DVD Review: Arcade (1994)

Arcade DVD CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Albert Pyun

Starring: Megan Ward, Peter Billingsley, John de Lancie, Seth Green, A.J. Langer

On the one hand it’s easy to see why the younger generation scoff at us ‘oldies’ when films from the early 1990s use then-cutting edge terms like ‘virtual reality’ or ‘screensaver’ like anybody outside of the movie wouldn’t know what they were. On the other, it is also quite telling that some of the themes brought up in Arcade – teenage isolation, games addiction, antisocial behaviour – are more relevant now than they were back in 1994 (when we all has Sega Mega Drives and ‘playing with the Wii’ meant something totally different).

The premise of Arcade is that an arcade called Dante’s Inferno have introduced a new game called Arcade that transports its teenage players into a virtual reality world and keeps them there while it takes over their minds. Naturally there’s one teenager that figures out what is going on and enters the realm of Arcade to try and put a stop to it.

So yes, it’s all rather silly and ridiculous, and looks like an extended version of early ’90s kid’s TV show Knightmare. There are VR flying skeletons, keys to access certain doors and riddles to answer before you can move on but to anybody not computer literate or into cyber-fantasy such as Tron or The Lawnmower Man there’s not really anything here worth sticking with. For anybody who is into those sorts of things there will likely be enough going on to tickle your interest for a watch but the previously mentioned films do so in a much more interesting and effective way, i.e. they’re not quite so uneven and dull. The acting isn’t as bad as you would expect and some of the visuals have some nostalgic value but they will look terrible to anybody under the age of 30, and as a film watching experience Arcade just doesn’t press the right buttons (or waggle the right joystick!).

Arcade

Special Features: Videozone featurette, trailer.

UK Release Date: 17th March 2014

88 Films – Website

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