Travel Blog

11 Oct

Hidden Gem Alert! Old-school arcade games in Vancouver

Remember when video games were easy?  I’m talking about way before Wii or PlayStation or XBox . . . back when all you had to do was gobble up pellets, jump over logs or shoot-up little pixelated spacecraft?  If you remember those days fondly, then there’s a place in Vancouver you have to check out.

It’s called John’s Jukes, and it’s located on Main Street near Broadway, right next to the Foundation restaurant.  I wandered inside last week and was blown away by what I found. Lining the walls of this dusty old room were dozens of very old school arcade games from the ’70s and ’80s, everything from a tabletop, two-player version of Ms Pac Man to Asteroid, the original 1973 classic.

Now, sadly, John’s Jukes isn’t an arcade.  It’s a repair shop that also sells vintage video games (and they aren’t cheap).  So you can’t actually pop in a quarter and play.  But you can admire these beauties from a distance – which I did.

Who wouldn’t get a little teary-eyed, for instance, about an original Space Invaders arcade game?  Released in 1978, Space Invaders was one of the earliest shooting games ever made.  You have to blast endless, monotonous waves of aliens with a laser cannon. The graphics are primitive.  The boards are really repetitive.  But it’s a ton of fun (In case you’re curious, John’s Jukes is selling the arcade game in its cabinet for $1495).

Apart from dozens of arcade games, the store also has many, many vintage pinball machines, as well as old restored juke boxes.  Part of the experience is just wandering around inside.  Everything is covered in dust.  Spare circuit boards and random parts are lying everywhere.  And you can peer into a back room where old games and juke boxes have been pried open and are halfway through repairs.  It’s a mess – in the best way possible.

Any other old school video game fans out there?  Been to John’s Jukes? What’s your favourite game from back in the day? Comment below.

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