have their own independent orbits. Also, what arcade allows someone to hand out home systems that will keep players out of their establishment?

Alex Manning (Megan Ward, Tentacles IIAmityville: It’s About TimePCUEncino Man) is a troubled kid whose mom killed herself last year and only finds herself through video games. To make things even better — or worse for the characters — Arcade was once a little boy who — VR Pinocchio kinda sorta — has been used as the brain for this game.

As silly as this gets, the cast is good and game. Peter Billingsley (yes, Ralphie), John de Lancie (yes, the original Q), Seth Green, A.J. Langer (who the rest of the world knows from My So-Called Life and I know as Utopia from Escape from L.A.) and Don Stark (who is in everything from That ’70s Show to Switchblade SIstersEvilspeak and Santa With Muscles) all do the best with what they’ve got.

This film is filled with CGI and would have had light cycles in it, but Disney caught wind and sued the puppet-sized pants off of Full Moon. Oh Disney, so willing to sue daycare centers and small-budget films, yet so unwilling to go after racist rednecks that at will steal the Punisher logo and tarnish the Marvel brand.

This was written by David S. Goyer, who may have started his career in Charles Band land, but would move on to write movies like Dark CityBlade, 2014’s Godzilla, the Nolan Batman films and even the new Hellraiser, which is in production.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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