Any veterans of the long-departed NYC arcade scene?

(First off, yeah I am new here but have been lurking 'round this here forum for quite awhile now, too long I should say before I went about registering or rather was able to register. I sure as hell know how to behave and act so take it easy on the newb)

I’ve lived in NYC my entire life (20 years) and have seen a lot of things change and come and go, etc.

As it has been the case across the entire US for more than a decade now, the NYC arcade scene is more or less dead, with only a handful of arcade spots (if you could even call them that) and of course “Chinatown Fair” left. But still up until a decade ago when the scene had already been in decline all over for awhile (more powerful consoles, improved arcade ports and other known factors blasi blasi etc.) it was an almost entirely different situation, only that you had to look harder to find some arcades and comp…like the various NYC hoods if you were willing to take the risk. :rofl: (In all seriousness, you would’ve been surprised what you’d find in some hoods back then) The Flushing area still had that nifty arcade (obscured by posters on the outside) along with probably others and some great game stores (another dying breed in NYC) before (from what I’ve heard) that whole area got completely yuppified. (Man, I haven’t been up there in 6-7 years…) CTF was still around of course, and the Times Square seen had already been on it’s death knell as it was around a decade ago that the “Disneyfication” began. The first of the money-grubbing, flashy “arcades”, the ill-fated “XS” went up around this time.

As for me, I regret to say that I rarely ventured outside of my neighborhood as far as arcades go as I was still young. But around my way there were still plenty of indie arcade rooms and spots. One of the great (and funny) things about NYC arcades (or at least the ones in the hoods) is that you’d often find them in the most random, remote or oddest of places. Laundromats and rented arcade rooms were always common, but finding and playing a group of coin-ops in a grocery, florist shop,diner, street corner ,some hole in the wall and a SHOE STORE (whose coin-ops generated more sales and visitors than they did) was always a trip. Walking on a cold, dark-as-hell Winter morning and seeing from across the street a lone Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter cab, standing outside of a closed shop and shining brightly as the only light on that street is a sight I’ll never forget. Would’ve been better if the sound was on and that booming intro blared onto the street :rofl: It was always fun and cheap to play in these aforementioned arcade spots back then, none of that overpriced crap.

Of course things didn’t last that long a decade ago, and as a kid playing in these aforementioned arcades I was oblivious to a whole lot of shit that came with these arcade spots. I’d say one of the main reasons why the NYC arcade scene died out is because many if not most arcades attracted delinquents, drug activity, violence and overall just a whole lot of undesirable people and shit that marred the experience and put arcades under scrutiny. When the Giuliani Administration finally started kicking into full gear and changes were occuring, arcades were one of the first things to go as they were seen and considered DDD (dirty, dingy and dangerous) and unprofitable. It happened all over in NYC, and fast. By the beginning of this decade a whole lot of arcades were shuttered and removed in favor of other fare, and only a handful of those flashy, expensive arcades popped up in their wake and nothing else. Before I knew it, BAM!, the NYC arcade scene was dead.

Even though I wasn’t aware of the delinquency, drug activity, money laundering or other shit that occured at these arcades that I played at and in the end it was for the best of the surrounding communities, I still miss the NYC arcade scene of yore (even if I was coming up during the tail end of it). Yet I’m also glad that I came out of those days unscathed, in one piece and alive. :lol: So for those of you former/current NYC’ers or anybody who played in NYC back in the day, care to reminisce and reflect on those days gone by???


  • I’d really like to hear some stories and memories of what was probably NYC’s most famous (and infamous) arcade, the long-gone “Playland” and all those others in the Times Square area. I never did get around to visiting or playing in it before it was closed, yet have heard so much infamy from it. Where were they located and what’s there now???

  • How long has CTF been around??? And how about some stories of the CTF of yore???

  • For those of you who watch NYC public access TV (specifically in Manhattan), anyone recall the various video game/anime shows aired on them back in the days??? I grew in Manhattan and later moved to Brooklyn, and Manhattan has MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network). They had shows on dealing with the latest and popular games and anime and many fighting games. Those shows while crude really contributed to my love of fighting games (even though I still suck at them…control pad player here care to donate a stick???) and to a lesser extent anime. Shows that come to mind are “The World of Video Games”, “Kamikaze Fly”, “Anime & Games”, "Animation & Games and "Game World. I was wondering if some of the dudes behind those shows frequent or frequented SRK…

Back in BK I used to play XSF is a bowling alley, MvSF in a video rental store, and A3 in an ice cream shop. MvC1 in a pizza place and the first CvS2 cab I saw was in the back of the Bargain Bazaar on Fulton Street (they had it before CF got it in).


So many spots. I miss that shit.

