Stride Gum, which seems to be making a play for the gamer wallet, has a contest running at the moment where gamers can help save one of four struggling arcades throughout the United States, one of which is Starbase Arcade on Fourth Street in San Rafael.

Stride plans to award $25,000 to one of four struggling arcades. (The other three, non-Bay Area arcades are Arcade UFO in Austin, Texas; Game Galaxy in Nashville, Tenn.; and Star Worlds Arcade in DeKalb, Ill.) To pick which business gets the much needed cash infusion, Stride is hosting a Flash-based game at From now until Oct. 6, gamers can log onto the site to play “Zapataur,” a simple, side scrolling shooter that’s clearly tongue-in-cheek bad. Upon finishing the game, you’ll be asked to register at the site and choose one of the four arcades as a recipient for any points you scored during the game. At the end of the contest period, the arcade with the most total points wins.

Currently, Starbase is running second behind Arcade UFO, which has about double the points. Ideally, Stride, which already has donated $10,000 to keep Challenge Arcade in Philadelphia afloat a little longer, would help out all four arcades, but that’s apprently not how the contest works. If two arcades finish tied, the arcade with the most “Zapataur” players behind it will win. In other words, Save the Arcades is a bit like golf. The lowest average score will prevail in a tiebreaker.

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