It’s not often I get to profile an actual arcade on Cavalcade Arcade, but that is my pleasure today. While you’ve probably seen and heard that both the Nerd Lunch and Atomic Geeks podcasts united in Chicago for C2E2, a few of us broke away from the convention nuttiness to live out a boyhood dream of playing in a dedicated video arcade. And one just happened to exist in the suburbs of Chicago. And it’s called the Galloping Ghost Arcade, reportedly the largest indoor video game arcade in America.
So, without further ado, here is a journal of my adventures with Jeeg and Christian traveling to outer Chicago to find the mythical Galloping Ghost Arcade.
The day started off with breakfast at McDonald’s, then Jeeg, Christian and I had to hightail it to Union Station to catch a train to Brookfield. We were cutting it close, but we made it. Here’s Jeeg running for the train.
Jeeg, Christian and me. Train buddies. Traveling to a mythical nirvana of pixels, CRT monitors and nostalgia.
Right off the train stop in Brookfield, there was this awesome little ice cream shop called Cock Robin. I was afraid to walk over to it because I didn’t want to ruin the illusion of a time warp to a 50s diner in perfect hibernation.
And after planes, trains and automobiles, we finally arrive. The Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL. HALL-LE-LU-JAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!
Walking through the door for the first time, you literally have to stand back for 5 minutes to even process everything that you’re looking at.
Then expect another 10-15 minutes just walking around open mouthed looking at the games. You’ll literally say over and over again in your head, “They have THAT?!” or “I haven’t seen that in YEARS!”
So you shamble over to the counter, pay a $15 cover and begin your own personal spirit walk. Everything is set to free play. No quarters. No tokens. Just bliss.
After taking stock of the situation, it was really hard to decide which game would come first. What should start off this massive orgy of electrical consumption? The arcade made that decision for us. Or at least, for Jeeg and me.
We had literally just done our Krull episode for Nerd Lunch and I discussed how 100% of my knowledge of that movie comes from this game. We had to play it. And play it we did.
That game was a fun blast from the past. And with that, the seal had been broken. Before we split up after playing this game, Jeeg and I stated that our goal before we left the arcade was to play each other in Karate Champ, a very favorite of both of us growing up. Making that pact, we split up and explored the wonders that lay within The Galloping Ghost.