A couple of years ago, I stopped in to the Midwest Soda Pop Festival on an assignment for work and was amazed with what I saw. Glass bottle soda…so much more than just “Mexican Coke.” While that was cool, that was only the tip of the iceberg. The Soda Pop Festival was outside, but when I went inside to get some of home made draft rootbeer, I felt like a kid in a candy store….er….arcade.
I felt like that, because the Soda Festival takes place on the grounds of Klassic Arcade. An amazing retro arcade just south of Gobles on M-40. Since that time, I have been begging for a reason to go back and this past weekend, I finally found one.
A buddy of mine from Grand Rapids celebrated his birthday on Sunday and he asked if J, L, and I wanted to meet he and his fiance in Kalamazoo for brunch. We met up around 11:00 AM at Burdick’s For Breakfast and spent almost two hours enjoying breakfast.
After brunch, the plan was to head out to Gobles and play video games. I was stoked. I didn’t know how in to J would be, but she and L wanted to come along, so the five of us headed to Van Buren County.
The great thing about Klassic Arcade is that you don’t need quarters. All the games are on free play. You just pay $5 when you walk in the door to get a wristband and you play all day. I got kind of antsy and sort of just left J and L to go find a game to play. I ended up drooling over a row of pinball machines. They had my favorite one. The Addams Family. I’ve always loved pinball, but this was my favorite growing up at the mall arcade. J and L pulled up a stool beside me and they played a different machine while I played the Addams Family a couple of times.
After getting my fill, I walked towards to back of the arcade where there were some older cabinet games. My buddy and his fiance were playing the Super Mario Bros. I slid past him to go play Donkey Kong….followed by Donkey Kong, Jr…..followed by Burger Time. I was terrible at all of them, but it was just awesome playing them again.
I was about to play Frogger, but I wanted to look around a little more. According to the Klassic Arcade website, they had my all time favorite cabinet game…the one my brother and I spent a lot of allowance money on as kids….The Simpsons.
Somehow, I walked right by this on my way in. It was right in front of my face, next to Dig Dug. I found the start buttons underneath the joystick controls next to the coin slots. I pushed the one for Homer several times to give myself enough lives to play for a while. As I was playing, my buddy found me and jumped in playing as Lisa. If it was just he and I, we probably would have stood in that spot until they kicked us out at 5:00, but I felt bad leaving J and L to ride the motorcycle next to game. I kept looking over to see L smiling and saying “wheee.” That’s when I started feeling bad…so I played for ten more minutes then headed to the snack counter to get a pop.
J had already hit up the snack counter and got a bag of popcorn and a Sprecher Cream Soda. I looked long and hard for some interesting cola’s. They had my favorite, Boylan’s, but I wanted something new. I grabbed a Nichol Kola. Don’t know much about this soda other than it was bought by Coca Cola then discontinued some time ago…but is back being made by somebody..not sure who…don’t care. It’s delicious.
After a quick soda break, it was back to games. J and L were playing with the air hockey table, so I went to play with them. My buddy finally broke away from The Simpsons game himself and he and I played a couple games where he easily beat me.
I knew time was starting to run out because L was getting a little tired. I squeezed in a couple more games including another random pinball game and Asteroids before calling it a day.
I’m not sure how many people actually realize Klassic Arcade exists. It’s only open three days a week, but those days are Friday, Saturday, Sunday. If you’re a child of the 70’s 80’s or 90’s, you are going to love this place. So many memories of wasted allowance came flowing back when I walked in the door.