Monday, December 20, 2010
Located in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, Funspot is an amazing "family fun" style establishment and is home to the American Classic Arcade Museum. In 2008 the Guinness Book of World Records named it the largest arcade in the world with a count of over 500 games. The facility also has bowling, indoor mini-golf, bingo, a restaurant and a bar. 180 of the games are from the 70's or 80's and their warehouse holds 100 more or so from those decades.
On my bike trip to Canada this past summer I planned the route to include a stop there. I first learned about Funspot in the documentary The King of Kong, a David vs. Goliath tale with the colorful world of competitive gaming as the backdrop. If you haven't seen this yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. Even if you don't know a thing about video games, it is engaging film with unforgettable characters that will stick with you far past the conclusion.
I knew this stop would certainly be memorable, especially for my inner child. I spent countless weekends at places like Putt Putt Golf and Games, Diamond Jim's, Aladdin's Castle, Galleria Fun Country, Show Biz, Vestavia Bowl and Magic Mountain (all of which should ring a bell for anyone who grew up on the 80's and 90's in Birmingham). I had no idea the scope and quality of this establishment. Funspot is full of games and the majority of the cabinets are in perfect working order and in fantastic shape.
I grabbed a $20 worth of tokens and got to it. The only downside to my visit was my lack of time. I could have spent to days pumping quarters into the machines. Memories of childhood came rushing back, some general and others very specific. I thought about having to rush for the change machine before the 10 count to continue without losing your progress or having to give up the machine to whoever had their token on the screen's ledge. I remember the satisfaction of slamming the uppercut button on Punch-Out...the frustration of getting your ass handed to you the first time you tried Dragon's Lair...the guilty pleasure of shooting a villager in Operation Wolf...never being able to kill the pterodactyl in Joust.
I left with an overwhelming sense of joy and a huge smile on my face. If you were ever into games as a kid, this is your Mecca. Should you ever find yourself ever remotely close, you owe it to yourself to take some time to visit. Funspot will not disappoint.
Below are some pictures of my favorites. You can see their entire list of games here.
Yeah, that a sit down version of Spy Hunter.
The one that started it all...
Taken with flash off, awesome cabinet.
Gorgar, the first talking pinball machine in perfect playable, talking condition.
(Showbiz in Vestavia had this game forever...awesome)