The arcade was once an icon of entertainment. It seemed like everywhere you turned in the ’80s and ’90s, flashing lights spilled from doorways, and MIDI explosions burst behind blacked out windows.
Now, with mobile technology and game consoles in every hand and home, the arcade is going the way of the dinosaur. Here and there, a few select enclaves hold onto the old ways. Here are the last arcades in Vancouver, may they live forever.
Vancouver’s gold standard of arcade, MovieLand represents a true throwback to the heyday of the arcade – mostly because not much has changed since then. You’ll find all your old faves: your Time Crisis, your Street Fighter II, your Drivin’ USA – it’s all here. The place itself is a little worse for wear, but isn’t that what you want in an arcade?
Address: 906 Granville Street, Vancouver
As far as game selection goes, e-Spot in Richmond is all over the place. Mostly comprised of Japanese import cabinets like Hyper Bishi Bashi Champ and Pazzle Dojo, there are also games like Terminator Salvation and Guitar Hero. It’s the very picture of what the 2015 arcade looks like: eclectic, niche, and crazy.
Address: #160-951 Alderbridge Way, Richmond
Initially started as a one-off event, the insane popularity of the Landyachtz Pop Up Arcade ensured this palace of golden-era arcade and pinball machines stuck around for good. The folks running this little slice of heaven have a real reverence for the arcade, and put a lot of time and love into refurbishing and repairing the cabinets and cocktail machines that line walls. Don’t miss it!
Address: 1146 Union Street, Vancouver
Another entry in the import cabinet arcade market, CHQ in Metrotown is as popular an arcade as can exist in Metro Vancouver. Racing games, dancing games, shooting games, drumming games – whatever nice game you’re looking for CHQ might have it.
Address: Metrotown Mall – 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
Working, well-maintained pinball machines are one of the hardest things to find in the modern arcade. Pub 340 has the only dedicated pinball arcade in Vancouver. There are plenty of places that integrate pinball machines into their space – What’s Up? Hot Dog!, the Lamplighter, etc. – but this is your best bet for a focused pinball experience.
Address: 340 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Know of any more arcades around Vancouver? Let us know in the comments below!