Maybe it’s the 2020 pandemic blues, but I can’t get enough of it Black Ops Cold War
The Pines revolves around a neon centered mall called Mall at the Pines. It feels like a nod to the 1985s Back to the Futurewith a similar green tree logo as the film’s fictional Twin Pines Mall. There is a no skateboard sign outside the entrance that will put any Marty McFlys off. The card’s movie references are a nice touch and even inspired me to watch again Back to the Future during my vacation break.
Most of the fights take place in the mall itself. When it comes to the convenience of a retro mall, The Pines checked all the boxes for me: inside, you’ll find a music store that advertises records, tapes, and CDs. It’s a tradition long gone in this digital age of streaming, but I loved browsing my local music store after school. Sometimes I would pull a CD out of a bargain basket and just put on it, while these days I have relied on Spotify’s suggestions.
Across from the music store is 2Day Photo, a shocking reminder that we used to take pictures on film that was sent out for development. I miss collecting physical copies of music, but I don’t crave the inconvenience of processing movies.
The most nostalgic place in the Mall at the Pines, however, is the beautiful Galaxy Arcade. It’s huge and has a whole range of games: air hockey and foosball tables, skee ball machines, lots of pinball machines, and old arcade cabinets. There is a pinball machine named after him Black Ops 3Visit the Iron Dragon Zombies map to find arcade cabinets for Activision’s Chopper command. There is something magical and inviting about the neon lights and the funky arcade carpet with all its bright geometric shapes.
There was so much detail that went into the decor of this card. I took a double shot at a cell phone kiosk, complete with the giant cell phones of the late 80s. My mother had one that was plugged into the car and it was bigger than a lunch box. There is a RadioShack where someone can buy overpriced electronics. Ocean Sun is likely to create the same beach vibe as PacSun. And the store called Frencer’s is definitely a fake Spencer’s novelty store – you know, that store some of us went to as kids to giggle over sex toys and vulgar t-shirt designs? Frencer’s sells a selection of lava lamps, black light posters, and graphic t-shirts, and I think it’s safe to say they’d sell the same items in 2020. The store is right in front of the mall’s food court. I can almost smell the freshly baked cookies and those huge pretzels.
It seems like the developers were really looking for this card. Although I love the nostalgia of The Pines, I started to wonder how old some of the stores that inspired them actually are. Does a place like PacSun really fit into an 80s mall? What about Spencers? I’ve done a little digging online, and it seems the raunchy novelty store is even more of an OG brand than I expected: Spencer’s was originally founded as a mail order novelty company in 1947. The first physical location for a Spencer’s was in New Jersey’s Cherry Hill Mall in 1963. Coincidentally, Cherry Hill Mall is also where you Googled the coordinates found on The Pines loading screen. For those who are wondering, my research found that PacSun was thriving in the 80s too.
All the thoughts and little details in the Mall at the Pines have brought back so many memories. I would recommend anyone viewing the map in a custom match to best appreciate all of the details. Despite all of my in-game window shopping, there is so much that I would have missed in the chaos of multiplayer matches. The Pines fantastic teleports me to the 80s and also provides a sad reminder of those times before Covid.
I have the luxury of working from home, so I only leave home for important things like votes and doctor’s appointments. I couldn’t travel with friends or go to the movies. Playing online games with friends is one of the main reasons I stuck to a piece of sanity in this hell year. I can’t wait for the pandemic to end. Maybe I’ll find an arcade that survived 2020.
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