I went to Alameda for Cuban food. OK, I actually went to pick up my wife from her hair appointment and we ended up at Habanas for Cuban food. After that, we walked to Starbucks. I was carrying a baby and wearing flip-flops. I’m pretty sure my wife was also wearing flipflops and I’m also pretty sure the baby was the best dressed of the three of us. We were living the quintessence of mundane family Sunday afternoons and were certainly not prepared for time travel.
I’m almost ashamed to say my wife spotted it first. I say that because we’re talking about something I usually wouldn’t miss, and I think many wives would purposefully ignore. If I were alone, I might have walked right by it, as if it were another used baby supply store or coffeehouse or optometrist’s office. I would have absent-mindedly filed it away with the rest of the mundane. Thirty years ago it would have been mundane.
High Scores is presented as an “interactive museum”, but it looks and feels just like any one of the number of video game places that popped up everywhere when I was in my teens. The difference? Now, all the games are set to the “free play” setting! Instead of carrying around a load of quarters or buying rinky tokens from a machine (or a very bored attendant), you buy a wristband for hourly or all-day play. You can stay there open to close for ten bucks and play as much as you want!
Did I mention I was carrying a baby? Yeah… unfortunately I didn’t play on this trip, but I’m sure I’ll be back. I saw several of my old favorites there, some I haven’t seen in decades! Joust, Donkey Kong, Missile Command, Space Invaders, Pac Man, Tron, Centipede, and Galaga are just a few of the old school machines this place has. Best yet, it didn’t seem as crowded as the old-school arcades of the day, but then again that’s probably because most of us old dinosaurs are too occupied with other stuff, mundane grownup stuff, to spend all day in an arcade! Oh, and the crowd that was there was much older than I remember!
High Scores is located at 1414 Park St. Alameda, CA 94501. They’re open evenings Wednesday through Friday and afternoons on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re in the San Francisco / Oakland Bay Area, and you’re “over it” with the red bridge and the hard bread and the old trolleys, it’s worth a look!
Images by Legion of Weirdos