Ah man, the good old days right? Life used to be so much simpler in Amarillo back in the day. It also used to be even more fun. I'm not saying there isn't fun to be had in the city these days, but there were things we used to love to do as kids that are hard to find these days.

One of those was going to an old fashioned arcade. You know, the place you'd walk into with a couple of rolls of quarters and just sit there for hours on end playing the hottest video games and pinball machines around.

One by one, they started to close their doors. How come? I mean the big driver was the convenience of video games at home. You'd pay a certain dollar amount once and you could play the game forever. No more needing quarters, no more needing to leave the house. It was sad really.

Now, I will say that Amarillo still has a few places to go here to play those video games, and we'll talk about them here in a bit. I want to take a minute though and reminisce on the arcades that have left us behind here, because we had some good ones.


This had to be one of the most popular places in Amarillo next to Hastings. It was a gathering spot for so many, and they always had the BEST games. You could get lost for hours in there. I read a story on Reddit from about six years ago where the user recalled a memory that so many of us have.

They took $20 in quarters to the arcade and posted up at the Konami Aliens game. The user said their sole goal was to beat the game on that $20. They got all the way to the last level of the game, and had a crowd of kids around them at this point. They choked and ran out of quarters before they could beat the game. To add insult to injury, another kid took over the game when they went broke and beat the game themselves.


So many people have memories of this wonderful little arcade. It was nestled inside the old Western Plaza Mall and every game in there only cost, you guessed it, a nickel. It was the cheapest arcade in the city, and people were shocked when they found out it was so cheap.

The reason it only cost a nickel per play? Rumor has it the place was owned by the people that owned Wonderland, and the games in there were either games that hadn't been released yet or were in need of some troubleshooting. Basically, the Buffalo Nickel was a testing ground for the arcade you find at Wonderland. Brilliant idea.


Similar to a Chuck E Cheese or Mr. Gatti's, Pistol Pete's was the place to go if you wanted pizza and video games all in one place. The thing that set them apart from everyone else was they had an indoor carousel to go with all the different games inside.

It wasn't something you'd find at any other arcade, and it served as a nice stress reliever if you were fried from trying to beat a video game.

Now, it seems arcade these days aren't made the same. The bigger the game, the better. The louder the game, the better. Those games certainly don't cost a quarter anymore. You're paying at LEAST a $1 per play it seems with these bigger games.


This is where you're going to find those giant games I talk about. Virtual reality, massive screens, even built-in areas to sit and enhance the experience. I'm not saying these games aren't fun, they really are.

But if you're looking for the old school days of being able to sit on the game for hours making a run at beating it, you're gonna need a couple hundred bucks just to make it happen. I have a blast at these places, but it really it difficult to get that nostalgic feel.


If it's the nostalgia you're looking for, you need to go no further than Lit Arcade Bar. They have all the old school favorites we grew up playing, they're still just a quarter per play, and they're loaded up with pinball machines and even pool tables for those times you need a break.

Oh yeah, did I mention you can get beer and other adult beverages here? That's a huge upside when I'm playing these games. Makes them even a bit more fun, even though I know I'm probably not going to beat any of the games unless I remember how to from my childhood. Lit is a 21+ place, so keep that in mind before thinking about introducing the kids to old school arcades.

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Gallery Credit: Angela Underwood

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