Sometimes you just have to take time to unwind with an old school gaming experience reminiscent of your younger years. But where can you find those trendsetting classic games of yesteryear that revolutionized the overall video gaming pursuits of today? Don’t worry, they’re still around and just as popular as ever. The greater D.C. area is home to several well-known old school arcade venues that offer up nostalgic, timeless favorites in video gaming for yesterday’s child as well as the children (and adults) of today. Here are a couple old school arcades to check out.
Atlas Arcade
1236 H St., N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 399-2323

You come pretty close to traveling back to the 1980s and ’90s at D.C.’s own Atlas Arcade. Here you will find all your favorite arcade games from these two defining decades, including timeless favorites like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shinobi, Golden Axe and many others. Also enjoy retro rock band performances every first Tuesday of the month and the showing of classic ’80s and ’90s flicks on Sundays. The arcade also features a full service bar stocked with a wide range of beer selections available in bottle and tap.

VÜK Pinball
4924 St. Elmo Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 652-8000

A recent addition to the Bethesda area presents fans of classic pinball with a new hangout to explore — VÜK Pinball. Doubling as an old school arcade and a pizza shop, the name “VÜK” comes from the “vertical up kicker,” or the spring-loaded mechanism used for shooting pinballs on their course of play. The arcade features 10 pinball machines that range in a variety of themes, including billiards and popular television shows/movies of yesterday and today. Rediscover the game of pinball — the precursor to all arcade games while downing a slice of hot pizza and taking in a truly old school arcade experience reminiscent of years past.

Crabtowne USA
1500 Crain Highway, S.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
(410) 761-6118

Since its establishment back in 1972, Crabtowne USA has been a popular pick for both D.C. and Baltimore old school arcade gamers. Operating as a vintage arcade, visitors can reminisce back in video game nostalgia with more than 95 machine games, available to play for as little as 25 cents. Featured selections include, but are not limited to: Mario Brothers, Pac-Man, Tetris, Mortal Combat, Tron, Kung-Fu Masters, Batman and Commando. In addition to operating as a vintage arcade, Crabtowne USA doubles as a restaurant and triples as a liquor store.

Related:  Washington DC Bars With The Best Arcade Games

Laugh Out Loud Stations
6250 Greenbelt Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770
(301) 885-2888

Greenbelt’s Laugh Out Loud Stations keeps visitors laughing out loud, quite literally, in operating as a Mega Fun Center. A family owned business, here you will discover a whole host of various indoor attractions and features for everyone in your group, including a quality arcade arena. Parents and older “kids” can rediscover the video game classics from their youth that never go out of style and immerse themselves in a full-fledged arcade experience. The fun center also offers fast food menu items right on location and redemption prizes for tickets from games.

The Board Room
1737 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 518-7666

Old time games come in many fashions at D.C.’s Board Room, and rest assured you will never be bored here. This popular pastime game room and bar features a multitude of the vintage games of your youth, allowing you some time to unwind and rediscover your inner child. Games here primarily range in board games, but you will also find a selection of old school arcade games on location. Straight out of the 1980s, these machines are all coin operated and feature defining classics in video gaming along with pinball and even a cocktail table version of Pac-Man/Galaga.

Related: Best Indoor Playgrounds in Washington, D.C.

Laura Catherine Hermoza has a lifelong love for writing. In addition to serving as a contributor to various media publications, she is also a published novelist of several books and works as a proofreader/editor. LC resides in Baltimore County.