Back in the days before every home had a video game system, let alone a game machine in their pocket, the only way to play video games was to hit the arcades. The cacophony of sounds and dizzying displays of light, made more intense by the dark, crowded space, gave arcades a unique ambiance. Just as movie theaters continue to flourish in an age of satellite, cable and streaming, so are many arcades still packing in those who want an entertainment experience they just can not get at home. Here are just five of the top old school arcades in Connecticut, all of which are part of larger sports centers, billiard parlors or other entertainment complexes.

Bouncetown USA
1770 Boston Post Road
Milford, CT 06460
(203) 892-4541
www.bouncetownusa.com/

The “Goliath Triple Lane Slide” and the “Inflatable Cliff Jump” are the newest star attractions at the indoor bouncing center known appropriately enough as Bouncetown USA, but for those who want to remain standing (or sitting), there are also plenty of great arcade games to play. The arcade is also ideal for those who need a pause between jumping around on the various inflatables or running the bouncy obstacle course. There are games and attractions suitable for toddlers to tweens, and for those teenagers (and parents) who want to relive their younger days and have some old school fun.

R&B Sportsworld
19 Rowley St.
Winstead, CT 06098
(860) 738-9799
www.randbsportsworld.com/

The arcade room at R&B Sportsworld in Winstead has a couple of dozen racing, shooting and skill games, which are perfect timekillers for those waiting to ride the go-karts, hit the batting cages, putt through the mini-golf course or play ping-pong, billiards or join in their signature “Battle Ball” and “Phazerball” team sports. Open year-round, and with an ice cream parlor inside, R&B has been entertaining kids and families in the Northwest Corner for many years Next door, there are baseball fields and a playground in the town park.

Nomads Adventure Quest
100 Bidwell Road
South Windsor, CT 06074
(860) 290-1177
www.nomadsadventurequest.com

Nomads Adventure Quest in South Windsor has over 60 modern and classic arcade and pinball machines and other games of chance and skill. The games are dotted along the concourse that goes around the 65,000-square-foot facility, which includes a bowling alley, mini-golf course, rock climbing wall, billiard tables, a bounce house, a laser-tag arena and even two regulation size side-by-side basketball courts, as well as some indoor rides like the whirling tea cup and bumper cars. (The basketball courts are also available for dodgeball and volleyball, for which Nomads has the requisite equipment, and can be rented for parties, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs and trade shows). There is plenty to do for kids of all ages, and a cafe and bar for those who need to refuel, or hang out while the kids have fun..

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Shooters Billiards & Arcade
50 Spring St.
Southington, CT 06489
(860) 621-2073
www.originalctshooters.com

Although primarily a billiards parlor, Shooters in Southington also has a large gaming room packed with video games. The arcade is open to gamers of all ages, and is a great place for kids to hang out while their parents or adult siblings hit the billiards tables or throw darts. Players can win prizes and discounts are offered for those who purchase $20 or more worth of tokens. Shooters has leagues and a pro shop, and has age-appropriate party packages available.

Sports Center Of Connecticut
784 River Road
Shelton, CT 06484
(203) 929-6500
www.sportscenterct.com/

With over 100 games packed into a 4,000-square-foot playing area, Sports Center of Connecticut has one of the most comprehensive and loudest collection of arcade games in the state. The buzzing, whirring, blasting, and roaring sounds of the games, combined with the blinking lights, pixelated music and bustle of the crowd recalls the heady heyday of classic arcades, back before everyone had a game machine attached to their television — or in their pocket. The Sports Center also has facilities for ice-skating, hockey, lazer tag, bowling, golf, mini-golf, basketball and paint ball, as well as batting cages and, for the calmer set, an arts and crafts center.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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