10 of America’s Best Arcades
The American Arcade, an image of classic family fun filled with diner milkshakes and the clinking sound of quarters. The decade of the 1980’s was filled with these places. But industries change, prices rise and fall, and as the decades shifted into a world filled with in-home entertainment the great arcades from the days of Tron began to disappear. Today, the image of the arcade is one parents tend to hold disdain towards. They are ridden with money-grubbing games that spit out tickets for potential prizes guised by the occasional Jurassic Park or Tetris machine. However, some arcades still hold to their roots, holding onto classic titles that cost nothing more than a quarter–some even with the option of alcohol.
Here are some of the best classic arcades in America today. Get your game on.
1. Playland Arcade: Santa Monica, CA
Located in sunny Santa Monica right off the pier, Playland Arcade is a family-owned gaming haven that has been around for over 50 years. Playland houses everything from skeeball and DDR to classic arcade games like PacMan and Street Fighter right on the Pacific Ocean’s front door.
2. Barcade: Brooklyn, NY
What happens when you mix various craft beers on tap with arcade games from the 70’s and 80’s– classic titles that only cost 25 cents to play and evoke feelings of pure blissful nostalgia? Go to Barcade in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY to find out (or check out their new locations in Manhattan, East Village, Jersey City, and Philadelphia). Barcade was born from the minds of beer and video game lovers, and those passions are indefinitely displayed in both realms.
3. Galloping Ghost: Chicago, IL
The inside of the Galloping Ghost, located in Chicago, looks very much like a gaming convention… and with over 440 arcade machines that is a just comparison. The great thing? The arcade just charges 15 dollars at the door for an entire day of play. No quarters. No gimmicks. Just classic arcade fun.
4. Musee Mecanique: San Francisco, CA
With free admission and over 300 antique machines and games that range from hand-cranked music boxes to retro video game cabinets, Musee Mecanique is an emporium that evokes the inner-child in all of us. Located right off the famous Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, this little “mechanical museum” provides attendees with an interactive blast through the past.
5. Dorkys Arcade: Tacoma, WA
Created in 2010, Dorkys Arcade in Tacoma, WA quickly gained popularity after becoming a part of Keith Apicary’s US Arcade Tour because of its location and overall vintage style. It offers up classic bar food, sandwiches, and beer to accompany its selection of 80’s video games, none of which cost over 50 cents.
6. Game Galaxy: Nashville, TN
Known for its fighter gamer tournaments and country vibe, the Game Galaxy is nestled in Nashville, TN (with extensions in Huntsville, AL and Rivergate, TN). The best part? Six dollars for an entire day of play. You can even setup and hose your own tournaments.
7. Manitou Spring Penny Arcade: Manitou Spring, CO
Located in the quaint Colorado town of Manitou Springs and beloved my locals and tourists, the Manitou Spring Penny Arcade is exactly what is sounds like. It’s known for its inexpensive games and funnel cakes, so go get ;em while you’re in town.
8. Castles ‘n Coasters: Phoenix, AZ
Castles ‘n Coasters may be a tourist destination and amusement park, but within it beats the heart of mammoth arcade spanning 12,000 square feet and three stories of classic arcade games and rows of pinball machines. Rows upon rows… upon rows.
9. Tornado Terry’s: Keller, Texas
Acting as an oasis in the middle-of-nowhere its home state, Kellar Texa’s rightfully named Tornado Terry’s is a family-owned arcade the combines the classic with the new. 80% of this arcade consists of “free” games to play for a single price of $13.50. The other 20% is similar to more common and contemporary arcades featuring multiple ticket machines and prizes.
10. Funspot: Laconia, NH
Funspot, located in Laconia NH, was founded in 1952 by an enthusiast named Bob Lawton. Dubbed to be the largest arcade in the world it holds over 600 games, 300 of which are classic. For a change of scenery it also offers bowling and mini-golf. But we’re still stuck on the 600 arcade games part.