An arena overflowing with cheers and energy, people engrossed in games, and a sense of fun and frivolity in the air – arcades never really get old. In fact, for adults who are wanting to keep their inner kid, then these places are pretty much a gateway to heaven. If you’re all geared up, here’s a rundown of the best arcades in London that promise a rewarding time.
1. The Four Quarters
It’s a bar. It’s a game zone. No, it’s The Four Quarters! You can head to this retro bar to revamp childhood memories with a grown-up surprise! You get an excellent craft ale selection, amazing cocktails with quirky tags, and an American grill selection that will not disappoint. This is not just an arcade in London; it’s a ‘barcade’! Hop in after a tough day at work for some unwinding with your colleagues, or bring your mates along for a few hours of fun.
The Four Quarters’ game collection is sure to bring a smile to your face. They’ve got the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Star Wars Trilogy, Sega Dreamcast, Tekken 3, Street Fighter 2, Indiana Jones, Alien vs Predator, or a simple round of Tetris and shooting games.
Craving some ol’ Pacman? Head to the Four Quarters! They’ve got outlets in two locations – Peckham and Hackney Wick. The latter has a sun-bathing beer garden, while the former can offer you an exclusive area for a musical night with a DJ.
You’ll find The Four Quarters at Unit 8 Canalside, East Bay Lane Hackney Wick E20 3BS and 187 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4TP. Nearest stations are Hackney Wick and Peckham Rye.
2. Las Vegas Arcade Soho
The glamour of Las Vegas and the excitement of an arcade – what more could you want from this roundup of arcades in London hey? Specialising in a collection of Japanese video games, there’s something here for all age groups. Your kids can enjoy racing, street fighting, or dancing, while you score some wins (hopefully) in the casino on the first floor.
Situated right next to Chinatown, it’s a great spot to tuck into a meal before you head for some gaming time. They’ve even got Mario Kart here, and if you’re not one to sit in front of a screen and manoeuvre the stick, you can dive right into pool or air hockey before you strut your stuff on the Dance, Dance, Revolution.
You’ll find Las Vegas Arcade at 89, 91 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0UB. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
3. Novelty Automation
Novelty Automation will blow your mind if you’re looking for a quirky place to play some games. This place is a world of satirical games. The machines are built by an engineer-turned-cartoonist, Tim Hunkin, and mostly by hand. He runs the ‘Under the Pier Show’ arcade – an engineer-made amusement park which most likely has many games from your childhood days.
Games like ‘Money Laundering’, ‘Instant Weightloss’, and ‘Expressive Photobooth’ are sure to keep you hooked. You can even try putting your hand in the ‘Test Your Nerve’ machine or participate in the ‘The Small Hadron Collider’ to win a Nobel Prize – not the real thing of course. The grown-ups can even have a go at getting a ‘Divorce’!
You’ll find Novelty Automation at 1a Princeton Street, London, WC1R 4AX. Nearest station is Chancery Lane.
4. Four Thieves
A pub, a pizzeria, an arcade, and to top it all – nostalgia overload! A Victorian dancehall with great racing and virtual reality games top the list of things to do at the Four Thieves. The first floor is an old Victorian Music Hall that offers a retro arcade, VR booths, and even a moonshine raceway too.
You will find the Four Thieves at 51 Lavender Gardens, Battersea, London, SW11 1DJ. Nearest station is Clapham Junction.
5. The Heart of Gaming
They’ve got Pinball! Need we say any more? Built and owned by an Arcade Engineer, Mark Starkey, The Heart of Gaming, or HOG, offers something retro and new every time you visit. Mark has a couple of machines that he renovates to surprise the visitors with a new addition every now and then. And his unmatched passion for gaming machines really speaks volumes.
They’ve got Nintendo 64, SNES, Megadrive, Daytona USA, and Simpsons games here, as well as new Japanese ‘craze games’ like House of the Dead 4 and Maimai. Plus, they’ll truly get you grooving with their in-house Dance, Dance, Revolution! There are also a whole host of shopping outlets and eateries here, so why not make a day of it?
You will find The Heart of Gaming at 10 Cullen Way, North Acton, London, NW10 6JZ. Nearest station is Acton Main Line.
6. Vega London
Our penultimate addition to this arcades in London roundup is really one-of-a-kind. If you’re a Japanese Rhythm fan and can’t find all games in one place, then Vega London is the place for you. They offer completely uninterrupted amusement with a video game. This is the right place for those who don’t need a retro ambience or activities beyond the digital screen.
Enjoy drifting with Jubeat x 2, Beatmania IIDX, or jam along Pop’n’Music x 2, Reflec beat x 2, or Múseca, then get your feet moving with the Dance, Dance, Revolution.
You will find Vega London at 9 Islington High Street, London, N1 9LQ. Nearest station is Angel.
7. Otherworld VR
Rounding off this list of the best arcades in London can’t be complete without a virtual reality experience that is the talk of the town. Otherworld VR is an award-winning VR arcade that brings you the world’s premier unmatched experience of 4D technology. You can feel the heat, wind and other elements, enjoy the summer sun, or even help to build a snowman!
The separate Immersion Pods transport you virtually to the Otherworld – a parallel universe where you can immerse in any of the sixteen VR experiences for an hour or two. Options include exploring a magical garden or even battling a zombie apocalypse in Arizona. What better place to spend a birthday or go for a date then hey?
You will find Otherworld VR in Hackney at 336 Acton Mews, London, E8 4EA, and Victoria at 85 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0QJ. Nearest stations are Haggerston and Victoria.
So there you go – a roundup of the best arcades in London. Whether you’re wanting to show your moves on the Dance, Dance, Revolution or try your skills fighting on Tekken, then these should have you sorted!