Palace Arcade isn’t your granddad’s video game arcade, although he – and anyone with an interest in golden-era video gaming – is welcome to join in the fun.
Since Broadsheet broke the news of Palace Arcade’s opening in June, interest levels in the venture have been high. After an at-times torturous two-month wait – see the steady stream of vintage-gaming porn drip-fed to us by owner Saran Bajaj and team via social media – Palace Arcade will welcome its first guests this weekend.
Here’s what you need to know. The bar will take over the old Dominion League site on Beaufort Street. Although Bajaj has amassed a collection of some 150 machines, only 50 will be available to play at any time, but management assures Broadsheet each month’s rotation of games will include a mix of driving, shooting and scrolling games split between the bar’s two floors. Games are between $1 and $2 to play, and machines accept charge cards guests load with money.
While the video games are new, some aspects of Palace Arcade will be instantly familiar to Dominion League regulars – not least the presence of popular bartenders Tom Kearney and Mitch Gurrin, who have stayed on post-changeover. Translation: sharp cocktails, whisky aplenty and good times ahoy. The food will be supplied by Mack Daddy’s New York Pizza with pies available whole and by the slice.
The games are a who’s-who of golden-era video gaming with the ’80s and ’90s particularly well represented. There are the classics – the two Championship Edition Street Fighter 2 cabinets, say – and the obscure (that’d be games such as Revolution X, an uncommon shoot-em-up starring, believe it or not, band Aerosmith). Plus there are games for one (an original Space Invaders, complete with side-to-side joystick) and four-player beat-‘em-ups (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons and X-Men). Suffice to say you won’t be wanting for things to play, or drink for that matter.
In a nod to both the calibre of the games and the talent behind the bar, here’s the Broadsheet hit-list of five games we’re dying to play, plus what we’d match them with from the Palace Arcade drinks list.
The classic late-’80s platform scroller involves players taking control of bubble-blowing dragons Bub and Bob as they battle their way through 100 levels of bubble-busting fun to save their girlfriends. Addictive doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Drink with: glasses of Castelli sparkling or any of the other bubbles on the wine list.
Johnny Cage. Scorpion. Kano. All familiar faces from one of the beat-‘em-up genre’s big two, and the perfect way to relive the halcyon days of the ’90s.
Drink with: Penicillin Punch. Created by Australian bartender Sam Ross, The Penicillin (a potent all-in of whisky, lemon, honey and ginger) is a modern classic. Switch the whisky out for rum and lengthen the drink with soda and you’ll have no troubles... finishing him.
A pre-governor-of-California-Arnie travels back in time to save the world from Skynet and provide gamers with plenty of opportunities to recite quotes from the James Cameron classic: “Hold my drink, I’ll be back.”
Drink with: Tecate. What else is a bikie-dressed robot tough guy going to sip on?
There were plenty of first-person race-against-the-clock blasters before this, but the introduction of the “hide” pedal was a game changer. Find a friend and relive your secret-agent fantasies ad infinitum.
Drink with: Thyme Crisis, a winning mix of tequila, blood orange, thyme and naming cocktails after video games.
This four-player medieval hack-and-slasher from the ’80s arguably pioneered the dungeon-crawl genre. Choose your character (warrior, wizard, Valkyrie or elf) and then get to work vanquishing baddies with sword play and spell casting.
Drink with: Beer Farm cloudy cider. In the game, cider helps replenish a character’s health. Why should real life not be the same?
Palace Arcade opens on Saturday September 1.
84 Beaufort Street, Perth
(08) 9227 7439
Wed to Sat 12pm–2am