One thing I love about travel is when I stumble upon completely unexpected places that just hit all of the ‘awesome’ buttons. On a recent trip to Davenport in Iowa, me and the other half came across Analog Arcade Bar. Now, I’m not even really a gamer and I fell in love with this place. Not only did I enjoy it, but I couldn’t help but wish my parents could see this place too! They always go on about how it’s a shame that pubs and bars aren’t like how they used to be without arcade games like PacMac and Space Invaders…well I’ve found the ultimate dream bar that could hold the attention of several generations quite easily!
Even at just gone Noon, we couldn’t help but stop for a beer. Even the beers were retro style, with taps that looked like an old GameBoy, one with Sonic the Hedgehog and another with Dance Mat arrows. I opted for the ‘GameBoy’ beer, a pale ale that was actually really nice, I’d recommend it (sometimes real ales can be a bit hit and miss!!). At 12.30pm on a Saturday afternoon, it seemed to be happy hour…with each drink we were given 2 game tokens.
Each token is worth $0.25. There was a machine that would change up $5 or $10 bills, otherwise the bar sold tokens of any value. The majority of games were only a Quarter too so it felt like great value for money!
The Machines – The important bit right?!
- Classics. The proper old school arcade machines. PacMan, Asteroids, Tetris, Mario Bros and Donkey Kong to name a few. I enjoyed playing one called ‘Budweiser Tapper’ with a little mini beer tap joy stick to pour pints! I was hopeless at it though!
- Racing Games. Both upright machines and the ones with the car seats (including a Daytona machine!).
- Pinball Machines. Of course there were pinball machines. 18 of them to be exact! All different themes such as: Lord of the Rings, Ghostbusters, The Simpsons and Star Trek.
- Shooting and Fighting. I was gutted that they didn’t have a cartoony shooting game like Point Blank (although I’m not surprised…I would have been bankrupt though if they had…even at $0.25 a go!), they were more like ‘Time Crisis’ blood and guts games.
- Sports. I love these types of games! There were 3 Skee Ball (Iceball) machines, 2 basketball hoops, Boomerang air hockey (really strange and hard to play!) and Shuffleboard Bowling.
- 4 Player. PacMan Battle. My new obsession, so much so we looked into how much it was to buy one…$6000 for the record. Not so much a retro game but an updated 4 player version of PacMan where when you eat the big dot you turn giant and then attempt to eat your fellow player’s PacMen! This game was more expensive at $0.50 a person and it’s much better with more people to play against, rather than the computer.
- Prize Games. There were 2 prize machines…well the prize being rubber bouncy balls. Gravity Hill was ridiculously addictive. You rock a mountain from side to side to get a ball bearing to go UP the hill. Prize or no prize I was determined to get to the top! Kick and Catch was addictive too, you flick the ball up (kinda like a Pinball Machine) and then it falls fast through a bunch of pins and you have to try and catch it in a little football players hands.
- Consoles. Yep, the cartridge ones, no disks here! I’m not sure if they are free to play though, I didn’t use them.
- Board Games. There were several tables set up with free giant Jenga too!
We went back in the evening and the place was PACKED. Most games had a wait and there were no free tokens with drinks. It’s also a 21+ bar and EVERYONE gets ID’d on the door. One thing I was impressed with (strangely) was the fact that every game, inside every toilet stall and even next to the sinks, there were cup holders. I never leave a drink unattended so this feature made me feel safe!
As someone that’s not a big drinker, it made a change to be in a bar and have something other to do than just drink. It’s a perfect excuse to let out your inner child and just have some fun 🙂
Location: 302 Brady Street, Davenport, IOWA
Do you have a favourite arcade game?