Whether you’re looking for a date night with arcade cabinets or a place to find an old Atari or Nintendo console to hook up and relive childhood memories, the Queen City has you covered on the nostalgic video games front. Here’s our list of five local establishments for all the button-mashers out there.
- Arcade Legacy
If you’re looking to spend an entire day playing games, Arcade Legacy is the best deal in Cincinnati. This local retro staple has three locations: two traditional arcades at the Cincinnati Mall and Newport, which offer unlimited games for one day at $10 ($6 for kids ages 4 to 11), and a “Bar Edition” in Northside, which provides unlimited games (except for pinball) with the purchase of a drink. You’ll find a huge selection of classics here, from Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter to Ms. Pac Man and Arkanoid. The Cincinnati Mall and Newport locations even double as retail stores that buy and trade games for any console.
662 Cincinnati Mills Dr., Forest Park, (513) 874-8766, arcadelegacyohio.com
1765 Monmouth St., Newport, (859) 360-3742, arcadelegacyohio.com
3929 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, (513) 429-3180, arcadelegacyohio.com
- 16-Bit Bar + Arcade
This throwback bar quickly became an Over-the-Rhine favorite after owner Troy Allen transplanted the concept from Columbus in 2014. 16-Bit slaps the adults-only label onto the classic arcade, complete with favorites such as Donkey Kong, Centipede, Galaga, and Dig Dug. Complementing these retro games is a menu of old school and new wave cocktails, ice-cold drafts, slush puppies, and mocktails. This isn’t child’s play: take a stab at “The Game Over”, which the bar’s menu describes as “25oz of pure kick ass” with eight “totally wicked” liquors and Hawaiian Punch.
1331 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-1616, 16-bitbar.com
- CGM Emporium
The charm of physical retro games is stronger than ever as gaming has shifted more into the digital medium. Unfortunately, at the same time, physical game stores have become less common, leaving retro game fans no other choice than to buy their games online. While many similar stores are left no choice but to close their doors, CGM Emporium, a family-owned game store in West Chester, opened last April. The store is constantly restocking its inventory of games going as far back as the Nintendo Entertainment System, so it wouldn’t hurt to stop in every now to scout out some new finds.
7967 Cincinnati Dayton Rd., Suite K1, West Chester, (513) 777-1222, cgmemporium.com
- Games Over Cincinnati
This classic game store located in Eastgate Mall has been in business for over a decade, and it’s no secret why. This mom-and-pop game store offers games from all the retro consoles, plus plenty of t-shirts, toys, and posters. You’ll even find games from consoles such as the Sega CD and Atari 2600 with generous prices and discounts that set it apart from the competition.
4601 Eastgate Blvd, Glen Ridge Acres, (513) 753-3333, gamesovercincinnati.com
- Nostalgic Video Games
Unlike the other stores on our list, Nostalgic Video Games focuses almost exclusively on video games and consoles, with the exception of some toys. This Northern Kentucky gaming thrift shop offers over 20,000 titles for sale, plus a huge selection of gaming consoles and handhelds.
8449 US 42, Florence, (859) 282-0096, nostalgicvideogames.com