Barcade (bar-CADE). def: (1) A bar that's also a spacious, old-school '80s arcade. (2) A brilliant concept. (3) Also, a staple of Williamsburg hipsterdom that I sampled for the first time on Friday night.
This place would seem to have all the trademarks of something I'd hate: scruffy Brooklyn kids decked out in urban woodsman flannel; snotty beer; "ironic" everything; crowds. In reality, though, it's pretty sweet. Tons of games. 25 cents each. And a full bar. This is pretty much how video games got their start, and it's still the ideal way to play.
Since I went with the "kids" from work, who are all in their early 20s, I got a few reminders of my own not-so-young age. Like, they knew about Atari, but not from first-hand experience. Fine. But how do you explain this:
"Oh, they had this Contra for the Nintendo, too? But I don't understand what you mean by 'cheat codes.'"
"I didn't know there was a difference between Ms. Pacman and regular Pacman."
"I like that game with the orange thing that cusses."
Q*bert. The orange thing that cusses.
Ms. Pacman used to be my joint -- and I still had enough skills to impress the kids from the office, even though my best game was nowhere in the universe of the high score. But I'm pretty sure that if I had lots of quarters and an apartment off the L train, I could devote myself to becoming dominant at Q*bert and Moon Patrol. I had lots of trouble with both of them when I was younger, but they rule.