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Video Arcade

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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.

If you're looking for pages on arcade games themselves, see Arcade Game.


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    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 
  • Monster House: A video arcade is seen briefly, in the scene where the main heroes enlist the help of a friend in information dealing with the possessed house.
  • Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase: Level 10 of Eric's video game takes place in a recreation of the gang's hometown, including an amusement park with its own video arcade... which turns into the site of the final battle with the Phantom Virus as it animates the various game machines in an attempt to try and stop them from retrieving the last box of Scooby Snacks (which will complete the level and the game itself).
  • 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 
  • Adventureland is set in an arcade in an amusement park.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World includes an arcade scene with a DanceDanceRevolution parody called Ninja Ninja Revolution.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), this is a place without parental supervision where underage kids smoke cigars (!) and the Foot Clan recruits new members.
  • RoboCop 2 features an arcade where all the machines are from Data East, who were responsible for the Robocop videogames.
  • In Southland Tales, Justin Timberlake's disfigured World War III vet deals illegal psychic drugs from an arcade. After he gets high on his own supply, he enters the mindscape, spontaneously erupts into the Bridge of "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers, and psychically forgives his friend for wounding him in a friendly-fire incident. In the background, his militiamen - all of them in military uniforms - happily take up their light guns and blast away at the arcade cabinets.

  • 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 one episode of CSI, the team question a man while his young son plays a video game in a hotel's arcade. Saying they won't believe him about his whereabouts, he interrupts his son's game and tells him to the the investigators where he was. The boy gripes to his dad for costing him "a man," but tells the CSIs what they need to know. The dad then tells the boy they'll go to Circus Circus instead because they have better games there.
  • 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 
  • The protagonist of Daughter for Dessert can take Heidi or Veronica (depending on player choice) to one of these on a date. Amazingly, itís full of teens who are playing retro games.
  • Shenmue features at least one arcade per game so far. Along with a few diversions like dart boards and whatnot, they also include fully playable cabinets for games like Space Harrier, Hang On and Afterburner II.
  • The Yakuza series features Club Sega arcades (or Hi-Tech Land Sega arcades in Yakuza 0) with a slew of minigames inside. Earlier games had original games and UFO catchers, while later games feature real Sega games, including Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone, Virtua Fighter, and Puyo Puyo.
  • Maniac Mansion has the arcade-in-game version.
  • The paradigm for Xbox Arcade Live.
  • Both Earth Bound and its sequel Mother 3 have arcades in Onett and New Pork City, respectively.
  • There's a plot-relevant one on the wharf in Wishbringer.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the brothers can visit an arcade in Little Fungitown.
  • In the Tokimeki Memorial series, the Arcade Center is a staple dating location.
  • Streets of Rage 2 featured a video arcade in one level. The arcade machines could be smashed to drop power-ups.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: In the Neon Mixtape Tour world, your lawn turns into one when there's a huge wave of Arcade Zombies pushing entire columns of arcade machines in. Taken even further during an 8-bit Jam, where the arcade machines flash, make noises, and start spawning 8-bit zombies from them.
  • LEGO Dimensions has one in the Midway Arcade expansion, complete with a real-world buildable arcade machine that can be inserted into the game to play fully-emulated versions of classic Midway arcade games such as Rampage, Spy Hunter, and Road Blasters.
  • Overwatch has arcade cabinets in several attackers' spawn rooms. Hanamura in particular has an entire Japanese game center for an attack spawn. Genji remarks about how he used to spend his days there and D.Va gloats about her high scores.
  • The ending sequence of Golden Axe has the game characters bursting out of an arcade machine and into an arcade.
  • With the Diamond Casino Heist update for Grand Theft Auto Online, you can purchase one of these to use as a hideout for the heist in question, complete with a simple business management game where you can purchase and install a slew of fictional arcade machines that are all fully playable (and make you money).
  • LittleBigPlanet: The Cosmos from the second game has an two-story arcade used as the background.
  • Tomodachi Life: One of the apartment interiors you can give to your Miis is an arcade theme. Likewise, the amusement park has a playable arcade game where you play an RPG game.
  • Mario Party 8: The Free Play Arcade is a mode set in an arcade which let's you play all the minigames you currently unlocked.


    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.
  • Sanjay and Craig: The titular duo likes to hangout at the Frycade, where one of their most favorite games is a fighting game featuring their favorite celebrity; Remington Tufflips.

     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.


Video Example(s):


The Galleria

John Connor plays the slightly anachronistic but thematically appropriate Missile Command.

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