It’s hard not to have a good time at an arcade, no matter what age you are. Looking for a new arcade to frequent, or for a party or event? Check out our list below.

by Max Fisher

There are dozens of amazing arcades around Buffalo Niagara to choose from

Just When You’re About to Reach for that 5-Hour Energy

We all have to find ways to unwind; otherwise, we’re liable to burnout and go on a 5-hour energy binge to try to get back the energy we’ve lost (SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN: it doesn’t work, you’ll just end up feeling more tired) and no one wants that. Popular ways to unwind include going on walks, getting a massage, going to the spa, or doing a crossword puzzle (for the brainiacs among us). I even hear there’s a strong knitting community out there, but no offense, the popular ways to unwind are very dull. Maybe what you need is a bit more excitement, a bit more fun in your possibly unwinding prospects. Perhaps you should think about going to one of the many arcades in Buffalo Niagara.

Arcades have come a long way from the coin-guzzling monstrosities of the 80s (although they still have those types of machines if you’re looking to get rid of a surplus of quarters, head on over to your local movie theater). Arcades nowadays have become, in many places, all-day affairs with tons of different games and activities ranging from pinball to plastic gun shooters that’ll upset your mom (you know how she doesn’t like to see you playing with guns). The arcades in Buffalo Niagara are great places, whether you enjoy games or not, because they’re an excellent excuse to get a group of friends or family together and have a ball!

The Promised Land

Modern-day arcades specialize like a pinpoint laser on one thing: the commercialization of fun. The word commercialization has a sour-sounding ring to it, but I mean it in terms of variety. Take a place like Dave & Buster’s, for instance. You’ve seen the commercial with the overzealous announcer proclaiming how fun it is and delicious the food is while a group of seemingly recent off duty office workers smile and give each other high fives while playing carnival basketball and Dance Dance Revolution, as if getting the high score will get them a promotion as well as keys to the company car.

This is obviously marketing 101. (Who goes to the arcade directly after work? It sounds like some very unhappy employees, desperate to escape. Perhaps the office culture needs to change??).

But for all its seemingly hyper-reality presented to us, it nonetheless is accurate to what the modern-day experience is nowadays.

Dave & Buster’s is a great place to spend an afternoon with your homies

I’m going to be straight with you here. Although I consistently say how much I dislike corporate establishments, when it comes to arcades and, more specifically, Dave & Buster’s, I think it’s the best way to go. I know, I just served you a steaming hot plate of blasphemy but hear me out. Dave & Buster’s is arguably the best arcade you can find because they’re the loudest. You see their commercials all over the place, and when you decide to go, you experience a very similar experience to the one presented to you in the commercial. Some may say that’s just aggressive marketing, and in a way, they’re correct, but I see it as good marketing because you get exactly what you came for: Fun!

Get the Arcade Feels

A sure-fire good time is a hard thing to come by. One of the main appeals of Dave & Buster’s is if you commit to going, then it’s like you and the god of fun just made Faustian bargain. For two hours, or however long you decide to go, the worst you’ll get out of it is a hangover the next morning from drinking too much beer and probably a lighter wallet. Personally, I don’t have a favorite go-to game. Instead, I tend to play whatever’s available (due to the fact it’s always relatively crowded, on top of the fact I’m just happy to play stuff). In my eyes, Dave & Buster’s and other arcades in Buffalo Niagara, in general, transcend the games. I believe that in the modern era, arcades are more social hubs than places to rack up crazy high scores in Time Crisis and get sweet prizes.

It comes down to the feeling of these places. They have this youthful energy, I suppose, by way of having the games present, but the feeling is so very infectious you can’t help but be swept off your feet by it. The joy that seems to radiate from such places is so intense it seems like you could visibly see it if you used infrared goggles. They’re the type of places where you can forget about whatever everyday problems you’re facing at the moment and just play while terrible house music is blaring through the speakers while you’re busy playing carnival hoops with a friend.

In other words, you can shut the world off for a time while you get your game on, and sometimes all we really need is some good company in a lively environment to get us centered, and that’s precisely what arcades provide.

The Great American Arcade in Niagara Falls has something for everyone

Unwind and Dance Dance Revolution

Life at times can be unbelievably stressful as if pressures keep mounting one after another with no visible reprieve in sight. In those instances, you can unwind whatever way you like: hit up that knitting community, learn a new design technique, or learn how to make Christmas sweaters (I’m sure the family will love personalized Christmas sweaters). Perhaps go for the crossword, but if you want to spice up your methods of unwinding by doing something with a bit more excitement, head on over to your local arcade. It may not be Dave & Buster’s, but as long as the place you choose has a joyous feel about it and your amongst friends, I promise you’ll have a good time (and you should know by now that my promises are pretty reliable).

So, if you are feeling like you’re approaching the precipice of burning out or you just really want an excuse to get together with your friends and family, you really can’t go wrong with going to one of the arcades in Buffalo Niagara to play some damn pinball!

Arcades in Buffalo Niagara

choose any arcade to see location information, get directions, & more.

What do you think of our guide to arcades in Buffalo Niagara? Know a great arcade that we missed? What is your favorite arcade around town? Let us know.