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5 Rare & Classic Arcade Games to Play in Bars (And Where to Find Them)

Classic arcade games are popping up in bars more and more.

These bar games not only attract serious gamers, but others as well who are just looking to have a good time and try something new.

And yes, these vintage games are completely new (and strange) for many bar-goers. Most millennials have only seen classic arcade games on television or in movies. Or in an app version.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that these games don’t attract an older crowd as well. Playing a retro arcade game can be a pretty nostalgic experience for some.

Unlike the arcades of your youth, however, you can now enjoy these classic games while holding a beer or cocktail.

Yet while many of us have had a turn behind the joystick of popular games like Frogger or Pac Man, there are some classic arcade games that are so rare you aren’t likely to find them in working condition just anywhere.

If you’re on a mission to seek out bars that carry these rare and classic arcade games, you’ll definitely want to continue reading.

Get your quarters ready.

Classic Arcade Games

1. Asteroids

A vintage classic, Asteroids was released by Atari, Inc. in 1979.

Players must skillfully fly a spacecraft through an asteroid shower, shooting them down in order to survive.

To make this game even more difficult, flying saucers come into play and you must shoot them down as well while also avoiding enemy fire.

The game is said to have been inspired by several other classics that were similar, including Computer Space and Space Invaders. Take them down before they damage your spaceship or you’ll find yourself unable to move on to the next level.

Where to Play the Vintage Asteriods Arcade Game

Located in the heart of Portland, Ground Kontrol holds a large selection of arcade games and pinball machines.

With cocktails like the “Princess Peach”, the “Banana Spin Out”, and the “Falcon Punch” it’s certainly the kind of place you’d rather go when the kids are with their grandparents for the weekend.

If cocktails aren’t your thing, they also carry a slew of beers and a  menu that offers a variety of meals, snacks, and desserts.

2. Space Invaders

Speaking of Space Invaders, this arcade game is quite rare as well and isn’t found very often in bars these days.

Originally released in Japan in 1978, it is considered to be one of the earliest shooting games.

Players fight off alien invaders with a laser gun in order to earn points and move on to the next level. Regardless of the game’s simple objective, it quickly gained popularity. And after finding success as an arcade console, it was converted for use on other systems such as Atari.

Where to Play Space Invaders

One of Los Angeles’ most recognized arcade bars, Eighty Two has over 50 arcade games and pinball machines to enjoy, including Space Invaders.

Their signature cocktails all carry names to fit the theme, for example “Dr. Mario” and “Gordon’s Cup”.

Most than just a bar with an arcade room, Eighty Two also has a DJ who plays regularly, an outdoor patio for those looking for fresh air, and weekly competitions for any serious pinball players and arcade gamers.

Before you head there, however, it’s best to check their website for an updated list as their collection changes often.

Related: Check out these tabletop arcade games you can play at home

3. Tapper

Probably the most desirable arcade console on the list, Tapper was released in 1983 sponsored by Budweiser.

The game allows players to take the role of a bartender in a bar full of patrons. You must properly serve them and collect your tips before it’s too late.

When they were accused of promoting alcohol to minors, the game was re-released the following year so that players could only serve root beer.

Where to Play the Original Tapper Arcade Game

The Emporium in Chicago is one of the few owners of the Budweiser version of Tapper, available for their guests to play. Additionally, they also have nearly 50 arcade games, a dozen or so pinball machines, and over two dozen beers on draft.

This bar attracts a fun crowd with live music or a DJ. And while they don’t serve food, they do encourage their guests to check out the local restaurants and bring the food back to their bar to enjoy alongside one of their cocktails.

4. The Star Wars Trilogy

This one is a little newer, but already a classic.

Released in 1998, the Star Wars Trilogy arcade game follows the story of the first three movies. Players are challenged with two missions and two boss levels for each movie title, offering significant practice waving around a lightsaber.

As a fan favorite, this rare arcade game features a 3D rail shooter that allows you to come face-to-face with both Darth Vader and Boba Fett, neither who need to be defeated in order to move on.

Where to Play the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade Game

Alongside several other rare arcade games, the Star Wars Trilogy can be found at The Four Quarters in London.

With two locations in the city, you can enjoy one of the bars signature cocktails or a beer from their wide selection on tap while playing any of the number of classic arcade games they have available, including Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Defender.

Whether you’re traveling or live in the area, it’s a must-see spot where you’ll be able to check several rare games off your list.

5. Crossbow

As one of the highest quality games of its time, Crossbow was well received after its release in 1983.

Players are on a mission to save their friends from threats by using a crossbow-shaped controller to shoot any obstacles in their way.

Once the player has successfully gotten their friends across the screen without fatal injury, they’ll be able to move on to the next level.

Don’t shoot your friends though, or you’ll end up having to drop more quarters on this game than you expected.

Where to Play Crossbow

Found at Barcade New York, among a number of other classic arcade games, this bar is known for its wide variety of local and imported beers on tap.

This place never grows tired with regularly scheduled events to keep things exciting. If you don’t like to interrupt your time gaming with meals, then Barcade is definitely the right place for you this weekend.

They have a full menu of burgers, sandwiches, tacos, wings and anything else you can think of that would be offered to munch on in a bar. You hardly have to step away from an arcade console to make your order with one of the bartenders.

With locations all over the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area and more being added all the time, you might be able to find this bar near you sooner than you’d think.

Whether you’re a serious gamer or looking for something fun to do this weekend, these arcade themed bars are a great addition to the standard line up of bar games.

Be careful though –  it’s easy to get hooked once you start playing.

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1 thought on “5 Rare & Classic Arcade Games to Play in Bars (And Where to Find Them)”

  1. Hello i have a burning question maybe you can help me in the movie Rudy there is a bar scene where they ( rudy ,father, brothers and Pete ) are playing that slider game like bowling or something to that affect what is that GAME called?

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