Been to ctf alot bout 2 yrs ago that the only arcade i know in NYC in LI though 5-6 yrs ago in the broadway mall was this bombass HUGE arcade…so sad all LI got left is the nathans arcade.

Woops, forgot to mention the recently-departed “Lazer Park”, second best arcade in NYC next to CTF. Back around 2001-2003 IIRC they had their entire upper floor dedicated to classic coin-ops. A sight I hadn’t seen in ages even back then. The problem??? Well, most of the machines were either turned off/unplugged or defective, and only a handful of games were available to play. Their “Final Fight” machine was on but stole my fucking 50 Cents. :annoy: Best game I played there was a hacked version of SF2:CE (don’t recall which hack, I think it was Rainbow) and the arcade “Punch-Out”. Sucks that they closed down as well.

Damn, aren’t there any more people from the NYC area around here??? :sad:

There was an arcade here in brighton beach on the boardwalk but they took it away
to put a russian bar

hey you might wanna read this

dam sabin first time i seen you in a while

I played mostly in the Bronx at Neo Crash and various other shops before discovering Chinatown Fair in 2000. I go on and off to CF due to the fact that nowadays I’m more of a Sanwa player. I can’t play on Happ sticks anymore.

I’ll start returning to CF a lot more due to Arcana Heart. Oh, and Broadway City and Lazer Park were the worst. Aside from the expensive games, the players bitched a lot about losing.

My friends and I would always play back then, when we were still in school.

Then real life happened, and to make things worse, there were 6 marvel vs capcom 2 arcades within an 8 block radius back then and now I can’t find one.

Yeah, I had read that already before making this thread. I’d say it’s one of the things which lead me to making this thread actually. But I’ve still heard conflicting reports as to when Playland and the Broadway Arcade closed. That article says around late '97/early '98, while elsewhere like on old New York Times articles I read it was 1994ish.

And ElderGOD…your AV…is that seriously him unmasked??? :confused:

Wow… this takes me back. I remember riding the train in from Long Island to Manhattan, and always heading up to the arcade in Penn Station and play for a few hours. I remember heading up to the Broadway Arcade the night I heard Marvel Super Heroes was there. An hour and a half train ride in, Passing up Playland and its ever vigilant flashing Light. I’ll always go to Playland later, after I’m all loosened up. One thing about Playland…it was so frickin small… and all the Big games were in the back. Sure, there were a few Capcom 2D fighters and Neo Geos here and there on the way back. But the big ticket games were always in the back. Sometimes it was like there was no air back there. I remember this one time, somone sprayed a can of Mace in that place. Half the people left, but no one playing budged… gamer dedication. I had such good times in some of these places. One by one they have all disappeared.

Times have changed…

ahhhh the memories…

aside from CF there was another arcade in Chinatown or better they sold asian nudey mags, anime, videos bootleg ps1 games. i remember it being right under the Manhattan Bridge…My high school was in Harlem i would take the d from 125th to Grand and i still love that walk to CF, especially in the winter

Broadway arcade was the place to go for alpha 2 and ST during the day cause the freaks came out at night :looney: :looney: :looney: :looney: :looney:

in brooklyn near Kings Plaza mall there was this arcade call Fairyland Arcade i had good times there too. i was one of the few that could play Killer Instinct correctly.


I hear sometimes of drama at CF …but i was lucky i guess, i only had to knock one kid out since i’ve been going there. i still like CF but its ashame that in a way its the last fort.

but it hsnt been the same in NY i’ve really considered opening up an arcade but the money i’d spend on the cabs plus rent i’d propably never even break even at least. i’m guilty of being a stay at home gamer myself. but the memories,the wins, the losses, the adventures, the girls and the TRAVELING will always be priceless :sad: :sad: :sad:

somebody hold me…i’m about to cry

I played ST at Fairyland waaaaaaaaaaay back in time.

THhe B46 still stops right across the street from it

the burger king attached to it is still there…the arcade itself still has the sign but it looks like it should be in a horrof film. Its truly a picture of a dead arcade

i dont know of anywhere else in BK to find an arcade

hold dat, good shit :slight_smile:

That guy knows the Flushing area pretty well - referring to the article I linked. (which is my old stomping grounds around these parts too). Back during the golden age, I stayed in my “box” aka jackson heights and played some sf, and leeched info from the gamepro guides cause i was a young 11 year old scrub like that. i used to get fucked around with by the people that were 10 years my senior

Playland closed sometime around 98 or early 99. I remember the latest games they had in there were mvc1, mk4. and who could forget the shadiness goign on in the playland place back in the day. I got picked up for truancy there as a kid while playing some mvsf LOL. and i wasn’t too into any type of drugs or shady shit at the time so i was kind of oblivious to anything that was going on. but i would head up to times square at all hours of the night though…lol.

ahh good times good times. lol