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Barcades in Los Angeles

How I Spent Super Bowl Sunday… Not watching the Super Bowl! Yayyy!

If you’re like me when it comes to having any sort of¬†interest in watching¬†American football, you’re in the minority because Sunday’s 2015¬†Super Bowl XLIX (<–that’s “forty nine” in Roman numerals) scored record high ratings, with 114.4 million¬†viewers tuning in to see the sportsball competition, making it the most-watched TV program in history. I’ve often heard the rationale that for those who don’t like watching the game, they enjoy watching the expensive commercials. I sincerely cannot relate because I willfully¬†stopped watching cable television to evade advertisements that practically¬†disregard¬†FCC¬†imposed¬†decibels limits so they can blast their product spots through your¬†tympanic membrane down your eustachian tubes.¬†Because of this, I am now a zealous supporter of¬†Netflix and HBO Go.

Also, not to pontificate, but I’m opposed to youth culture being dominated by capitalism a la Katy Perry and other such “artists” deemed marketable to easy-to-take¬†masses. Am I saying, “Don’t listen to Katy Perry?” Heavens no. Listen to whatever you want. Just know that she¬†(to whom I shall now refer as Katy Perry¬ģ) is¬†a product as much as Starbucks¬ģ coffee,¬†and I can’t help but stop in for a $4 iced Americano¬†at least once a week. Shame on me.

So,¬†instead of watching the “Big Game,” I gamed big. Super Bowl¬†Awesome Sunday was spent Barcade-ing! And, I played ALLL the Galaga!

The One Up

I’ve often heard people say that there’s “nothing to do” in Los Angeles. Well, all I have to say to you nay-sayers is, “Have a little optimism.” Sometimes all it takes is a little Bing search, and you’re on your way to alleviating the listlessness that afflicts you. Take for instance The One Up in Sherman Oaks where you can eat, play, and drink!

The One Up in the Valley
No name on the exterior face of the building, just this cute little space invader looking guy.
Someone went through a lot of trouble to give this space some urbane eclectic design elements.
Someone went through a lot of trouble to give this space some urbane eclectic design elements. This place is probably a good time on a Saturday night!

The One Up is full of MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) cabinets, many of which are set on free-to-play. MAMEs are¬†great space savers, though they lack an element of authenticity. I’m definitely not complaining, however, because I could play¬†Galaga¬†all afternoon without having to put a quarter down. I lovvveee¬†Galaga.¬†The design elements of the game room in¬†The One Up¬†are seriously¬†impressive. Light shines through perforations¬†in the black painted ceiling, paralleling the light from distant stars in the vacuum of space. And, well, look… it’s just very arcade-ey!

mame arcade cabinets
Left:¬†Neon lights are surprisingly difficult to photograph, but this says, “I’ll Stop the World and Melt with You.” Cheers to quoting 80s song lyrics! Right:¬†Where have I seen these wall-to-floor vertical stripes before? That’s right! On Tr0n’s custom Console Arcade¬†wallpaper.¬†Classic arcade art is universal, people.
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Left: The One Up seriously knows what food to serve gamers. Grilled cheese and tomato bisque? Yes please! Right: You can totally slide over a seat and play at a cocktail arcade cabinet while you wait on your draft beer and jalapeno burger.
Eighty Two

Named after 1982, a¬†year popularized as having been during the¬†golden age of arcade gaming,¬†Eighty Two¬†is a 21+ modern take on the classic arcade. Located in Downtown Los Angeles in the Art’s District,¬†Eighty Two¬†is full of rotating arcade cabinets and pinball machines, holds¬†a full bar, ¬†features live music and DJs and even plays host to competitions and leagues.

Eighty Two LA
Eighty Two on 4th Place in DTLA. Very Art District-y.
Spent a moment scoping out the pinball machines and arcade cabinets before settling in. There was a guy who was wearing a Pac-Man hoodie most excellent. I was ready to quote Scott Pilgrim.
Spent a moment scoping out the pinball machines and arcade cabinets before settling in. There was a guy who was wearing a Pac-Man hoodie most excellent. I was ready to quote Scott Pilgrim.
Arcade cabinets are only a quarter per play. Pinball machines are only 50 cents per play. This $5 actually lasted quite a while. Most of it went to Galaga and Frogger.
Arcade cabinets are only a quarter per play. Pinball machines are only 50 cents per play. This $5 actually lasted quite a while. I spent most of it on Galaga and Frogger before re-upping on more coinage.

Day turned into night quite quickly…

The pinball machine room being all night timey.
The pinball machine room being all night timey.
Lord Hendricks taking a breather after a three hour stint.
Lord Hendricks taking a breather after a three hour stint.

We really must have been there quite a while because, be still my heart, the guys working the bar noticed enough to give us both FREE drink tokens.

eighty two free drink tokens
And just like that, it’s time for the bonus round.
A few of the last plays of the evening.
A few of the last plays of the evening: Medieval Madness, Galaga, and Discs of Tron. We got “Troll Madness Multiball” a few times, and one of the two trolls didn’t want to come out from under his bridge, but otherwise the machine is in great shape. The high score on this¬†Galaga¬†machine is over 11 million, which is beyond brutal. I’ve never played¬†Discs of Tron¬†in a cockpit cabinet- just at home on the NES. This version requires quite a bit of¬†ambidexterity, but it’s really fun once you get the hang of the controls.
Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi

From Eighty Two,¬†walk one block west and one block north to find¬†Hakata Ramen, a¬†Shin-Sen-Gumi¬†Group¬†restaurant. This was my first time having Hakata style ramen, characterized by thinner noodles and white tonkotsu (pork bone) derived broth. It’s a little different, but very good. They have some pretty tasty add-ins like garlic cloves you handpress into the soup yourself and chili oil. Restaurant workers are required¬†to speak basic Japanese, shouting¬†out greetings and farewells each time the door swings open. It’s definitely a fun place to stop in for a quick meal.

shin sen gumi ramen
Finished the night off on South Central in Little Tokyo for some ramen and spring rolls. Sugoi!

Left off the itinerary this time around was Blipsy Bar  in Larchmont (Korea Town, a.k.a., K-Town), which looks to be a bit more of a dive.

Any other barcades in LA that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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