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Retro Arcade Gaming…in the Adirondacks?!?

Hidden Lake in the AdirondacksMy recent family vacation to the Adirondacks was a great respite from work, school, and the seemingly endless yard work that has consumed the better part of my summer. The weather was great—just right for a scenic boat ride on the lakes—and other than a marauding bear outside the inn in which we were staying (yes, a real bear), the trip was filled with quality family time, relaxing evenings, and great gaming. Great gaming? This is not a concept normally associated with an Adirondacks vacation. However, CHEGheads are always on the lookout for cool gaming opportunities and, boy, did I ever find one in the most unlikely place. An evening trip for ice cream in Old Forge, New York, brought the kids and me to the Adirondack Pizzeria, a small pizza shop on the main drag in town. As we ate our chocolate-vanilla twists, I noticed the neon sign above the arcade located alongside the shop. Inside was an unexpected surprise…

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The arcade was filled with gamers on a warm Tuesday evening and their favorites appeared to be multiplayer shooters like Revolution X, Maximum Force, and Area 51. Sports games, NBA Showtime, for example, seemed popular, as were the simulator games located near the center of the room. There was a line for the popular skateboarding game Kick the Tail. I gladly waited and was pleasantly surprised when I executed a perfect double heelflip followed immediately by a frontside 360. Great game—and who knew I could skateboard so well?

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But the real surprise wasn’t these more recent shooter and simulator games situated near the entrance, but rather the classic arcade games sitting unassumingly along the back wall of the arcade. Many of the iconic games from the late 1970s and early 80s were there, including Space Invaders, Ms. Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong. Several cabinets had screen and controller condition issues, but were a blast to play regardless. The mostly 30—something crowd near these games piloted F-14 Tomcats on Sega’s After Burner, sprinted and pole vaulted on Konami’s Track & Field, and the distinctive sound of Gottlieb’s Q*bert could be heard all the while in the background.

Skee Ball

My young children weren’t nearly as impressed with these games as they were with the numerous redemption games located adjacent to my childhood favorites. No arcade would be complete without some variation of skee ball, and no child’s arcade experience complete without the inevitable disappointment that comes when children realize it takes lots (read as “Big BerthaMore than Dad is willing to pay for”) of tickets to win the big stuffed animal behind the counter. Their favorite game, interestingly, was a somewhat creepy redemption game called Feed Big Bertha. Bertha ate at least five dollars in quarters; a small price to pay for the fun the kids had throwing balls into her opening and closing mouth. We all had a great time in this chance trip to the arcade. My kids left with a few small prizes they won with their tickets and I left with the high score on Ms. Pac-Man. Nothing better than running across some old classics. Have you had an experience where you happened across some old arcade games in an unlikely place?