40755 Village Drive
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315 (map)
Super Bear Arcade is a small arcade on the main street of this Southern California mountain resort town. It’s packed with classic games including Frogger, Super Mario Brothers, several forms of Donkey Kong, Tron, and Discs of Tron (sit-down). It also has skeeball with cheap plastic prizes.
Their Asteroids (1979) is set to fast mode, and starts with 4 ships — good for getting a high score quickly, if you’re full of sugar from the ice cream places in town. One drawback is that the screen has a lot of glare from the overhead lights.
[UPDATE] — Super Bear Arcade is CLOSED! See the comment below.
This is a fun place, with a roller coaster on the beach outside, an excellent two-story pirate mini-golf course inside, and a respectable collection of older (not antique) pinball machines.
There are two Asteroids consoles and one Asteroids Deluxe. The Casino Arcade building has a small room with a dozen or so very early arcade games, including several other vector games (Tempest, Battlezone, Star Wars). This is where Asteroids Deluxe lives. This console has a weak monitor, and the image breaks up at the edges.
One 1979 Asteroids game is near the vintage game room, right by the shooting gallery. This one is in OK shape, except that the hyperspace button only works half the time. The contact probably needs to be cleaned.
The other Asteroids console is in a arcade room next door in Neptune’s Kingdom (mini-golf). This one is surrounded by more modern games, and the whole place is a bit loud for serious asteroid destruction. I don’t remember much about the machine itself because I was so distracted.
371 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004 (map)
LA’s Barcade is a great dive bar with 80’s toys lining the walls. There are three rooms: the bar, the DJ room, and the back room with pinball and Asteroids. Sometimes the place is empty. Sometimes it’s packed. They have movie night (80’s classics) on Tuesday if you show up early. It’s a small but solid collection of classic games, and one of my favorite places in LA. It’s also the best Asteroids machine I’ve played to date. It has great button response and a brilliant display.
The only signage is a neon Pac-Man ghost, a block north of Beverly on Western, across from that giant modern KFC.
[Sept 21, 2009 update: Barcade has moved next door, and is now called The Blipsy”]