[8-bit places] If you’re ever in Portland, ME…

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Sometimes I like to break myself away from the daily grind. I’ll take a day or two off, turn my weekend into a long weekend and get the hell out of town. It’s a must for everyone. This year wasn’t a big travel year for me but I did manage to cobble together a few short trips around New England. New England has it all; ocean, mountains and epic fall foliage. As a kid I always thought foliage was lame but in my later years I’m starting to appreciate it. This past weekend I took an extra few days off. Did a little writing, logged some hours in NHL16, MGS5 and took a nice weekend trip to Portland, ME. Portland, if you haven’t been, is a great town and the quintessential New England city. Small, quaint, friendly, good food and, of course, right on the coast for nice views. Most of all – it’s peaceful. I’ve been to Portland a few times but it had been a few years since my last visit. I had a list of places I wanted to check out, the majority being beer bars and even better food joints. I managed to check most of them off the list. Word to the wise, if you ever find yourself there make reservations. Amy Schumer was in town which complicated things a bit.

The first night I stayed at a hotel and the second night I snagged an Airbnb. It got the job done but also had the most important discovery. The host was great and as I checked in we chatted about the area and places to check out. Mid-way in this conversation they  mention a bar that has classic arcade games. My ears of course immediately perked up…classic arcade you say? They couldn’t remember the name off hand but it didn’t matter. Moments after our conversation I Google’d “arcade bar near me”. Immediately I get Arcadia National Bar – I’m sold. After dinner and few drinks I finally make my way there and it was everything I imagined and more. A dive bar with games. I’m in heaven.

The beer selection is solid. Cocktails had game inspired names like – The Ocarina of Lime. Making it that much better. So, I grabbed a pint of the local stout from Rising Tide Brewing, fished for some singles, and hit up the coin machine. I was ready. As soon as you walk in you’re greeted with the bar, then a wall of random pinball machines, followed by couches and a few console setups. N64 and an NES emulator to be exact. Further in were the classics; Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Arkanoid, Rampage and Donkey Kong, among others mixed with a handful of pinball machines. I’m not a big pinball wizard so I stuck with my favorites; Ms. Pac-Man, Arkanoid and Galaga. Had a good round of Arkanoid that found me placed in the top 5. That made me happy. Did a round of Rampage with the girlfriend. She didn’t quite understand why we were rampaging, my only response – cause we have to. Do you need a reason?

Safe to say – the bar was great. Atmosphere had an air of social awkwardness but in a way where it didn’t matter. Didn’t feel any judgement or like you had to fit in. Most people wouldn’t feel comfortable in a dive bar, but a gaming dive bar is a bit different. Just games and a few more tattoos then usual. And one super drunk guy who fell off his stool. He left shortly after that. Well, if you’re ever in Portland, ME I recommend you make some time for a stop and don’t forget your singles.