[I really love arcades. It’s something I’ve missed for a while, and I’m yearning to check out something like this. God dammit, I don’t want to go to New Hampshire, but unless I find something else, it looks like it’s a trip to a mecca for RetroforceGO… — DMV]
Where have arcades gone?
Some of the greatest minds of our time have pondered this question. Destructoid’s very own retro podcast, RetroforceGO!, has pondered that very same question. The truth is that arcades have faded into obsolete-ness with the advent of more affordable home consoles. However, arcades have one thing that a home console can never truly provide: a completely social experience. Nothing is quite like being right next to someone, trying to pull off a shoryuken or working together to kick Shredder’s ass.
Some of you might say that arcades are dead. You’re wrong. What I am about to present to you is an estalishment that MSNBC describes as “an entertainment mecca.” It is the savior for arcade junkies. It is… Funspot.
Funspot is the largest arcade in the world, fostering over 500 arcade games in its three stories of floor space. The arcade has been around since 1952, when it was founded by Bob Lawton. It is located in Weirs Beach, NH, so you have to travel to the middle of New Hampshire to enjoy it. Funspot “offers new and classic video games, an indoor golf center, a 20 lane ten pin & candlepin bowling center, cash bingo, mini-golf, a restaurant and tavern and more! There’s something for everyone!” The mascot of Funspot is a dragon named Topsnuf (bonus points if you can tell me where the name comes from).
Let’s take a floor by floor tour of Funspot.
Level 1 is probably the most modern of the floors. One wall is almost entirely composed of cockpit racing games. An aisle down the middle is made of slot machines and video poker. In the corner, sit two large air hockey tables, partly cordoned off by a fence. Sitting on the other side of this fence are a few arcade games, including various Mortal Kombat iterations and an NBA Jam machine. The floor also has a couple of crane games.
The two biggest attractions on this floor are the Skee Ball lanes, and Roller Bowler. I’m sure that most you have played Skee Ball, but if you haven’t played Roller Bowler, you are missing out. The concept of Roller Bowler is this: a bowling ball sits between two metal rails. The rails form a hump in the middle and the end of the rails curve up as well. If the player can get the correct force and push, the ball should remain between the hump and the end of the rail. It’s incredibly addictive.
Most of the games on this floor deal out tickets, which can be redeemed for prizes. The prize counter sits in the corner of this floor by the cafe.
Let’s move on to the second floor…
The second floor is what I like to call the Kiddie Floor. In the middle of tis floor sits a large rubber mat and a number of small bumper cars, which operate on tokens. No one over five could fit in these cars. Believe me, I’ve tried. Surrounding the bumper car area are more coin-operated rides similar to the ones found outside convenience stores, except these rides don’t have expletives written all over them.
Surrounding the stairs leading down to floor 1 are numerous arcade machines, such as Time Crisis 3. This floor is also home to four of my favorite arcade machines, which are Street Fighter II, a coveted The Simpsons arcade machine, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Hydro Thunder.
On the other side of the kiddie room, there are a few more slot machines, the tavern that only creepy bikers use , and the bowling allies. Hidden on this floor is also a cockpit Star Wars arcade machine to the right of the Main Entrance.
PRO TIP: Next to the bowling counter sit two change machines where you can get tokens. They have an out of order sticker, but are really just meant to deter people who don’t have coupons. The secret of these machines is that instead of giving the requisite 125 tokens for every $20, they dispense 175 tokens, netting you an extra 50 tokens.
And last, but certainly not least, there is floor 3… the retro junkie’s nirvana.
Let’s get the crap out of the way first. There is an indoor golf center up there. Done.
The third floor of Funspot is also known as The American Classic Arcade Museum. The ACAM houses over 200 classic arcade games. Its walls are plastered with arcade flyers of games from years gone by and is filled with original arcade cabinets and pinball machines. It would make any arcade lover wet themselves.
Here is the list as of August 16, 2007:
ACAM’s Current Classic Arcade Game Collection
1943 The Battle of Midway
After Burner (deluxe cockpit)
Bump n’ Jump
Cloak & Dagger
Crowns Golf Hawaii
Deluxe Space Invaders
Donkey Kong Jr.
Ghosts n’ Goblins
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Land Sea Air Squad (cocktail)
Out Run (deluxe)
Pole Position (cockpit)
Red Baron (cockpit)
Spy Hunter (cockpit)
Super Mario Bros.
Tag Team Wrestling
The Real Ghostbusters
Track & Field
VS. Dr. Mario
VS. Duck Hunt
VS. Hogan’s Alley
VS. Tennis (cocktail)
Wizard of Wor
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man
Stop n’ Go (Display Only)
Are you getting the picture? Every year, the ACAM hosts the International Classic Videogame & Pinball Championships, allowing thousands of players to compete for glory and a cash prize of $250. The games aren’t announced until the beginning of the competition, so don’t worry about whether or not you’ve practiced enough. They also have a wall of fame for those who set new records at Funspot.
You should also know that Funspot and the ACAM were prominent locations for filming during production for The King of Kong. Its website can be found here. Funspot will also go down in history as the location where Billy Mitchell completed the first perfect game of Pac-Man.
So there you have it. I have provided a few photos, but my camera died before I could get enough, so I have linked to a few Flickr albums from people who love Funspot as much as I do.
Funspot, the world’s greatest arcade, is living proof that arcades haven’t gone six feet under just yet.
The American Classic Arcade Museum
Noiseland Arcade – Funspot – Weirs Beach NH
Noiseland Arcade Funspot Flickr set
ELI-173’s Funspot vintage arcade floor Flickr set
AzyxA’s Funspot Flickr set – CLICK THIS ONE!