Best Arcade - 2012
Arcades are officially on the endangered species list of entertainment venues. Blame the cost of coin-op upkeep or those whippersnappers with their fancy schmancy home systems, but these watering holes for nerds are few and far between. That's why finding one that's not only survived, but also maintained its eccentricity as Nickelrama has, feels like a bizarro throwback to an earlier era. Or a pit stop on the drive to Atlantic City. Either way, it's beautiful, strange and infectious (literally, hand sanitizer is positioned everywhere). The business' slogan, "Worth Every Nickel," sums up the experience perfectly. Sure, roughly half of the games you play will gobble up your Jeffersons without apology, but the other half will work in 5-cent denominations. When's the last time you played pinball for 15 cents? Never, that's when. Also, Nickelrama has great knock-off versions of games you kinda know, as well as a whole mess of others that act mostly as a nickel-for-tickets exchange, like Shoot The Quarter In The Gorilla's Mouth. You'll feel so wealthy at this Garland hideaway, playing for hours on five dollars, that you won't even mind when swarms of dirty children steal the redemption tickets from your games, like tiny pickpocketing gypsies.