Turns out, there are way more arcades than there was space to spotlight last time. When we signed off, we invited readers to suggest some of their personal favs, and the response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. We got dozens of awesome recs for amusement parlors, both new and vintage, in seemingly every state-and even some great ones operating overseas! As always, our readers’ feedback is nothing but the best, and now there are a whole bunch of stops to add to our own geeky bucket lists. Here are a few (along with the comments suggesting them).
New Hampshire’s Funspot got the most love in our talkback. It’s been around since the 50s and challenges the Galloping Ghost’s claim of being the world’s largest arcade. Which is bigger? Well, that depends on how you define an arcade, really. Funspot may have 100 less cabinets, but its three levels also include bowling alleys, bingo, and mini-golf; so there’s a wider variety of attractions for a greater spread of age groups. It also has a restaurant and tavern, so we’re truly talking about a true arcade-as-amusement-park experience here.
Amy Baranoski I came here to say one thing and I’m pleased I’m not the only one…. Funspot! I may or may not have had a big party there the day after I got married. The whole top floor…with the 80s games and music. It’s my nostalgic happy place.
Mary Kate Ryan Funspot does have Pong, along with other games I’ve actually played before. Laconia, New Hampshire
Jerry McKenzie FUNSPOT in Lanconia, NH – 3 floors of old shool awesomeness
[email protected]_Gamer don’t forget about @funspotnh
Portland’s Ground Kontrol has a lot of fans, too. Again, in contrast to the arcades we profiled last time, this spot boasts a wider variety of amusements. In addition to five dozen cabinets, there are a couple dozen pinball machines, and live entertainment that includes comedy shows, trivia nights and, most fittingly, Rock Band karaoke. (What do you want to bet is the most popular Bowie selection, though?)
Shannon Wright Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade !
Keith Jones Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade – Portland Oregon.
@djshiva Gotta give some props to @GroundKontrol in Portland, too.
@synthstreams forgot @Groundkontrol
Neon Retro Arcade
Another establishment that thankfully relieves players of the necessity to keep their pockets stuffed. Games are set to “free play.” Just pay a $10 fee for every hour of playtime, and slip through decades of gaming. Start with Burger Time, move on to House of the Dead, then finish with Walking Dead pinball. The location is quite appealing, too (as our social media maestro Kevin is keen to note below). Right in the heart of beautiful Old Town Pasadena, Neon Retro Arcade can be the center point of a day that includes a Central Park stroll and a shopping spree at Game Empire Pasadena, or a night with stops at classy bars like Kings Row Gastropub and the Dog Haus Biergarten.
Micah Bevitz neonretroarcade.com/
Kevin O I’d also suggest Neon Retro Arcade in Pasadena, which (a) I love, (b) is right across from TWO great bars, (c) is down the street from a great game shop, which is itself (d) across the street from another great bar I HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL YOU GUYS SO DON’T GO JUDGING ME.
National Videogame Arcade
A bonus rec! Funspot and the Galloping Ghost may seem like video game museums, but the National Videogame Arcade actually is one. Affiliated with Nottingham Trent University, it encompasses nearly all aspects of games. Research groups explore how gaming can aide stroke rehabilitation, while an ever-changing “History of Videogames” exhibit cycles through memorabilia (like that odd, historical curiosity, the Virtual Boy). Look for Mission Control, too–an interactive exclusive about the art of making games!
Nathan Dowdell There’s the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, in the UK. Not a traditional arcade (it’s also a museum showcasing the history of computer gaming), but close.
Once more, we see the arcade live on despite steep competition from home consoles, either by adapting to new audiences, or by majorly expanding what they’ve always done best. Of course, the question of “why?” persists (why arcades keep going on, why they seemed to decline in the first place, etc.) and that could sustain an entire discussion, too. Our readers had some sharp and incisive comments on the matter.
Andrzej Visentini Arcade centres survive not because of games (albeit that helps) but because the Real Arcade Atmosphere cannot be replicated at home. Even if you put the cabinet in your room (my friend did that with Metal Slug series 1-5, X included), it is not the same. That’s why Arcades will survive – that and nostalgia (which fueled a LOT of game development since 2007).
Lj LeBlanc Arcades died out because the proprietors were greedy F#$@%.s These survived because of this… “No coins. No tokens. Everything’s set to ‘free play.'”
We’d love to keep profiling arcades, so please keep dropping suggestions. We’d especially like to hear about more great spots outside the U.S. The arcade experience is universal!
Featured Image Credit: Ground Kontrol