American Classic Arcade Museum:
Nerd Mecca For Re-living Your Misspent Youth


Reprinted from Thrill List/Boston

New Hampshire has a lot of things going for it: the first primary of the election cycle, no personal income or general sales tax, and it isn't Maine. Now adding a sweet palace of old video games to that list, the American Classic Arcade Museum.

Comfortably situated on the third floor of the world's largest arcade (seriously, in NH!), ACAM's a veritable hands-on retro gamer's Shangri La dedicated "to promoting and preserving the history of coin-operated arcade games" by rockin' gaming exhibits, memorabilia (think Dragon's Lair posters), and over 280 original, fully functional vintage standing/tabletop classics that date from the early 70s through 1987, like your parents. Gross. Jewels from the Golden Age include the first ever coin-op video game, Nutting Associate's 1971 Computer Space, as well as other early pioneers like Exidy's controversial 1976 Death Race that let you score points by running over stick-figured monsters, Atari's 1972 Pong, and even Tatsumi's TX-1, one of the original sit-down driving games that utilized not one, but three screens -- a tactic also used by the Patriots in Tecmo Bowl. More contemporary rows of donated and lovingly restored machines are organized by system manufacturer: Nintendo (Donkey KongMario Brothers, Punch-Out), Atari (Pac ManBerzerk, Galaxian), Taito (Space Invaders), Sega (After BurnerTurbo), Bally Midway (Tron), plus color vector games like Star Wars and Tempest, and classic fighting faves like Double Dragon, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

Because it's more fun when there're losers, ACAM also hosts an annual tourney hoping to draw retro gamers from across the globe -- an epic event assuming it doesn't turn into a Maine one.

For a list/pics of all the machines in house, or to whet your appetite by playing a few old-school games online, check out their website or their page on Facebook.com.