Galloping Ghost Arcade is a retro gaming paradise. You’ll find beloved classics placed lovingly next to forgotten gems. It’s easy to hop on Galaga for a few hours, then jump right over to Deathstalker, the only FMV arcade cabinet I know of.
Once you walk in, you’ll be immediately overwhelmed with the sheer number of games there are for playing. I only had a brief two hours in the retro gaming warehouse but I could have easily spent an entire day. The best part of this arcade is that there’s no concern about deciding what to play. You pay a quick twenty bucks to get in, and all of the games are set to free play.
This is good too considering how difficult some of the older retro arcade games can be. I was pleasantly surprised to find an original Castlevania cabinet. I was also surprised, albeit less pleasantly, to be reminded how difficult an action platformer can be with a joystick and index finger buttons.
The joy of being able to jump from one game to another at will is something I never knew I needed until I made it to this retro gaming heaven. It’s like having Gamepass but for arcade cabinets. After I thoroughly got my ass kicked by never-ending mermen in Castlevania, I walked a little farther down and stumbled on Die Hard arcade. I had played the Die Hard arcade every Sunday at my small town’s Pizza hut growing up. And now here it was, in all its insane glory.
It’s not just random crazy games from my childhood that can be found here, though. There are plenty of brilliant arcade cabinets like the six-player X-men beat-em-up. And plenty of light gun favorites including every House of the Dead and Silent Scope.
Growing up past the glory days of physical arcades, I really didn’t know just how many arcade cabinets were in existence. The sheer number of Star Wars games alone was enough to make my head spin. There is an arcade game based on the 1995 film Batman Forever. Including the likeness of Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jim Carrey. I am almost ashamed of how much time I put into this machine.
Why you should go
Galloping Ghost is more than just a haven for those of us that love video games. It also exists as a unique family fun center. Retro gaming is back, in a pretty big way. There are “Barcades” in almost every major city dedicated to preserving these old machines while providing a date night for fellow nerds. While alcohol is not allowed in this arcade, what you lose in liquid courage is more than made up for in the number of games and low-cost barrier of entry.
During my brief two hours there I played everything from The Simpsons Arcade to Starwars Podracer. The place was filled with families, couples on dates, and video game lovers like me, basking in the nostalgia. If you ever find yourself slightly outside of Chicago, a visit to Galloping Ghost is a must.