5 Places to Play Retro Arcade Games on Cape Cod and Relive Your Childhood

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When I pass by a video game arcade, I can’t help going inside to see what games they offer and “drop a few quarters”. Many of us have fond memories from our childhoods – mine happen to coincide with the golden age of arcades in the early 1980s. Many of those games exist today and some are still playable in public arcades!

Do you remember Donkey Kong, Frogger, or Ms. Pac-Man? What if I told you these amazing games – and more – are available for play on Cape Cod! If you haven’t visited an arcade in a while, here are some great places you can play retro video games – from the 80s and 90s – alongside modern games!

Holiday Hill Inn and Suites – 352 Main Street, Dennis Port

Decades ago, my friends and I played video games at the inn’s arcade. All these years later, it’s still there and features a wonderful array of video games from Ms. Pac-Man to Super Chexx Bubble Hockey. My son and I love to play their head-to-head Sega Out Runners and Motor Raid. We’ve even played the Donkey Kong game that’s tucked away in the corner. I often wonder if it’s the same one I played when I was his age.

Holiday Hill also has a terrific miniature golf course that is beautifully laid out and quite unique. After 18 holes of golf and a few rounds of Mortal Kombat 3 and air hockey, we love to stop at their on-site ice cream shop. In addition to a vast array of flavors, the iconic design of the building has to be seen! This is a delicious place to spend an afternoon.

WCWA_feedBigBerthaWackenhammer’s Clockwork Arcade and Carousel – 541 Main Street, Hyannis

You can’t miss the vibrant courtyard of activity and large carousel on Main Street. They often have an event underway in their wonderful outdoor space, from magicians to jugglers. When you venture inside, they feature some of my favorite games like Joust, Millipede, and Frogger! In addition, they also have some beautifully restored mechanical and electro-mechanical games that predate vintage favorites like Pac-Man.

Offering packages with carousel rides and game tokens, you can easily lose track of time as you explore their steam-punk inspired sights, sounds, and handmade games. They frequently update and change up the games they offer which keeps the gaming floor fresh. I highly recommend their cocktail-style Frogger game. Sit across from your opponent and see who can cross the highway and snake-infested river first!

Ryan’s Family Amusements – (at the Cape Cod Mall) 769 Iyannough Road, Rte. 132, Hyannis

No visit to the Cape Cod Mall is complete without stopping at Ryan Amusements’ arcade. They have several locations across the Cape, some offering bowling in addition to video games! Along with their modern games, I can’t resist a game of Time Crisis 3 – especially head-to-head with my son. The nearby Regal Cinema has Time Crisis 4.

If you like redemption games, we have two large inflatable aliens and a lava lamp obtained through their wide selection of ticket-dispensing games. Ryan Amusement games are all equipped with swipe card technology. The cards are convenient and can be used at any of their locations! While you’re there, don’t pass up the opportunity for a game of air hockey.

WCWA_sportsZoneEntertainment Cinemas – 2-6 Enterprise Road, Patriot Plaza, South Dennis

If you go to the movies and find yourself with some extra time to spare, see if they have an arcade. Entertainment Cinemas has a small arcade, but they often change up the games they offer bringing in new games. Last year they had a Galaga/Ms. Pac-Man combo cabinet. We’re hoping for its return this season, but in its place is an air hockey table and Time Crisis 4.

Did you ever play Dance Dance Revolution? They have one on which you can challenge your friends or if sitting down for a race is more your style, try head-to-head driving on Dead Heat Street Racing NOS! Entertainment Cinemas have some great games to pass the time before your movie!

Nifty Nate’s – 246 North St. Hyannis

If you’ve never heard of this arcade… there’s a good reason. Nifty Nate’s is a computer repair shop that does much more than repair computers. The company was founded on classic ideals like putting product before profit. Along with these classic ideals, they offer classic video games. Their lobby features both Space Invaders and Dig Dug. If your laptop is lagging, bring it by for a tune-up and a few rounds of Dig Dug.

Nifty Nate’s also has a computer museum with fully functional computers showcasing games you may not have played for decades. Each station is labeled along with some interesting facts – from Commodore to the first iMac! For those who love home game consoles, they have both an Atari 2600 and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with a nice array of games… on cartridges!
I’m sure there are other places featuring games from days gone by. If you have a favorite arcade on Cape Cod and the Islands, let us know in the comments below. Game on!

By Pete Schmeck

Comments

  1. Thanks for this list. I love old school arcade games and wish there were more arcades with retro games on the cape. May have to stop in at Nifty Nate’s to play some Space Invaders. Have been nostalgic for the days of playing that one as a kid back in the day. Just hearing the music will be worth the trip from the outer cape.

  2. Chris Gaughan says:

    My brothers and I spent endless hours at the Barn of Fun arcade at Seaview Playland 35 years ago, “in season.” A shame when it closed. “Off season,” we opted for the lesser known Game Room in the Holiday Hill parking lot. It was a slightly rougher crowd of kids in the Game Room back then, but games like Defender, Spy Hunter, and Galaga kept us coming back. I didn’t realize it was still in operation. Will need to pay a visit this Summer.

    • The Barn of Fun was the best babysitter my parents and aunt and uncle ever found. They’d drop off all 6 of us with the older cousins in charge of us, then head out for an evening of lobster and drinks. I’d collect Skee Ball tickets all summer. Later years had me riding my bike from Chatham to get there on my own. Great memories of that place. So sad to hear it was razed. I’ve been hunting for a used SkeeBall machine for the basement of our Harwich rental. What better to entertain kids on a rainy day?

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