I parked my car in front of a pretty nondescript brown drab looking building. The lot was decently full so I wondered where everyone was. I knew as soon as I opened the door as laughter filled the air. In front of me was a row of old table based video games and I could hear the jingle jangle of coin machines in the distance. I had heard that this was one of the biggest retro arcades in the United States and I was ready to loose myself for the day.
Apparently, some people call Funspot the Disney World of New Hampshire. I think that’s a little bit hyperbolic, but it is pretty amazing. Founded by Bob Lawton in 1952, there are over 500 arcade machines on site ranging from pinball, to ticket dispensing, to the classic joystick/button combo that I grew up knowing and loving. I wasn’t aware while I was there, but the Guinness Book of World Records officially named the Arcade the “Biggest Arcade in the World” in 2008.
On site, is also the American Classic Arcade Museum which has over 180 classic games dated before 1988. Every year until 2012, a tournament was held using these machines by fans attempting to break world records of their beloved games. Guinness was on site to give official times. Interestingly, when asked why 1988 was used as the cutoff date for the games, they say that’s when they started noticing a shift in the type of games from fantasy to shoot-em-punch-em and they thought that would be a good marker.
My favorite thing about this place was that I was able to go as an adult. I remember being a kid, scrounging the couch for every last quarter before I went to the arcade, or beg my parents for a way to earn a dollar or two. The quarters would quickly run out, and I would leave having only gotten to the second level of any game. I don’t think I ever made it to level 3, no matter the game. Now I have my own money though. I saw two games that I had played as a child, being Captain America and the Avengers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. I immediately changed out a $20 bill and went to town. I spent about an hour and a half playing each game to completion. I was really surprised how short they were, but I guess when you can’t get passed level 2, they don’t need to be long. Until next time, I dream of the nostalgia that I felt here.
Closest Supercharger: Hooksett NH 44 mi
Southbound Interstate 93, Hooksett, NH 03106
579 Endicott St N, Laconia, NH 03246