The sun is shining, the beach beckons… what better time to head inside and be comforted by the ghostly glow of video games’ screens? While Roxy’s A4Cade, the joint venture between Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and Area Four Pizza, might not be opening in Cambridge until later this summer, these three arcades around New England offer old-school titles, cutting-edge fun, and even the occasional opportunity to grab a souvenir.
Founded in 1952 and holder of the “largest arcade in the world” distinction, Funspot, which boasts over 600 games, also provides coin-op historians to take a look back at video games’ past. The American Classic Arcade Museum, located inside the complex, includes rare titles like Computer Space, which debuted in 1971, alongside pizza-joint staples like Mr. Do! and Frogger. Those interested in more analog forms of entertainment can take in skee-ball, mini golf, and bowling (tenpin or candlepin).Funspot Family Entertainment Center, 579 Endicott St. N., Laconia, NH. (603) 366-4377.
Those people looking for the very latest in arcade entertainment probably already know about Round 1, a nationwide chain of amusement centers that specializes in the latest games imported from Asia. Round 1 boasts a wide variety of rhythm titles for those who want to put their aspiring DJ or guitar-playing skills to the test, as well as unexpected offerings like the simple, yet utterly satisfying, Table Flip. (Its goal is pretty much outlined in its title.) Rack up enough points across the arcade’s offerings and you can win prizes, although be warned: The games are much more expensive than the quarter-per-play offerings of old. For those who are video-gamed out, Round 1 also offers bowling, billiards, darts, ping pong, karaoke, a full bar menu, and purikura—a Japanese-style photo booth that allows people to not only strike a pose, but to give themselves digital touch-ups and add Snapchat-style overlays to their pictures.Round 1, 2 Galleria Mall, Taunton. (508) 386-3540.
Something Old, Something New
The team behind Salem’s Bit Bar, which “entered beta” in June, met while discussing their favorite classic consoles and pinball games, and they eventually turned their shared obsession into Bit Fest, an occasional craft brewery-based showcase of old-school arcade amusements. That turned into their taking over the restaurant space in the Old Salem Jail, a structure built in 1813 and converted into a mixed-use complex in 2009. Bit Bar’s game roster includes arcade titans like Ms. Pac-Man and Crystal Castles, as well as ’90s nostalgia stokers like The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Its full food and drink menu includes cocktails named after classic video-game characters, walking tacos stuffed with chicken or shrimp and a slew of beers.Bit Bar, St. Peter St. and Bridge St., Salem. email@example.com.