Many of us were blessed with high-tech goodies over the holidays ― devices with 3-D interfaces, devices that obey verbal orders and follow the directions in which we flail our arms or even devices that we place over our eyes to transport us to a virtual world.
Yet, even though we live in a world which once described the future ― a world of hoverboards, robots and voice-operated technology ― there’s something about the past that still draws us in, and nostalgic 8-bit games with only a couple buttons and a joystick are certainly no exception.
Traditional, old-fashioned arcades are few and far between and have been replaced with high-tech entertainment centers like Dave & Buster’s and GameRoom. But Arcade Odyssey, with its wide collection of the traditional games we all know and love, serves as a time machine back to when arcades were popular places to hang out with friends and spend extra allowance money on competing to get the highest scores on games.
Regardless of how advanced technology becomes, Pacman and Galaga will always be classic, and playing them online or on an app will never be the same as competing to get the high score on its original, massive, rectangular device. The founders of Arcade Odyssey were clearly aware of this, and that’s what makes it so special.
Arcade Odyssey looks pretty underwhelming from the exterior, with its seemingly random location in the middle of a Miami shopping center, but once you enter the front door, it’s clear that this hidden gem is every videogame lover’s dream. Arcade Odyssey has one of the largest private videogame collections in the area, with over 100 consoles available for gameplay. Included in its expansive collection are rows and rows of the original versions of games we all know and love, like Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, Dance Dance Revolution and a few lesser-known games, like Rampage and Burger Time.
It’s easy to spend hours wandering around the arcade like it’s a museum, admiring the nostalgic sentiments each game possesses and trying to figure out which game to play next. It’s even easier to spend hours entering coins into the same machine, desperately striving to see your name on the leaderboard.
Near the back of the facility, there’s a room filled with computers for those who want to play online games, like League of Legends and Hearthstone, serving as a reminder that, yes, it’s 2016, and, no, we didn’t just step out of a time machine. Here, the arcade’s staff hosts Hearthstone and Super Smash Bros. tournaments on a weekly basis. The tournaments are open to everyone, but cost $10 to enter ― 50 percent of which goes into the earning pot for the winner. If you’re interested in competing in a tournament, or you really just want to watch, check out Arcade Odyssey’s Facebook for event dates at facebook.com/arcadeodyssey. If you’re not, don’t worry; the tournament won’t overcrowd the facility or obstruct your gameplay.
Arcade Odyssey is also incredibly affordable compared to its competitors. One dollar is worth three tokens, and a majority of the games are worth only one or two tokens. Meanwhile, games at Dave & Buster’s can cost anywhere between five to seven tokens, and just an hour of entertainment is usually at least $25. Meanwhile, I only spent $25 total for three hours of gameplay at Arcade Odyssey, and it was worth every penny.
If you need to rest your hands after hours of rigorous videogame playing and are craving a snack break, the concession desk offers a variety of popular Japanese drinks and treats, like Ramune sodas, Pockeys, Panda Crackers and more. But if you’re looking for something more substantial, there’s an excellent pizza place right next door and a sports bar a couple doors down.
While Miami is quite the drive away, Arcade Odyssey’s unique assortment of video games and the opportunity to crush your friends in them makes it worth the drive.
Address: 12045 SW 117 Ave., Miami
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m.-midnight
Friday from 2 p.m.-2 a.m.
Saturday from noon-2 a.m.
Sunday from noon-10 p.m.