Nostalgic for Japanese video games from the late 1970s and ‘80s? Barcade, a combination bar and arcade, recently opened in Chelsea with about a dozen classics from Japanese game developers such as Taito, Nintendo, Namco, and Konami.
The games are still only a quarter (there are change machines on site), and the machines are in great condition. Marvel at the old-school graphics of Space Invaders, Galaga, Mappy, Crazy Climber, and Frogger.
Box against Piston Hurricane in Nintendo’s Punch-Out, and test your strength in that game’s spin-off, Arm Wrestling, which was released only in North America in 1985.
You won’t find Pac-Man, but Ms. Pac-Man is here. There’s generally a crowd of people around that console.
But who needs Pac-Man when there’s one of the most popular arcade games in the history of arcade games: Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong, with its barrel-throwing ape and barrrel-jumping carpenter, was one of the first video games to be a narrative. Rather than simply shooting at things, video game players could follow a storyline that was the precursor to the wildly popular Mario franchise.
“Newer” Japanese games are Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) and X-Men (1992).
There are a host of non-Japanese games as well; click here for a full list.
The best part of Barcade is that it’s a game room for adults. There are shelves between each machine on which patrons can rest their beers. It’s important to have both hands free while playing games, of course.
The original Barcade opened in Williamsburg in 2004 and has locations in Jersey City and Philadelphia. The Chelsea location is reportedly twice as large as the Barcade in Brooklyn, with 24 American beers and tap and pub food on the menu. Barcade’s next location will be on St. Mark’s, in the space formerly occupied by Mondo Kim’s.