Arcade and Dive Bars

The bar at Blipsy Barcade is fully stocked with liquor and beer. No taps but bottles and cans ranging from hipster favorite Pabst Blue Ribbon to stalwart brew, Budweiser. The bar is also littered with vintage pop culture nostalgia including He-Man toys and a myriad of plush animals.Photos  by Nathan McMahon/Opinion Editor
The bar at Blipsy Barcade is fully stocked with liquor and beer. No taps but bottles and cans ranging from hipster favorite Pabst Blue Ribbon to stalwart brew, Budweiser. The bar is also littered with vintage pop culture nostalgia including He-Man toys and a myriad of plush animals.Photos by Nathan McMahon/Opinion Editor

Arcades were immensely popular in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. They helped establish the burgeoning love for the home console market and introduced video games to a wider audience. Their popularity was as bright as the flash from an explosion and unfortunately they burned out just as quick. When game consoles started to show parity graphically with stand-up cabinets the nail was starting to be hammered into the coffin.

The appeal of the arcade scene faded away into an obscure collectors venue where old cabinets filled warehouses and game rooms in private homes. It also didn’t help that pinball and arcade machines are notoriously fragile. Their propensity to break means many of them have ended up wasting away as well.

Amazingly, video games have achieved a sort of cult status following and this means their retro roots are hip yet again. The burgeoning love results in arcades getting a second chance. The classic family friendly venues that dotted the country have started to turn into rough around the edges bars and water holes. In some ways this fits the style of the old machines. Beat up and dirty means it’s easier to put your beers and drinks on the broken and cracked plexiglass.

Blipsy Barcade is just that sort of dive bar. It’s in a building without much going on out front. The mini-mall next door has more character with its laundromat façade. But inside, Blipsy houses a treasure trove of classic arcade games. Most of the games inside have been relegated to 99 cent apps on your latest smart phone, but the games just don’t feel right unless you’re holding a joystick and pressing a button.

The bar has been active for about two years now. It’s hours run from 4pm to 2am and serves beer and liquor. Not just boasting classic arcade machines there is also a DJ booth with a rotating cast of artists depending on the night of the week.

Retro cool seems to be the norm nowadays and throwbacks to good times are relevant. Arcades inhabit this space and they specialize in lifestyle once forgotten. Booze and video games, who could ask for more?

Often arcade cabinets show signs of quite a bit of wear. They've been used and abused over the years though they wear their battle scars well. This Centipede machine had putty spackled all over the control deck to fix a crack in the plexiglass that would normally protect the paper art underneath. Photo credit by Nathan McMahon/Opinion Editor
Often arcade cabinets show signs of quite a bit of wear. They’ve been used and abused over the years though they wear their battle scars well. This Centipede machine had putty spackled all over the control deck to fix a crack in the plexiglass that would normally protect the paper art underneath.
DJ Huck-a-Beats (Lana Huckabee) Is one of a group of DJ's that regularly perform in Blipsy Barcade. They music is a mix of old school hip-hop and rock. DJ Huck-a-Beats is using an iPad app to spin the digital records. Photo credit by Nathan McMahon/Opinion Editor
DJ Huck-a-Beats (Lana Huckabee) Is one of a group of DJ’s that regularly perform in Blipsy Barcade. They music is a mix of old school hip-hop and rock. DJ Huck-a-Beats is using an iPad app to spin the digital records.
The classic Ms. Pac-Man is in Blipsy and is the cocktail version. This tabletop game has controls on both ends and two players can compete against each other and the game at the same time. This was a staple in bars across the country during the arcade boom of the '80s as you could set your drink down on the playing surface in-between rounds. Photo credit by Nathan McMahon/Opinion Editor
The classic Ms. Pac-Man is in Blipsy and is the cocktail version. This tabletop game has controls on both ends and two players can compete against each other and the game at the same time. This was a staple in bars across the country during the arcade boom of the ’80s as you could set your drink down on the playing surface in-between rounds.
Before the bar was known as Blipsy Barcade, it was known as Ms. T's World Famous Barcade. A placard on the pinball machine Stellar Wars is remnant of the old establishment.
Before the bar was known as Blipsy Barcade, it was known as Ms. T’s World Famous Barcade. A placard on the pinball machine Stellar Wars is remnant of the old establishment.

The exterior of Blipsy Barcade, on Western Ave. in Korea Town, is unusually nondescript, especially in the day time. A row of Pac-Dots line the brick wall giving away what awaits inside. The day-glo pink light mimics the interior arcade machine's color cascade from rows of stand-up cabinets.
The exterior of Blipsy Barcade, on Western Ave. in Korea Town, is unusually nondescript, especially in the day time. A row of Pac-Dots line the brick wall giving away what awaits inside. The day-glo pink light mimics the interior arcade machine’s color cascade from rows of stand-up cabinets.
Co-operative games became the norm as arcade machines became more popular. Instead of fighting each other or besting a high score, arcade goers could fight the bad guys together. Double Dragon was one of the popular games to take on this genre. It was a violent affair with bats and sticks of dynamite used to kill enemies.
Co-operative games became the norm as arcade machines became more popular. Instead of fighting each other or besting a high score, arcade goers could fight the bad guys together. Double Dragon was one of the popular games to take on this genre. It was a violent affair with bats and sticks of dynamite used to kill enemies.

 

A glowing neon Ghost from Pac-Man hangs above the entrance. It fit's the motif outside and pays homage to the video game that exploded an industry.
A glowing neon Ghost from Pac-Man hangs above the entrance. It fit’s the motif outside and pays homage to the video game that exploded an industry.
The glass marquises of both pinball and cabinet games were the main advertising for getting your quarters. They were often bright and colorful and even more often just plain gaudy. Playboy is a brand that draws attention and many pinball machines were products of popular licenses to get you to play.
The glass marquises of both pinball and cabinet games were the main advertising for getting your quarters. They were often bright and colorful and even more often just plain gaudy. Playboy is a brand that draws attention and many pinball machines were products of popular licenses to get you to play.