Before Vault became a household name, they started to build momentum in the gaming industry.
Arcade games were specifically their focus.
And no one loved arcade games more than Keri Kay and her friend Gavin Gray.
Every afternoon when elementary school ended, Keri and Gavin would bike to DoubleLand Arcade, a newly opened establishment right off of the coast. In fact, if Keri were taller and could jump higher, she would swear up and down that she could see the ocean from where they were. Gavin would always disagree with her, as the beach was clearly in the opposite direction from where she pointed. It didn’t matter.
Together, the two kids raced through the double doors of the arcade and went straight towards their favorite machine.
At home, Keri’s television always had trouble keeping a steady signal. She didn’t quite know how to fix it when her favorite show would slowly dissolve into static, so she would always call her dad for help. Sometimes he grunted, but most of the time he patiently walked in, adjusted the two metal sticks on top of the television and left without saying a word.
Keri’s dad never said he loved her that much, but she knew he did.
One afternoon. Keri was mindlessly watching one of her favorite shows when an ad appeared.
“Your favorite game says a lot about you,” the voiceover said as pictures of recognizable game characters filled the screen. “Why not share who you really are by coming down to DoubleLand Arcade! Located just two point three miles from where you are now! We have all of the classic games you know and love. Plus, there’s food, prizes, and a brand new and innovative technology that will guarantee Blow. You. AWAY!”
Keri inched closer to the bubbly screen, her eyes widening.
“Experience the arcade like you’ve never experienced before, at DoubleLand Arca-ca-ca-“ the television resumed to its normal program of static, yet no one was there to notice. Keri had already wheeled her bike out of the garage and was pedaling towards Gavin’s house.
Gavin, pedaling as fast as he could for his age, looked at the world around him as he rode his bike in the crisp fall afternoon. The wind brushed up against the trees as leaves shed from their branches and onto the street below. Beside him, houses flew by, each one different from the last. If he was fully aware of his surroundings, he wouldn’t have run right into Keri, who was biking at the same speed straight towards him.
They both fell in an instant.
Keri let out a sudden cry.
“Do you ever look where you’re going?”
“In what way?” Gavin asks, brushing off the dirty pavement from his shorts.
Keri flicked Gavin’s head and laughed. “Next time, pay attention to where you’re going, dummy!”
The two of them got up and faced each other, eagerly awaiting to relay the information they wanted to share.
“Did you see the commercial-”
“-about the new arcade that-”
“-just opened across the way!”
“Yes!” They both cheered together in unison, their voices harmonizing in the thin air.
“We have to go check it out! My mom said it was okay, if I get home before dark,” Gavin said, still picking bits of cement lodged in his knee.
Keri looked across to the sun, which was about to touch the horizon. “I think we should wait until tomorrow. It’s going to get dark pretty soon and we don’t really know how to get there yet.”
Gavin propped his bike back up and looked at Keri. “We’re almost middle schoolers. I think we’ve earned ourselves some more freedom. Plus that commercial made me really want to go.”
“Same. I wonder what they were talking about when they mentioned a new technology?”
Gavin looked at Teri, confused. “New what?”
“The new technology it mentioned at the end. Right? It said like-“ Keri scratched her head as she slowly lifted her bike off the ground. -“‘food, prizes, blah, blah, blah, and a new technology that will blow your mind.’”
“Mine just mentioned something about a ‘golden prize’. I don’t really know what they were talking about, but they made it sound really cool.” Gavin said.
“Right,” Keri responded, slowly. She noticed the sun dropping behind one of the houses, and thought about what Gavin said. She looked down at her bike then up at Gavin. Suddenly, she hopped on and started to pedal off in the opposite direction.
Gavin quickly followed behind.
They biked all across the neighborhood they shared. Not one word was exchanged.
After a while, Keri slowed down and rested her bike against a street lamp nearby. Gavin quickly dismounted his and sat down on the edge of the sidewalk, panting. “Why were you going so fast? And where are we going?”
“You said that your commercial was different from mine.”
She started to walk up the steps of the house they stopped at. Gavin made a dramatic sigh, put both hands on his knees, and got up, following close behind. Keri knocked on the front door and waited.
“What are we doing here?” Gavin whispered as he met Keri.
The door opened and an elderly woman appeared, dressed in a nightgown complimented with a beautiful necklace.
“Keri, dear,” she said in a surprised voice. “How lovely of you to stop by.”
“Hello, Mrs. Vault.” Keri responded respectfully. “My television is broken again and I was wondering if I could use yours to watch one of my shows.”
“Well of course you can,” Mrs. Vault responded, obviously delighted. “I was wondering when you’d come back around. Who’s your friend here?”
Keri rushed into the house and into the living room, leaving Gavin to answer for himself.
“Hello there, Gavin. So lovely to meet you. Please, come in. Make yourself at home.” She gestured to the interior of her home which consisted of a single story complex, riddled with knickknacks and a hanging chandler that’d never seen a duster before.
Gavin called for Keri.
He found her, sitting on her knees, in front of a television. She was flipping through channels mindlessly, yet thoroughly.
Gavin threw his hands above his head in a mini tantrum. “Keri, what are we doing here!”
She stopped flipping channels and turned to face him.
“You said that the commercial you saw was different from mine. Well, mine said that the arcade was around two point three miles from where I was.”
Gavin put his hands down, confused. The blank stare annoyed Keri.
“Why so specific?”
“Why not give an address? Or a landmark to go off of?”
“I think you’re overthinking this,” Gavin warned.
“Why did it tell me that this arcade was located two point three-“
“-vorite game says a lot about you.” They both turned to face the television. “Why not share who you really are by coming down to DoubleLand Arcade! Located just four point one miles from where you are now! We have all of the classic games you know and love. Plus, there’s food, prizes, and-”
Keri switched the television off and the both of them sat there in the dark living room, illuminated only by a table side lamp.
Photo Credit: Logan Kishi