Video games. They test our motor skills, hand eye coordination and allow us to settle conflicts in a controlled environment. And, with leaps and bounds in technology home consoles, personal computers and the internet, gaming in modern times is mostly enjoyed in the comforts of home. For those who yearn for the good old days, or you just want to stretch your legs and hang with your buds like the analog kids in Stranger Things, here’s a short list of five of the most fun arcades in the city.
EightyTwo is a popular, full-menu bar in the lauded Downtown L.A. Arts District. One room has video games and the other has a large selection of pristinely kept vintage pinball games. Extra points for the 90s action side scrollers like the Simpsons, Ninja Turtles, and a very rare X-Men game. You can even get down with Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker game. However, the main attraction here is the Street Fighter 2 cabinet that brings loads of good players to the scroll as well as the aging hipster who remembers a few combos. The Street Fighter matches are projected above the dance floor where the amazing DJs spin.
707 E 4th St, Los Angeles 90013
A relatively new hipster joint in Echo Park, Button Mash has a mix of popular 80s and 90s arcade games complimented by a tasty menu of Asian influenced bar food (veg and vegan options too). It’s a perfect date spot for casual gamers or a good way to break out of the weekend rut. It’s 21 and over after 8pm, but all ages during the day. Highlights include a vintage SNK cabinet with Samurai Showdown 3 which is the rarest 90s 2-D fighting game located in Los Angeles.
1391 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Family Arcade is the most traditional arcade on this short list. They have most of the newest and most relevant games as well as a few classics. Basketball, racing, fighting, shooting, music games, even pool and air hockey. This mom and pop operation really has it all. The staff is welcoming and helpful the place has its regular patrons, probably from the community college across the street, but feels like home to anyone with spare time and some change.
876 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 90029
Blipsy Bar started as an underground speakeasy in K-town almost two decades ago, and may have very easily been the first to start the “barcade” craze. Low-key and intimate, Blipsy’s specializes in games from the 80s. Dive bar aficionados rejoice!
369 Western Ave., Los Angeles 90004
Transport yourself back to the future here on the pier. The Redondo Beach Fun Factory is full of rare, well-kept games as well as a welcoming attitude. There are also some nostalgic carnival rides and games available in case your thumbs are tired, that give it a retro boardwalk feel. The soundtrack here consists of clicks, pings, and other sounds of gaming joy. Fun Factory is a great place to take the family and for a lunch break, fresh seafood for sale a few doors down. An all-time favorite.
123 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach 90277