My girlfriend and I had our 10th anniversary last week. Part of our celebration was a trip to Family Fun Center, which I flippantly (but perhaps accurately) describe as "The last arcade in Nebraska." I hadn't been there since 1999, and the place has changed since then. This might have a lot to do with the arcade's upcoming relocation, but I was saddened to see that FFC had turned its second floor, previously home to classic cabinets like Spy Hunter and Dig Dug, into 18 holes of glow golf.
Like most people over the age of 12, we decided to play mini-golf while shrugging, and only after we'd exhausted all of our other options. Once we saw the course, however, we realized that it was easily the nerdiest thing in the building…and this place also has Star Wars Arcade and a secret-agent-themed lasertag arena. Here's a preview:
Each hole features a specific game or genre. Some of them even have special rules; for example, the one inspired by first-person shooters has players putting simultaneously in a capture-the-flag-style race to sink their ball first. We had the place pretty much to ourselves, so we took some pictures between poorly aimed swings. Check them out on the other side of the break.
The second hole was Pong-themed. I'm not going to tell you how long that took me to figure out.
We didn't keep score, so it doesn't matter who won, right? Hey, look at that wall! That's a pretty cool wall.
I like it when I have my choice of which shot to miss.
I don't remember the part in Space Invaders where my ball fell off the side of the ramp and got stuck between the aliens, and I kept trying to get it out until I started swearing, but I haven't played that game in a while.
You can see more pictures of black-lit nostalgia on page two.
I'm just going to throw this in here: Taking decent pictures under black lights with a cell-phone camera is very difficult.
I took this from the top of the course, so the ghosts are upside-down. This is not the alternate version in which Pac-Man is pursued by tulips.
The strategy board for the Frogger hole said I could go through the log "to be safe." I think the board was trying to mess with me.
I never noticed this before, but Frogger looks like a teddy bear giving you the finger.
If you could hit the ramp just right, you could get a hole in one. If you missed, you had to watch a five-second cut-scene of your ball turning into a skeleton.
We're not even through the '80s yet! Our putting tour through time concludes on Page 3.
Some people think it might be unnerving to try to line up a shot with Mario staring at them. Those people are absolutely correct.
The deal here was that the cup is underneath Ken, there. You had to start the punching bag swinging and time your shot to keep him from blocking it. I had a different idea for how to re-create Street Fighter 2 in mini-golf form, but my lawyers tell me that I shouldn't talk about that while litigation is pending.
The creators designed this hole to look like the original PlayStation. In a few years, they'll have to turn it upside-down to get it to work.
The 18th hole: a Wii Remote. It reminded me of the kind of golf I'm actually good at.
I hope you've enjoyed this fluorescent trip through history. If you have any cool, home-brewed gaming exhibits in your neighborhood, be sure to share them in the comments.