Thursday, March 06, 2008


Lately, I’ve been in a classic video game kick and it started a couple of weeks ago when some of my buddies and I traveled to Springfield, Missouri to visit 1984. No, we didn’t have a time machine, nor am I talking about the year, but instead about a retro arcade appropriately named 1984.

You’ll think you just stepped out of a time machine when you enter 1984. Just like those golden age video arcades from the past, 1984 is packed with some of the greatest video games ever created.

The cool thing, is that you don’t need a pocket of quarters to play. Just five bucks to pay at the door for all you can play games for one day! Now you don’t have to spend a fortune trying to master Donkey Kong or Zaxxon.

If you beat one of the high scores on the Hall of Fame board, you’ll win a free play card that lets you in free during your next visit.

The story behind 1984 is that a group of classic gamers decided to store their games in a warehouse to simulate a vintage arcade just for their own amusement. Thankfully, they instead decided to share their collection with the public and open an actual arcade with the same feel as the arcades they enjoyed from the 80's. They’ve done an excellent job with the atmosphere giving you a feeling that you just walked into a much better version of the Café 80's from Back to the Future II, just without the Max (Reagan) Headroom waiter. You can even watch 80's music videos while drinking coffee from the Sinistarbucks bar.

I was impressed that most of the decorations and props were handmade or pieced together from something else. If you visit, be sure you go to the bathroom as you’ll feel as if you just took a. . . well, washed your hands in the world of Tron!

Both times I’ve been there, the arcade has been packed with gamers. This place is highly recommended and is a perfect place for kids to adults. The 1984 staff is helpful and friendly and especially enjoy chatting about classic arcade games.

For a person who spent most of his youth in arcades, 1984 feels like home. I can’t wait to go back so I can finally get that ranking of Space Avenger on Gorf!

Checkout their website and also watch this episode of Hak5 featuring this arcade.

Of course if your in Springfield, Missouri (which is not far from Branson) make sure you visit the downtown area and go relive some arcade memories. 1984's hours are 4:00pm to 11:00 pm Wednesday to Saturday.


Mike Middleton said...

As one of the aforementioned buddies that accompanied you, let me just say in the words of the presidential candidates that I approve this message!!!!

~ tOkKa said...

-->> .. d4mm, NEat..thank you..

so rad..

if you ever get South of Denver.. i'll take you down to the old Manitou Springs arcade.

Similar to the effect of this..

however.. Manitou ( Arcade Amusements ) has been around and doin' arcade stuff since like gawd at least the 50s.. know the buildings the arcade is located in is much older than that.

Like 1920s..

1984's cabinets and such look like they are in better condition tho' .. >v<

Karswell said...

Oh man, how far is Springfield from St Louis again?

You know, I could stand perfectly still right in the middle of that arcade and have just as much fun as playing anything, simply hearing the sounds of all those classic games in action would fill me with endless waves of joy... I walk into any other modern arcade now and in 2 seconds I'm fleeing for my life with my eyes and ears bleeding. What happened to video games over the last two decades?

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

WOW, this place looks awesome! They did a nice job of keeping it real. I'm with Karswell; I used to go to the arcade even when I had no money (which was most of the time) just being there was fun, watching the "pros" play for 3 hours on 25 cents! Nice post, thanks!

Todd Franklin said...

Mike - I think we should vote in Tron as the next Prez!

Tokka - Yeah, that arcade sounds cool and it's great that it's still original. 1984's games have been well kept in private collections and some have been carefully restored.

Karswell - Yeah, the wave of sound in arcade is music to my ears. Maybe some Journey playing in the background too!

Vintage - Remember on some of the more popular games when they would put large monitors above the games so people could watch.

Devin Durham said...

This is Devin, one of the owners of 1984. Wanted to reply to a few particular things...

That "arcade sound" was one of the reasons we wanted all those games together in one place, with enough power and players to turn them all on at once. That arcade ambience was something that I really missed, I am glad that others have the same feelings about it.

And as far as the large monitor above the games, we may have done one better. We have an enormous (82") projected image that is two-wayed to one of the outside windows... the end result is that people outside can watch someone playing Ms. Pac all the way across the street.

:) Thank you for coming to our arcade and supporting our bad habits!

~ tOkKa said...

-->> ..bad habits ?!

People like you and Neato ..and some other guys like him that i know i consider " historians "..

maybe it sounds odd.. but i really do feel it's the truth.

People like you ,Devin are preserving something very special and something that is kinda dwindling anymore.

Like someone said up there in a prior post.. newer arcades just kinda lack a certain something. And yeh it's just not the same as the arcade experience of say 15 - 25 + years ago.

Ok yeh i am biased.. i was raised in arcdes ..literally.

You guys are preserving arcade history. I admire the hell out of that. So in that case..::

You're " bad habits " are inperative ..

very inportant !!



pika23 said...

Have you seen The King of Kong? AWESOME documentary chronicling the rivalry between Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe as they vie for the Donkey Kong world record.

Great arcade pics, wish I lived in Missouri

Todd Franklin said...

Devin - Glad you made mention of the projected video game window as I forgot to put this very fun and cool detail into the post.

Tokka - Thanks for the nice words!

Pika23 - Yes, The King of Kongs was a great documentary and very well made. Well if you ever visit Missouri, now you'll know where to go!

Anonymous said...

im a 14 year old and even i enjoyed 1984. try and beat my record on battlezone... 42,000