As I’ve recounted here many times before, most of my formative years were spent loitering in the glowing neon paradise that was the arcade. But today, some 30 years later, arcades are very much few and far between, with only a few curators and buildings truly dedicated to the halcyon color and buzzing retro atmosphere of change machines, jingling pockets, and Operation W.O.L.F.
Retro game fans living in or around Brookfield, Il are in luck, however, as the city plays host to The Galloping Ghost Arcade: The Largest Arcade in the World. Keeping the dream alive long after the scene faded into history, The Galloping Ghost hosts over 600 titles from the golden age of the coin-op – all of which available to play, seven days a week, for a modest entrance fee.
For those who grew up around the arcade scene, The Galloping Ghost Arcade is a time capsule of some of the ’80s and ’90s’ most unforgettable titles. For younger video game fans, The Galloping Ghost offers a peek into the past, where arcades were truly considered the place to go if you wanted to experience the best games in existence, before PlayStation came along and ruined the party with its powerful home hardware and catalog of incredible titles.
The short documentary below, by filmmaker Ryan Skyrd, recounts The Galloping Ghost’s history, while taking a look at its corridors of cabinets. How many of your favorites are on show?
Despite the arcade’s success, space is unfortunately finite, and The Galloping Ghost has finally run out of physical room, now owning more cabinets than it can realistically operate. To this end, owner Doc Mack has opened a GoFundMe in order to raise the $30,000 necessary to build an extension, hoping to make the world’s largest arcade larger still.
The Galloping Ghost’s extension will allow for the placement of more games, as well as a dedicated space for Sega’s famous “R360” cabinet. The funds will also be used to improve the building’s air-conditioning facilities, allowing for a cooler gaming experience. After all, 700+ cabinets can pump out a lot of heat.
For more details on the fundraiser, you can visit the official GoFundMe page, while The Galloping Ghost’s official website will tell you everything you need to know about this coin-operated haven. Brookfield, Il is, unfortunately, nowhere near my own front door, but here’s hoping that the organizers can raise the necessary funding to improve one of the last bastions of gaming history.