The rise of the home video game console did put a major dent in the arcade business, but there are still some amazing places in NYC to spend your hard-earned quarters. When the lighting’s right, just squint and it can be 1982 all over again. Here are the best video arcades in New York City. By Lawrence Bonk.
388 Union Ave
When you were a kid, soda pop and french fries were all you needed to get your game on. Now, however, you are an adult. Life can be annoying, and at the end of the day, a beer (or eight) would be nice. Barcade has got you covered. It’s a classic video arcade with tons of cabinets from your youth. It’s also a bar. The games are all just a quarter, which makes for some cheap, fun times. Art can finally imitate life as you play “Tapper” while inebriated. Good luck with that.
1570 60th St
Bowling alleys have also experienced a steep decline since their glory days. So it makes sense that a bowling alley/video arcade combo would tickle twice the nostalgia bones. Maple Lanes has it all. The lanes are plentiful and reasonably priced. The game room is fully stocked with classics and new titles alike. The food court does french fries in that way that only bowling alley food courts can pull off. Wii bowlers are not invited.
Adventurers Family Entertainment Center
1824 Shore Pkwy
Way out in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn lies this Adventures, the most charming family entertainment center in all the land. This is the kind if place they just don’t make anymore. There are kiddie rides for the, well, kiddies. Mini-golf for the putt putt devotees, and of course there are video games. Adventures boasts an entire arcade, in fact. This baby Coney Island is a mecca for kids and, for the Brooklyn born, a place where memories are made.
Dave & Buster’s
234 W 42nd St
Yes. This is a dreaded chain. Yes. It also resides in one of the worst places on earth, Times Square. Still, this branch of the D&B empire does a lot of things right. The game selection is undeniably cool, which includes certain classics being projected on a big screen. The arcade here does a good job of mixing old and new, and when you finally get bored you can just get drunk and start all over again. Brave the mass of tourists and give it a shot.
Coney Island Arcade
30-19 W 12th St
This arcade seemed to have been frozen in time somewhere in the mid 1990s. It doesn’t have the newest of games, it’s grimier than a Bushwick after-party and it’s often filled with clueless Coney Island tourists. It does have a ton of fun games, though. It also sports some of the cheapest skeeball in the city. Plus, it just feels cool to be hanging around Coney Island and playing classic arcade cabinets. Like you are a part of history. Dorky history, sure. But still history.
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Lawrence Bonk is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn.