Arcade Odyssey: The Final Arcade

Surprisingly, choices for Basic Arcade Gaming in Miami, Florida are fairly restricted. I discovered myself on the town for a few days again in November 2018 after visiting the Free Play Florida occasion, and was stunned by Google’s distinct lack of recommendations for locations to take a look at, given the scale and cultural significance of the town itself.

Other than a few ‘barcade’ kind arcades that didn’t look terribly inspiring, one place did soar out – Arcade Odyssey. Situated within the south of the town, this arcade has been round for a number of years now. I realised that I had really popped in for a couple of minutes on my solution to the airport throughout a visit a few years again; however I’ve to confess it didn’t go away an enormous impression on me. A buddy advised me that issues had modified considerably since my go to, following an enlargement into the property subsequent door, so I used to be eager to make a return to take a look at how issues had been shaping up.

I’m glad I did.

Miami’s Arcade Odyssey

Arcade Odyssey is positioned in a small strip mall and welcomes prospects with ground to ceiling branding blacking out its glass storefront:

The distinct branding of Arcade Odyssey

First impressions are all the things, and strolling by way of the doorways, you might be hit with a cacophony of noise and lights. There’s no doubting the place you might be. The arcade itself is damaged down into three distinct areas – fashionable machines, pinball and naturally, the classics. Elsewhere out again is a full Lan Middle PC setup the place common gaming tournaments happen. There’s additionally a smattering of contemporary consoles, operating the most recent video games.

One of many issues that makes Arcade Odyssey stand out from the group is its pricing. Amazingly, it nonetheless operates a token system. There aren’t any cowl fees or entrance charges. Stroll as much as one of many three change machines and also you’ll discover that a single greenback buys you three tokens, whereas spending $10 or $20 earns you bonus tokens on high. Most machines are priced at 1 or 2 tokens per play, with only a few bigger or new video games costing three or four tokens. This mannequin provides to the authenticity of the place in comparison with the same old ‘payment on the door’ mannequin discovered at most traditional arcades as of late.

The PCs and consoles discovered within the arcade may be rented by the hour or for a full day.

Let’s check out the trendy part of the arcade:

There’s mixture of newer arcade cupboards, together with a number of iterations of Home of the Lifeless. Additionally, I would like that carpet in my video games room!Time Disaster three and maybe essentially the most spectacular of the brand new stuff, a six participant X-Males upright!A uncommon Guitar Hero and massively enjoyable 2-player Mario KartThe first considered one of these I’ve ever come throughout – Sega’s very uncommon two participant Digital-OnI didn’t seize the very best image of it, however within the foreground right here is Aarr Applied sciences’ Jet-Ball. It is a distinctive recreation that takes cues from old-fashioned Foosball and air hockey tables. You’re unlikely to come back throughout considered one of these anyplace. Nice enjoyable and tremendous attention-grabbing to get a chance to play

Strolling across the arcade, you’ll come throughout a number of Sweet cupboards. Considerably, this provides Arcade Odyssey the chance to vary video games out frequently from its in depth catalogue of video games in storage. Of explicit be aware throughout my go to was this very uncommon title, The Act:

Developed in 2006 and initially supposed for an arcade-only launch, the sport was examined out within the discipline in North America for a brief periodDespite receiving beneficial trade critiques, the sport did not see a full arcade releaseNote the distinct customized management panel. The sport runs from an authentic PCB

The Act is basically an interactive film, utilising hand drawn cartoon scenes created by former Disney artists. It truly is a factor of magnificence. It has had a troubled historical past by way of launch however is a real piece of arcade historical past and I’d urge you to play it – it’s not obtainable for play on some other platform, not even MAME. It was faraway from the Apple retailer over a yr in the past and doesn’t exist on some other platform anyplace else – that is it! Learn extra about The Act right here.

Speaking of Sweet cupboards, this superb row of Sega Blast Metropolis cupboards is a sight to behold:

A plethora of uncommon titles are on present together with puzzlers, combating video games, platformers and shoot-em-upsAnother uncommon one right here. Sega’s SegaSonic The Hedgehog. This title makes use of trackballs to manage the characters. I think you’ll not discover one other in any Western arcade. Learn extra right here.You’ll additionally discover a suite of flat display screen Viewlix cupboards out on the ground. Once more, the video games are commonly rotated

Pinball is properly represented at Odyssey. An important number of fashionable pins is on the market to play:

This lot ought to hold you entertained. Word the brand new Stern Star Wars pin thereStern’s wonderful desk, Guardians of the Galaxy, alongside Spiderman and GhostBusters. No complaints right here from me!

