I feel that pictures speak louder than words, but I will detail the events of Insert Coin(s) here. For a more detailed review, you may be interested in reading my Yelp review.

I attended both the “soft opening” and the official “Grand Opening” of the venue. Thursday night’s outing gave me a less crowded and more intimate view of the place, as well as a chance to briefly speak with Chris LaPorte, the owner of the place, who was busily running around to make sure everything was up and running. But chat with him briefly I did, and I think that he has a good mindset about the place.

The arcade is a rarity these days. Something from an era sadly long gone. But “vintage” and “retro” is in these days, and arcade games are practically museum pieces. There’s an understanding that gaming needs to appeal to a larger scale audience than just “us”. So it’s an arcade. And a bar. And it has some dancing and a DJ lounge (bear in mind some of these pics were taken before the lights went down, allowing me to better show details of the artwork. The “dark” pics are what it looks like “live”).

I’m going to get into the basic “What I Like”, “Needs Work”, and “Wish List”. Any new place is going to take a while to fully work out the bugs and find its voice, so I remain optimistic and open to its progress.

What I Like

It’s got a good selection of games. Things you usually don’t see in arcades, even with a few vintage machines. Star Wars comes to mind, and I’ve never played the original Tapper outside of an emulator, much less with the real arcade controls.

Cool artwork. There are some excellent art pieces here, ranging from repainted NES consoles, to photos of original Star Wars figures, to paintings of Robo Force. Robo Force, for crying out loud. I thought I was the only person left on the planet who remembered those toys.

Nice staff. From security to the bartenders to the owner, it’s a good crew of people. I got there earlier than the opening (hence the lighted photos), but they let me in to check out the venue anyway. “I’ve been waiting for months for you guys to open”, I commented to one of the bartenders. “Well, we’ve been waiting for you”, he responded back. Good answer. Correct vibe. The drinks were good. The music was generally good. I saw from a Facebook comment that I missed a Legend of Zelda remix. I would have liked to have heard that. For that matter, Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack practically screams “Pick me!” for this venue.

I finally got some proper StreetPass action. Outside of lurking at playgrounds like some kind of lecherous old man, I was at a loss to find a good place to check out my 3DS capabilities. Not anymore. My system met a good handful of people each night, even giving me some new Nintendogs and Street Fighter IV data. Score. I know the venue is planning gaming tournaments as things move forward, but I would definitely like to see an orchestrated StreetPass event.

Needs Work

More than one dollar bill changing machine. At least one more. The only one available was wedged against a wall, and traffic builds up fast and gets clustered there.

Machines eating quarters. A few friends I was with had this problem as well. Several machines were eating quarters, and not accepting the credit. To the venue’s credit, the staff was only too helpful in making things right, but it was frustrating that it happened more than once. I understand these are fairly temperamental “museum pieces” (ask me about my continuing issues with my Tron cabinet), but take my money, please.

Unknown prices. The games were all cheap, but I couldn’t tell which games were .25 cents and which were .50 cents. I couldn’t tell which titles were going to be the more expensive ones. Some new games were cheaper than I thought. Some older titles needed that extra quarter. A little history note with a tidbit of trivia might help as well. I certainly remember the backstory on these titles, but a 21 year old kid? Maybe not so much.

No signature drinks. The website mentioned gaming themed cocktails. I asked the bartender about trying one, and was given a blank stare in return with the comment that they had no idea what I was talking about. A fairly noticeable oversight that should have been ready at launch. But when they do, may I recommend something like the Metroid-themed cocktail? I got a great rum-based drink, all things considered, but I was a little disappointed.

Wish List

Meal choices. If you’re going to reserve one of those nice, comfy couches they have for some console love, perhaps offer some food choices to go with it? Obviously not just plain old nacho, pizza, burger fare, but food and gaming go well together. Granted, indoor smoking would likely have to be lost due to Vegas regulations about food and smoking not co-existing, but personally, with this many rare arcade games, I’d be living in fear that some drunken, careless fool would burn holes in one on my cabinets by resting a cigarette on the control console.

More consoles. I was surprised that there was no Wii representation, as that’s about as “mainstream gaming” as one can get. Games like Wii Sports, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, even House of the Dead: Overkill are viable, “all access” selections from that console. The 360’s Kinect is also one of those “all access” gaming devices I’d suggest. Sure, drunken debauchery may ensue, but Dance Central with its club hits seems like a perfect choice to get crazy on the dance floor while staying in theme. I was also surprised to not see any Intellivision love. Atari 2600 and Colecovision were represented, but no Intellivision? That’s like having Pepsi and RC Cola available, but no Coke as a choice.

More pinball. Granted, we have the Pinball Hall of Fame here in Vegas, and they have that covered in spades, but a few more tables past their two would be beneficial. If they want to keep “mainstream”, perhaps invite pool and air hockey into the mix to add extra diversity. Even if they may be a little “eh” about lugging those heavy machines around, perhaps those excellent Crave Pinball Hall of Fame titles on the Wii, 360 or PS3 would be an excellent “quick fix”.

At any rate, those are my initial thoughts. But it’s a very cool idea, and I’m glad someone has the love and the guts to boldly try and bring the arcade back from extinction. That very reason alone has my support. In the meantime, I want to share some of that amazing art I was mentioning.

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