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Ready, Player One? 6 of the Best Arcades to Visit in New York City

Vintage video game arcade
Chris Osburn
Written by Chris Osburn

Start spreading the news, limbering up your wrists and saving your quarters! As if you needed yet another reason to visit New York, here’s a look at a few of the best of its many amazing video game arcades.

From old school throwbacks to next generation technology, gaming is big fun in the Big Apple. The city is home to some of the coolest arcades ranging from the family oriented and kid friendly to grownup playgrounds serving craft beer and cocktails.

We recommend having a blast at one of these six arcades next time you visit.

Barcade

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Barcade launched in Williamsburg in 2004 promising customers a winning combo of classic 80s video games and American craft beer in a neighborhood bar setting. High scores and local fame were achieved almost instantaneously and today Barcade boasts multiple locations across the city (and even a few bars in a handful of other towns). The original Union Street bar is arguably the best of Barcade’s three New York outlets. But you’ll find a quality lineup of brews and an awesome collection of games in excellent condition at them all.

Sunshine Laundromat

In the back of this laundromat in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn is a (not all that) secret game room with 20 classic pinball machines. Oh, and it’s a bar too, serving a smart selection of craft beers. Heaven? Pretty much.

Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center

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Tiny and jam packed Chinatown Fair on Mott Street (near the Manhatten Bridge) has something for everyone (as long as the cacophony of the gazillion games beeping, buzzing and whirring at the same time doesn’t drive them crazy). Hit games at this downtown institution include Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and Street Fighter plus all sorts of ticket, novelty, driving, and shooting games.

Jump Into the Light


As “America’s first virtual reality cinema and playlab,” Jump Into the Light offers a glowing and entrancing chance to glimpse the future of gaming from New York’s historic Lower East Side (on Orchard street just below East Houston). Where else are you going to be able to walk within a painting by Salvador Dali or print a 3D selfie? Only in New York!

Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade

Retro gaming at its best and most affordable (for Manhattan anyway) is the selling point at Two-Bit’s. This Lower East Side dive on Essex street is a great place to grab a drink as well, be it a craft beer, cocktail, or glass of wine.

Modern Pinball NYC Arcade, Party Place & Museum


An actual museum and a very fun place to pass the time or throw a party – Modern Pinball on Third Avenue (between 26th and 27th street) boasts one of the world’s greatest and most complete collections of pinball machines. There’s even an hourly flat rate for unlimited gaming, which is perfect for ultimate pinball fans.

Owner and top-ranked pinball player, Steve Zahler, knows his machines inside out and wants everybody with an interest to have the same access. “We’re on a mission to bring back this beloved and historic entertainment art form,” Zahler explains on Modern Pinball’s website, adding that his establishment is a place for people can come “to appreciate the wonderful art, science, and history of pinball.”

Got a favorite arcade in the Big Apple that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments section below! 

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About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.

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