And so onto the classics. These are broadly specified by a second space that has opened up since my final go to. What can I say? It is a nice curated number of video games, that doesn’t simply give attention to the same old suspects like Asteroids, Robotron and Pac-Man. Certain, the mainstream titles are there, however there are different rarer titles too:

The neon lighting on this part actually makes the art work pop on the machines. This Vanguard was just about mint. It’s no coincidence that Centuri constructed this recreation in its manufacturing facility a number of miles north of Odyssey’s locationA good combine of cupboards right here from Pac-Man to Devil’s HollowThe vibrant scene within the classics space of Arcade OdysseyA Neo-Geo multi, Nintendo R-Sort and Bally Halfway’s Tapper. All in superior conditionGottlieb’s Q*Bert and Atari CentipedeGyruss, Gorf, Galaxian, Xevious, Donkey Kong, Area Invaders, and Wacko. Superior stuff. The whole lot working and well-maintainedOne of the rarer titles on show throughout my go to was this Halfway Wacko. Launched in 1983, it includes a weird management panel set at an angle, with joystick and trackball controls. Nice to see one within the flesh!

If you happen to want a break from the motion, there’s a bar counter in the back of the arcade, serving a wonderful number of draft/bottled craft and imported beers, alongside genuine Japanese snacks and smooth drinks. Extra machines are positioned right here:

Centuri’s Monitor & Subject in cocktail formatAnother uncommon one right here. Atari’s Millipede cocktail!Taito’s electro-mechanical Ice Chilly Beer

Strolling round, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that the machines replicate the thought and fervour that’s gone into creating an area that gamers need to go to. However that’s solely a part of the story. As a contemporary arcade, Arcade Odyssey has the flexibility to get prospects again repeatedly. Utilizing its in depth stock of boards, you’re unlikely to see the identical suite of titles from month to month. With area for nearly 200 cupboards, the arcade can commonly serve up video games that you just wouldn’t often come throughout. And all the things runs on authentic hardware – in itself, that is fairly one thing.

Consideration to element is what makes Arcade Odyssey. The neon wall artwork actually makes the place come alive

Merely put, it’s an superior proposition for each the informal customer and fanatic. However who’s behind Arcade Odyssey? I used to be lucky sufficient to satisfy and discuss with the proprietor, Rick Medina. It’s laborious to not be impressed by his ardour. Inside seconds, Rick’s infectious enthusiasm attracts you into his imaginative and prescient for the arcade. His huge assortment of online game paraphernalia is as enormous as it’s spectacular. He took me out to the storage space and shared simply a few of the stock he owns:

These bins home arcade PCBs. These are used to rotate the video games out on the arcade floorYou might eat your dinner off this one! That is considered one of only a few authentic Edward Randy PCBs discovered within the worldAll these cupboards are 100% working and kind a part of the rotation coverage that the arcade has in place. Word the Tunnel Hunt and Star Rider within the background there. Can you notice the Pc Area?Extra cupboards from Arcade Odyssey’s stock, ready to be positioned out on the ground

However its all within the particulars. Rick has no intention of adjusting the token based mostly mannequin he works to. The weekly coin-count reconciliation from every machine, (utilizing an authentic old-fashioned token counter wheeled by way of the arcade on a trolley!) tells him what’s being performed and what isn’t – and this may steer the route of what you see on the ground. With this weekly suggestions from prospects, Arcade Odyssey continuously understands what its prospects need to play and what they don’t – and so, adjustments may be shortly made:

The weekly token depend supplies common suggestions to the arcade

Discovering an old-fashioned arcade that also delivers such an genuine ‘pay per play’ expertise is tough in itself, and this one is the furthest south in mainland USA.

This really is America’s ‘final arcade’.

You should definitely try ‘The Urn’. That is mounted up on the wall within the nook of the rear of Arcade odyssey, and homes all the tokens that flip up within the money bins from different arcades!  That is executed out of respect and as a memento for all of the arcades which have come and gone earlier than Arcade Odyssey.

Rick’s long-term plan for the arcade is to increase to deal with a devoted online game museum, permitting the general public to see and get hands-on with the gathering he’s amassed through the years. Till then, there’s loads to see and do at Arcade Odyssey. I can’t suggest this place extremely sufficient. The thought and fervour that’s goes into this place is in contrast to some other arcade I’ve visited. The whole lot could be very properly laid out, the ambiance and vibe is nice, and extra importantly, you’ll uncover a ton of rarities as you stroll round. I can’t watch for my subsequent go to.

Your roving reporter and Arcade Odyssey’s Rick Medina – thanks to your hospitality Rick!

This place is a straightforward 10/10 – be sure to try Arcade Odyssey if you end up in Miami. Extra info, together with opening occasions, and an inventory of present playable titles may be discovered right here.

See you subsequent time

Tony

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