Pinball Machines/Retro Games and Southern California

By Jessica Kane- The Pinball Company

Things To Do

Pinball Machines/Retro Games and Southern California

Some of my fondest memories of my youth in the 80s happened at our local arcade where my dad and I would play video games like Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. We also played the classic pinball games that are so hard to find these days. The arcade is experiencing a revival these days, and many are becoming places where even adults visit in order to reclaim a bit of their childhood glories.

Southern California has a little something for everyone, be it excellent surfing or great nightlife, but did you know that this part of the state also has exceptional retro gaming and pinball? Since this is a fact that not everyone is aware of, I’m going to show you some of the coolest places in the southern part of California where you can get your retro on.

2084 Arcade

If you love the retro pinball and arcade games of yesteryear, then simply put, 2084 may just be your holy land. This location boasts hundreds of game titles kept in a private collection that visitors can access for $10. This is definitely a spot to consider if you think of yourself as a gaming historian; there are games like Mappy Land, Pac-Man, and Asteroids available to play. 

Additionally, the pinball collection at 2084 is similarly impressive. Did you love to play Terminator 2 pinball when it was released in the early 1990’s? Well, look no further, 2084 has it. Are you a big fan of Fish Tales? You can play it like it is 1993 again. 

The arcade is known to host events for its customers. Some of the favorites include their annual Battle of the Arcades tournament and a wide variety of classic arcade get-togethers that are fueled by nostalgia. If you want to take a break from the gaming, there is a console gaming and DVD lounge area that lets you play classic game systems and watch classic 80s flicks.

Blipsy Bar

While it’s actually listed as a dive bar, Blipsy is also a place where old school game enthusiasts can revel in some classic gaming. They have a ton of classic arcade selections and also feature a few pinball selections for those that want to test their skill. 

In addition to the gaming, the ball has a great reputation for having strong drinks and excellent DJs. In fact, the atmosphere is so good that you can easily hold a conversation while playing a game of Pac-Man with a friend. What’s my favorite feature of Blipsy? I love the fact that this place is right next door to a laundry; you can wash a load and while you wait, kick it with some Twilight Zone pinball. 

Pins and Needles

Not everyone wants to hang out and play Ms. Pac-Man. If you’re the type that’s a certified pinball wizard, then I suggest that you give Pins and Needles in Los Angeles a try. The arcade carries a truly unique collection of classic pinball games. They have machines that are specifically from the 70s through the 80s, which is a great era for pinball machines because pinball companies were seeking to compete with video games. 

The arcade is open in the evenings, so if you’ve got a hankering for some classic pinball, give Pins and Needles a try. Additionally, this is a place where the Los Angeles Pinball League likes to have its meets, so if you’re looking to meet some like-minded pinballers, stop by on Tuesdays; the season just started.

Neon Retro Arcade

The lights and pageantry of the classic 80s arcade were what made those types of places so firmly stuck in our memories. Neon Retro Arcade in Pasadena is lit perfectly so that you’ll feel that sense of nostalgia that’ll put you in the perfect mood for some gaming. The owners have illuminated the arcade with neon lights and black lights so that you get that 80s vibe and the arcade has both pinball machines and arcade games like Tron. The arcade also has some newer consoles for those that want modern gaming options as well.

The One Up

When I was a kid in my favorite arcade, I remember always snacking as I played. The One Up in Sherman Oaks is a great place for an adult that wants some good food with their game playing. Not only does this retro arcade double as a gastrolounge, but you they serve some of the best drinks in the Sherman Oaks area as well. 

The list of arcade games in the One Up is truly gargantuan, so you’ll probably need a couple of trips to really experience everything the arcade has to offer. I suggest giving Arkanoid and Congo Bongo a try; these two games are really hard to come by these days.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, the five best retro arcades in the southern California area. There’s nothing that makes you feel young again like reliving your glory days, so going to a classic-themed arcade for a little gaming will bring it all back again. Enjoy!

Jessica Kane is a writer for The Pinball Company, the best online source for new, used, and refurbished pinball machines, arcade cabinets, and more!


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