Joystick Joy: Pasadena's New Neon Retro Arcade

How fast are your Frogger reaction times? Time to see.

If you were 11 years old in 1981, you had a few important dreams. Own a jacket like Fonzie's was probably on your list, and get your haircut like Lady Di, and you wanted to one day possess a stand-up Pac-Man arcade game, right there in your own den, meaning you'd never have to change a dollar bill for four quarters again.

And then you'd be the coolest, awesomest, baddest kid on the block.

You're still the coolest kid, even if you never got that longed-for stand-up Pac-Man. But you can get that stand-up Pac-Man experience, and jump back into a number of other 8-bit classics, when Neon Retro Arcade debuts on Pasadena's Raymond Avenue.

Opening date? Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, which, to a kid's ears back in 1981, sounded like a bajillion years in the future. Surely we'd all wearing glowing spacesuits by now?

Well, no, but you can feel revel in that future-past nostalgia while taking on one of the Neon Retro Arcade's 40-plus games. Is Pac-Man on of the machines? You jest, surely? Opening an '80s-tastic arcade lacking in Pac-Man is like serving a hamburger with no patty. 

Frogger, Space Invaders, Centipede, and other gems your 1981 self excelled at are all in the house. And if you weren't yet alive in 1981, but boast old-school joystick prowess and a passion for the DayGlo-iest of decades, you are most certainly welcome, too.

As for the stack o' quarters situation at the Neon Retro Arcade? The arcade vows that gamers'll pay "one great price" for all-day play. Pretty sweet, especially because a stack o' quarters can run low pretty quickly, as 1981 kids remember. And you always had to save one quarter to call your mom or dad to come pick you up.

The Scene

Want to find new things to do in Los Angeles? The Scene's lifestyle stories have you covered. Here's your go-to source on where the fun is across SoCal and for the weekend.

These are the most exciting travel destinations for 2024, according to National Geographic

Christmas Tree Lane's deodar cedars are full of vintage vibrancy (and entry is free)

Oh, pay phones.

Want to be at the Neon Retro on opening night? Pay ten bucks per hour and play all the games you want from 7 p.m. to midnight on Jan. 30. That's a lot of games per hour — if you're super good.

And you were totally super good back in '81, right? Sorry you never got your stand-up Pac-Man for the den, but we're just betting you have a Fonzie jacket somewhere in your closet, because you were, and likely are, the coolest kid ever.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us