Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

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Gleebergloben123
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Joined: April 8th, 2015, 12:06 am

Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Gleebergloben123 » September 5th, 2018, 4:59 pm

This arcade is absolutely amazing, about a 15 minute drive from Pittsburgh Intl' Airport and about 20 minutes where I grew up. I live in southern California now and we try to get back to visit family and friends in the Burgh. First, the wayback machine...

I grew up during the Golden Age of Arcades, from about 1978 to 1984. I delivered newspapers daily so I always had extra quarters, going to the arcade at the mall and just being taken away by the sounds and lights. Told these stories before but during the summer of 82, a local pizza shop/arcade opened up in my town about a 2 mile walk (uphill both ways) in western Pennsylvania. The arcade owner gave free 16 inch pizzas to each week's winner of 8 or 10 games, and I ended up winning about 45 pizzas that summer. Had a single mom, disabled brother, older sister, and we were poor, so my mom was stoked by this pizza windfall.

From 82 to about 85, my 2 friends and I would go up to Pittsburgh Friday (early during the summer), watch WWF Wrestling on Friday, sleep at my friend's grandmother's house Friday night, and then it was either Pirates or Pens Saturday evening before heading back home. Other than that in the Burgh, all we did was hit the arcades. Food Fight, Wacko, Bagman, Ms. Pac Man, Tempest, Reactor, Arabian, Galaga, all these great great games. During this time, there were about 8-10 arcades in the city. First time I saw Dragon's Lair in June 1984 at Smithfield News, my mouth was agape.

So back to the arcade in Hopewell PA. https://pinballpa.com/

250 arcade games, 150 pinball games from the 50's to now, and get this. NO NO NO NO TICKET GAMES! I REPEAT, NO TICKET GAMES! YOU KNOW THOSE GAMES THAT GIVE TICKETS? YEAH, THEY DON'T HAVE THOSE. Almost all these games are all originals! And these things are beautifully restored, games from the 50's to the 90's in pristine condition. They even had a 60's mechanical game where you shot actual water at "flames" at the back, and it actually worked!

You pay 20 bucks for 2 hours of unlimited games, and when my friend (who I went to Pittsburgh with as kids) and my two sons qualified for the family pass (up to 4) for $40, 2 hours. Or you can pay for a day pass. You will absolutely lose yourself in the number of games and the 2 hours goes by like that. And the quality of the games will also knock your socks off. I had the chance to talk to the owners, and the one dude is a black-belt in restoring these old games. In 2013 my same friend and I went to Funspot Arcade in New Hampshire (world famous) and the games at the arcade in Hopewell, PA, are in SOOOO much better shape. Every time my wife, 2 sons and I go back, we always try to hit this arcade at least twice, while my wife takes my mom out shopping. Win win! Also, there's a great ice-cream shop right across the street, Brewster's Ice Cream.

For all of my VGC friends here, if you loved classic arcades growing up, or if you've never experienced arcades but would love to in all their glory, go here now. My kids, 17 and 10, said this Pinball PA is better than Disneyland.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Retro STrife » September 5th, 2018, 5:55 pm

Looks pretty amazing, and looks like it really pulls off the arcade atmosphere..essential for any great arcade. I have a personal bias for Funspot arcade in NH, so you'll have a hard time convincing me that somewhere else is better, but I'd still check this one out if I'm ever near Pittsburgh.

Besides that great arcade, PA is a real hotbed for great retro gaming experiences. TooManyGames convention in Oaks, PA was the first notable gaming convention that I ever heard of in the entire Northeast (started in 2004) and it's still going strong all these years later. Pinfest in Allentown, PA is considered the best pinball convention in the entire Northeast, and maybe further. Replay FX is an insanely huge convention in Pittsburgh each summer with hundreds of pinball and arcade games. Plus it's right next door to New Jersey, which has Silverball Museum (great pinball museum), Digital Press Store (my favorite gaming store), and the "A Video Game Con" convention. I'm from New England and there's some good stuff this up way too.

Plenty of good stuff in the Northeast, and it's crazy how much the hobby has grown in the past 10 years or so. Back when I started collecting in the early 2000s, there were no retro game stores, arcades, or conventions that even existed, and now it seems like they're popping up everywhere.

Gleebergloben123
Posts: 189
Joined: April 8th, 2015, 12:06 am

Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Gleebergloben123 » September 5th, 2018, 6:14 pm

RetroStrife, Funspot in NH was an absolute blast when I went in 2013. The games, the candlestick bowling on the 1st floor, the massive outdoor structure right down the road from the arcade. From a nostalgia point, Funspot is better than Pinball PA.

One advantage for Pinball PA is the games are in immaculate shape. At Funspot several games weren’t working and several others had distorted graphics. Not at Pinball PA. Also, the potential of Pinball PA to expand (it’s part of this big one story plaza that I’m sure has cheap rent) is intriguing. But in the end, deciding which is better between Funspot and Pinball PA is akin to arguing which vacation spot is better, Hawaii or Bora Bora...both choices are awesome.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Retro STrife » September 5th, 2018, 6:30 pm

You are definitely right with that vacation comparison. One thing I can tell from your photos is that Pinball PA has a much better pinball lineup than Funspot. I was never a pinball fan growing up, but it has really grown on me the past few years and now I enjoy them as much as arcade games. Funspot has 10-15 machines, but it's a pretty weak selection. As the name implies, Pinball PA looks loaded with good pinball machines.

NH used to have an insane pinball arcade called Pinball Wizard, filled to the brim with classic pinball machines, but it closed down a couple years ago. But before that happened, NH might have been among the best arcade states in the country, just with those two alone.

Personally I haven't had an issue with broken games at Funspot. They definitely have several under repair at any given time (only natural for a place with hundreds of old machines), but overall the games seem to run well during the times I've been there (most recently this past spring).

Robotrek
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Joined: June 6th, 2016, 9:24 pm

Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Robotrek » September 5th, 2018, 7:05 pm

LOVE this place! It's so damned much fun! I haven't been in a while.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 5th, 2018, 7:12 pm

I really enjoyed these pics! Thanks for taking the time to post. I'm definitely stopping by that arcade next time I'm in the area.

newmodelarmy
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Joined: January 16th, 2017, 8:10 pm

Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby newmodelarmy » September 5th, 2018, 7:48 pm

Love these pics and brings back many good memories. Man I miss the arcades of old!

GTS
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Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby GTS » September 5th, 2018, 8:04 pm

I've decided I'm going to Pittsburgh for my next vacation. Not kidding.

Robotrek
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Joined: June 6th, 2016, 9:24 pm

Re: Greatest arcade in known universe near Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Robotrek » October 17th, 2018, 7:22 pm

Was just there today. Seems some of the stuff has been let go. A lot of the pinball games have problems. That said, the staff is VERY attentive to problems when you inform them there is an issue. Then again, I was the ONLY person there aside from a father and his son. 10 dollar admission on the weekday is nice, too!


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