The Topside social scene received a shot of excitement May 11 with the addition of a new, shiny video jukebox that can be programmed by touching its screen.
The jukebox’s musical selections run the gamut of student tastes, including such artists as Billy Ray Cyrus, Butthole Surfers, Lemonheads, Duran Duran, TLC and Lenny Kravitz.
Dartmouth Dining Services acquired the machine after Pete Napolitano, the DDS director, was approached by the LaserVideo Network company. Although DDS does not pay for the jukebox, it receives all the revenue generated by the machine, said Bob Jette, manager of Dining Services.
LaserVideo Network profits by selling advertisements to companies such as Nike and Coca-Cola, which are played in between videos, Jette said.
The video jukebox has around 88 selections that will be changed approximately once a month, he said.
“Pretty soon, every time a selection is made, a 25 cent coupon for Food Court and Home Plate will come out,” Jette said. “And soon, it will also accept tokens.”
Traditionally, most Topside “regulars” are attracted by the 14 video games and two pinball machines.
But since the addition of the video jukebox, Lynn Serpe ’93, a DDS employee and former area manager, said she has noticed an increase in the number of Topside party-goers.
“I stopped by here Friday night because the person I was with wanted a few hamburgers, and the place was packed,” Serpe said. “They were dancing round the machine. It was a little mini-party.”
The jury is still out, however, as to whether the Darth Vader of jukeboxes is a welcome addition to the collection of high-tech toys accumulating outside the College mini-grocery.
Some Topside patrons say the noise from the machine interferes with their video game playing.
But Jonodev Chaudhuri ’93, identified as a regular by Topside employees, has not found the machine to be unduly annoying.
“To tell you the truth, I do go up there and play a lot of Adam’s Family, but just to waste time,” Chaudhuri said. “I am not really a serious game player. I like listening to the music although I have not put any money in it.”
Ari Rosenberg ’94 said he finds the jukebox aesthetically unpleasant. “It looks like some beastly monstrosity,” he said.
Topside employees have also expressed discontent with the video jukebox. One full-time employee refused to comment, but Serpe explained the employee’s dissatisfaction.
“She has to sit here eight hours a day, five days a week, and it is not her choice of music,” she said. “Even though we constantly turn the music down, people completely lacking in consideration proceed to turn it up. It is very irritating.”
Topside employees said people do not seem to pay for videos very much, but random selections continue to play on the television screen.
“Even though people are not spending money on the music, they are hanging out here longer and buying food,” Serpe said. “At least, that was the explanation I was given for that machine.”
One song costs 50 cents. The machine takes one, five, ten and 20 dollar bills, but be warned. A sign on the machine states “This Machine Does Not Give Change. If you put in $20, you are getting 60 songs.”