A couple months ago a friend and I decided to go on a road-trip to Germany to discover the hidden arcade gems in Germany. Of course we used this great map on this great website called something like Arcade Universe, it seems the have more than 350 arcade location on this awesome map 😛
If you are also looking for arcades in your town just check our map here: http://www.arcadeuniverse.net/arcade-map/
This was the plan:
11:00 Taurus World of Adventure in Velden (The Netherlands)
20:00 RetroGames eV in Karlsruhe (Germany)
Giga Center Koln (Cologne, Germany)
Now that we planned the trip it was time to pack our bags. My son let me borrow his backpack as it is important to travel in style 😎
Of course we also need musical assistance that fit the road-trip. Hmm.. difficult, what music works best on the autobahn going a minimum of 160 km/h 😆
First stop, Taurus World of Adventure in Velden The Netherlands:
At 11:05 we were the first to arrive at the arcade. How do I know? Well when we arrived the doors were simply closed. At first we thought the company was closed but after double checking their website I decided to give them a call. They picked up the phone immediately. Taurus World Velden how can I help? What time do you open? 11:00 am? Would you mind opening the doors, it seems they are still closed 😀 The doors opened immediately after receiving a big apology. Taurus is a big party center with multiple activities ranging from laser gaming, bowling, grill etc and also has an arcade with some nice machines, good selection of different games but mainly newer machines. I didn’t have a lot of expectation of the arcade upfront but when we arrived we kind were pretty enthusiastic about this location. Have a look for yourself.
This game I want to elaborate on separately. At first I though this was just another game until my friend literally dragged me to this cab and we played Jurassic Park… WHAT … A… RIDE. If you talk about what a real arcade experience is this is the game you really need to try. The game is over the top (but not to much over the top, well maybe even a lot over the top actually), great interaction with the environment and usage of the world to play in, a lot of variation within the game (jumping in and out of helicopters and cars, walking, big Dino’s, small Dino’s etc), fast paced, a real thrill ride due to the motion of the cab. Although a bit expensive I am glad we played this game. Go find it, you will not regret it!
Mario Kart, never skip this one 😀 always great fun to play this as multiplayer (let’s be honest, arcades are meant to be for multiplayer, games and friends are the way to enjoy it).
And now over to this beauty, Terminator Salvation SDX. With an 100 inch screen (2,54 meter) and 2 huge terminator busts on top of the screen this is one impressive arcade cabinet. The machine guns are great fun with a reload mechanism on the bottom of the gun where the magazine is located. It is impressive to see. Sound was a bit on the low side to really enjoy it but nevertheless a great machine to play and a real eye-catcher.
This was a great arcade location. A great variety of games. To be fair if you really are an arcade nerd (no offence NeTaXe 😛 ) you would notice that some of the force feedback’s are not adjusted properly, missing or broken. Another point of improvement could be that they only have newer machines. Considering that kids come here with their parents it would have been great if they had some more 90’s and perhaps even 1 or 2 80’s machines, however that really is a very specific audience. But why not a nice Street Fighter, or a brawler like Final Fight or some Neo Geo games. Nevertheless there was a great vibe, great selection of machines (even pinball’s) and a lot to do next to the arcade games. This is definitely a place to return to once in a while and I would recommend this to everyone.
Second stop, RetroGames eV in Karlsruhe Germany:
Before we went to RetroGames eV we checked in the hotel. Good solid hotel. Rooms were renovated and the price was very fair. It was around the corner, maybe only 10 mins walk from the arcade.
Around 19:45 we went to RetroGames eV. After the 10 mins walk we arrived at a commercial area with some warehouses and some other commercial buildings. Following the address we found a big sign with the name RetroGames eV on it. We were at the right location. The building itself was pretty dated however it did the trick. We got up the stairs and around the corner and we were welcomed by an arcade machine following the path to RetroGames eV. There was a nice little bar there with 2 gentlemen of an older generation 🙂 . Very friendly people. Admission price was EUR 3,- (machines on free play) and beers were EUR 1,50. Not expensive at all to be honest. This is what it looked like:
They have around 80 working machines including a couple of pinball machines and a very nice Space Harrier DLX that you have to try. Full motion that was working superbly. This place is very dedicated on 80s machines. What I loved is that most machines had a piece of paper floating above them with some explanation of who created the arcade cabinet together with information on the games and other interesting information. Although I am not the biggest 80s fan this is an experience you do not want to miss. The cabs were in good condition, not only working but also the artwork is pretty well preserved. Later on we noticed that the music was very good too. One of the guys at the bar was actually “mixing” 80s music in some sort of remixes. It was pretty decent and very appropriate to the location. I loved it. We stayed there about 3.5 hours before we were done and went back to the hotel. Overall it was definitely worth visiting this arcade and I would highly recommend arcade enthusiasts to have a look here. These guys have great place to be very proud of.
Third stop, Giga Center Koln in Germany:
As we were heading back home the plan was to visit Giga Center in Koln especially because their website mentioned that they have an Outrun 2 DLX. Seriously, only for that machine we would detour 😀
When we arrived we found a 4 story high modern building in the center of Koln which was a entertainment center with Darts, Pool, Casino, Internet and they also happened to have some arcade machines however this place is probably a good way to spend some time with friends and some beers however this is not a real place to go for any arcade enthusiast.
Cruis’n Blast was probably the best game they had. This was a typical arcade game. Fast paced, a little over the top and a great multiplayer. The were a bit too commercially focused, a lot of lights and gimmicks but poor game-play and nothing really special to be honest.
A part of the games were on the ground floor but in the basement they also had some pinball’s and this great Pacman Battle Royale Deluxe which was pretty cool.
Somewhere around a corner we found some decent DLX shooters and a game called After Dark published by a company called UNIS. It is a pretty bad game to be honest and the game was pretty shaky. They also had Terminator Salvation DLX and Rambo DLX which was pretty cool. But… where is the Outrun 2 Deluxe? 🙁
To be honest this location was a bit of a disappointment. The games were poor, selection was limited and their website did not mention the proper selection of games they had on the location. We had a nice couple of games but were done after 15 minutes. If you are in Koln and you fancy a beer, some pool, darts, a little gamble then just put some coins in these machines as well however I would not recommend visiting this location for the arcade machines alone.
Having said that it was time to head back home… of course with the appropriate musical assistance. Let’s give it up for: