In their heyday Arcades defined gaming, influencing movies and pop culture in a way that the (moderately) younger of us can’t appreciate. Dave & Buster’s manufactures that “nostalgia” and tries to sell it to people like me. I already knew that. It brands itself as an adult experience that understands both modern and classic gaming. I visited with a group of friends recently and and it wasn’t so much an eye opening experience as it was a validation of the fact that I was meant to be born Vulcan.

  • The reality is that Dave & Buster’s is a TGIF without the endless appetizers and a gamut of arcade machines with the same gimmicks and mechanics, but different subpar graphics and licensing.
  • Thats not to say it’s entirely terrible. Well known game companies like Sega and Nintendo that still deal in arcade machines have created some decent experiences. Mario Kart and Luigi’s Mansion were fun, and the developers use the arcade environment to add a tactile-ness to gameplay that isn’t available on home consoles.
The feedback on the vacuums was a cool gimmick, but maybe we could have gotten more than an on-rails port of a 3DS game?
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: a decent port with possibly better controls than on the Wii or Wii U? I wouldn’t know, as I played neither.
  • But don’t be mistaken that these are new experiences: Luigi’s Mansion is a straight port of Dark Moon from the 3DS. Levels are exactly the same, down to objectives. Mario Kart will always be Mario Kart, and the addition of Don-Chan, the sentient taiko drum, was a fun novelty that we don’t have on home consoles (yet).
Despite little changing in the mechanics, there were some fun courses and items that I’d like to see make it onto console editions.
  • We seriously didn’t need a big-screen port of the follow-up to a mildly popular mobile game:
Seriously. I can download this game for free on my phone right now. The App Store even says it’s essential!
  • My boyfriend and I ordered drinks. I drink vodka and soda almost exclusively and the ratio between the two was a bit weak for my taste. He had a novelty drink that included a light up cube in the glass. His only comment was that it didn’t taste strong either.
  • As far as social settings go... It gets the job done. It was a bit loud and the music was inoffensive. Not good enough to dance to, but not terrible enough to annoy.
  • If you want to get anything from the ticket exchange store you better be dedicated to multiple visits. It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to afford much more than a few pieces of candy if you’re just there once, or just to have fun. Even then you’d be better off going to a corner store. Some of the larger prizes had ticket tags so insane that I’m sure they only have them there for show.

Maybe I’m looking at the Dave & Buster’s value all wrong. It’s not an adult arcade, but rather a social art space that uses arcade machines as conversation pieces. I can only hope that’s the reason they exist, because otherwise I’m supremely underwhelmed. Blame my Vulcan sensibilities.


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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.