Arcades in Unexpected Places

Blame it all on new consoles, but the age of arcades seems to be over. There are fewer and they are far and in-between. People used to enjoy the fun social aspect of playing with others, but as technology improved, the demand for arcades fell. This is still not the end of arcades and gaming in public.

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Barcadia is a bar where anyone 21 and older can enjoy a cold beer and a quick match of Mortal Kombat. The one I visited was in Fort Worth and can easily be missed if you’re not paying attention. If you do find it, get ready for a good line-up of arcade cabinets that include Qbert, Galaga, Dig-Dug and more. Don’t put your drink on the cabinet though, that’s a party foul and could lead to an expensive mistake.

Crowds are fun and collected. You won’t find people jumping around and yelling across the room. There’s a slow pace when inside, as most people sit down, talk and play. College students, people coming in after work and those looking to enjoy an arcade can be found here.

I overheard and man and a woman discussing work one day and a group of TCU students shooting pool the next. The variety of people you can meet is wide and feels open to talk to. Some people stood next to each other as they played their game and others stood back and watched. Seeing that makes you feel like arcades never left.

This allows people to relax and feel comfortable. The bar is mixed will with arcade and the atmosphere works to alter the perception of it being just another standard bar. People seemed to talk more and the cheering heard kept the air electric. Each game was its own ice-breaker and it was quite obvious that people enjoy the company while playing.

Not 21 or over? Not interested in drinking alcohol? Still looking to game in public? Well Java Gaming Café in Carrollton, Texas is home to Xbox One’s, PS4, PC and more. At $5 an hour, anyone could take their pick of a line-up of games and consoles and play until their time is done. The crowd, however, is very different from Barcadia.

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There seems to be an intensity in a few patrons as they battle competitively online. Tournaments, head-to-heads and free-plays are all found here.

It’s a great place for groups of friends to battle it out in Super Smash Bros. or for someone to experience a console they don’t have. Each console had a game for everyone and if someone is the type to want to play long, memberships were available.

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Memberships gave a better rate for play time and different bonuses. The café has special events such as $2 Tuesdays and tournaments. Don’t have a team to compete with? That’s fine, because Java is a great place to meet people and perhaps future teammates.

Despite the dwindling numbers of arcades, gaming in public is still going strong. You just might have to look in unexpected areas.

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