While it seemed like video game arcades were going to disappear at one point, the power of nerd culture has allowed them to flourish in Australia. Video game arcades are now making a spirited resurgence, with nostalgia and a new appreciation of game cabinets now only growing stronger.
In honour of these hallowed gaming grounds, Legit Nerds have compiled a list of our favourite video game arcades around the country.
All arcade gamers have experienced it at some stage – the frantic scramble for coins to jam into a slot as a game’s timer dramatically counts down, marking the potential loss of precious progress.
Thankfully, this isn’t a problem at 1-Up Arcade in Morningside, where a flat $15 fee allows players to play the 30+ pinball machines or any of the 150+ arcade machines on the floor to their heart’s content.
While 1-Up Arcade doesn’t serve alcohol, it offers full venue hire outside of our regular trading hours to make corporate functions and birthday parties that little bit nerdier. And why wouldn’t you want to impress friends or colleagues with the largest publicly available selection of retro arcade games in Australia?
Timezone Surfers Paradise
Located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, Timezone Surfers Paradise covers 5000 square metres, making it the largest indoor family entertainment centre in Australia. Laser skirmish, dodgems, mini golf, and a mini bowling alley all proudly occupy this huge space, but it’s the arcade games that will have you staying for the long haul.
Some readers might be familiar with older arcades that house poorly preserved cabinets in desperate need of service. If you’re already cringing at the thought, you’ll be pleased to know that Timezone offer quite the opposite. Brand new machines, such as Luigi’s Mansion, Time Crisis 5, The Walking Dead and Point Blank X, keenly await your high scores.
To make things all the sweeter, Timezone’s cashless card system can offer great savings to help you enjoy more for your gaming dollar.
1989 Arcade Bar
1989 Arcade Bar marry the fun of arcade machines with cool ambience, and it pays off – the feature wall of 500 real VHS cases helps transport players to another time entirely (regardless of whether they lived through the 80s). The collection of games at 1989 is a curated selection of classic cabinets from the 80’s and 90’s, many of which have been lovingly restored, and all of which are meticulously maintained.
No arcade would be worth its salt without a high-score table, and those that manage to trump the top scores at 1989 will receive a free coffee (the caffeine of which will no doubt help you achieve more high scores).
The Palace Arcade
Perth's first ever arcade bar, The Palace Arcade is set to make sure competition will never be a problem. Owner Saran Bajaj has filled the space with 100 of his own vintage arcade games collected over the course of 15 years from locations all over the world.
Doubling as a bar, The Palace Arcade offers free games throughout the week, so your credits can be repurposed for craft beers or cocktails after a hard day at the office! Pre-loaded cards make paying for games on weekends easy, and the same cards can also be used to pay for both food and drinks.
Nestled in Melbourne’s Crown Entertainment Complex, Playtime is the arcade dreams are made of. Like most good arcades, the 150-plus games at Playtime consist of brand new and classic cabinets. Perfect for gamers of varied skill levels, there are standard cabinets next to exciting VR experiences, simulators and skill games. Plus, there’s a ticket-less prize system.
To help you stretch your arcade dollars further, Playtime’s gaming cards provide extra credit when you buy certain amounts, which means more fun for less! Better yet, after a bout of arcade action, you can check out the bowling alley or laser tag next-door.