Follow TV Tropes


Video Arcade

Go To
Not as common as they used to be, but they still exist in the West.note 

A setting not seen as much these days due to their decline - thanks to home consoles and Internet cafés - this is where all the kids used to go to play their video games. Rows of them, in big, gloriously fashioned cabinets. Often in darkly lit rooms to let the video displays shine and maintained in states from squalid to pristine, the machines flash and burble to themselves even when not being played. More recent examples often feature DanceDanceRevolution-style fun.

Special mention must go to arcades as locations in video games.

See also Suck E. Cheese's. Pac-Man Fever optional.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The characters in Sailor Moon often hang out at the Crown game center. In the live-action series it was changed to a karaoke parlor, but it was kept in Sailor Moon Crystal since arcades are still relatively popular in Japan.
  • A video arcade features prominently in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, where Kyouko is proficient in a DDR-esque dance game.
  • Lupin III: Dragon of Doom begins with Jigen and Lupin hanging out in one. Lupin's preoccupied trying to get the Lupin doll from the Claw game.
  • The leads of High Score Girl bond over their shared interests in video games, and often hang out in arcades, particularly enjoying Street Fighter II and other fighting games.

    Comic Books 
  • Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: In "Wonder World" Diana escapes from Paradise Island when she's fifteen, meets and befriends a girl crying under the boardwalk and then goes to the arcade and laser tag with the girl and her friends. They also get ice cream with Diana thinks is excellent.

    Film — Animation 
  • A video arcade was also seen briefly in Monster House, in the scene where the main heroes enlist the help of a friend in information dealing with the possessed house.
  • Wreck-It Ralph takes place in Litwak's Arcade on Route 83, revolving around what the characters in the games do after-hours.

    Film — Live Action 

  • The novel Game Over depicts a video arcade being run by Satan in disguise, full of games designed to get bullied children addicted to violence until they go on killing sprees against their tormentors.
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson has a handful of scenes set in arcades featuring fictional games like Wizard's Castle and Tank War Europa.
  • Time Twister by Ged Maybury has many scenes set in a video arcade, as the eponymous game machine is the device around which the plot is built.
  • Video War by Stephen Manes. Set in 1983, the town leaders of Bunker Hill Bluffs tries to outlaw arcades, but a group of teenagers fight back.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the pilot of NUMB3RS, Charlie and Larry meet in an arcade on campus at Calsci, where Larry gives Charlie some advice on the current case, while simultaneously getting a high score on his current game.
  • The second series of StrangerThings starts with the group visiting their local arcade, playing Dragon's Lair and meeting the soon-to-be newest member of the group.

    Video Games 


    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Noise Land, Springfield's local arcade and one of Bart's favorite hangouts, featuring games such as "Escape from Grandma's House II" and "Hockey Dad". In a Flash Back episode to the early 1980s, a group of kids go play a video game version of "Kick the Can", and a Mumbly Peg arcade machine can be seen in the background.
  • On Steven Universe, Steven frequently goes to the Funland Arcade in Beach City. Interestingly, games like Meat Beat Mania are portrayed very realistically and modernly. They get a lot of the small details down right, such as the time counting down for the player to deposit more tokens to continue playing.
  • Gravity Falls has an arcade, complete with a DanceDanceRevolution clone called "Hoedown Hero", albeit one that's out of order. That doesn't stop Old Man McGucket from jigging for eight days straight.
  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: Season Eight's "Video Mania". Weird Harold develops an addiction to a Brown Hornet video game at the local arcade.

     Real Life 
  • Video arcades remain popular in Japan, where they are known as game centers.
  • There are usually at least two in any small town, one in the bowling alley and one in the movie theater, so that young teens out with their friends might entertain themselves and spend their money whilst waiting for their parents to come pick them up after their movie/game is over.
  • British seaside towns invariably have at least a few of these, ranging from a few ageing slot machines in a run-down storefront to some that are every bit as elaborate as the trope's pre-console heyday. Presumably they make most of their money from tourists taking refuge from the capricious whims of British Weather.