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Alameda Residents Have Embraced Pac-Man Fever

By Paul Rowe

Tron, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Mario, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat: If these classic arcade titles are bring back warm memories, you'll feel right at home at High Scores Arcade in Alameda, California.

"Our goal is to re-create the arcade in its heyday of the early 80s," says Megan Livernoche, co-owner of High Scores Arcade, with her husband Shawn. "We want those guests who are old enough to come in and instantly be transported to their youth. For those being introduced to an arcade for the first time, we want them to feel that same magic--black lights, 80's music, all wrapped around the humming and buzzing of some of the best games ever designed."

Featuring forty-five cabinets with over four hundred playable classic games and a well-stocked jukebox pumping only late 70's and 80's rock, pop, and hip hop, this place feels like a time machine. Arcade-goers are often shocked to find games here that they haven't seen in thirty years. "That's why the condition of our games is so important: We want you to feel like it's the same game you played on in the 80's, not a broken down, thirty year old game," says Livernoche.

For this husband and wife team, High Scores Arcade is a labor of love, representing the personal collection of games they've acquired and restored over a ten-year period.

"We've collected these games for many years. We care about preserving their history and keeping them playable for years to come," says Shawn Livernoche. Customers recognize that passion: they share it as well. For some it's a feeling of pure nostalgia, for others it's striving for the high score, but one thing's for sure: People in Alameda are experiencing Pac-Man fever.

High Score Arcade is always in the process of restoring classics. This means that customers only see a fraction of these titles in the arcade at any given time, and there's a good chance there will be a new and unique title in the building when they return. High Scores offers unique one-of-a-kind machines that can't be found anywhere else, such as dedicated "Shenmue" and "NiGHTS" machines.

"We have machines that realistically play hundreds of classics so there are practically endless options of games to play from the entire history of arcade gaming and console gaming," says Megan Livernoche. "We also have cabinets that play whole console collections.... High Scores is a seriously cultivated and curated arcade/museum and there will always be new and exciting reasons to come back and play!"

High Scores reminds Alameda residents that gaming was once a social experience and encourages guests to interact with others. Back in the day, one basked in the blacklight, rocked out in their jean jacket, and jumped in Outrun for a victory lap. High Scores has been embraced by Alameda, and the Livernoches couldn't be happier to contribute to this thriving cultural scene.

"We love when people bring their families in with them and introduce their kids to the games that they used to play," says Shawn Livernoche. "Often times our weekends start out by hosting children's birthday parties, and end hosting 40th birthday parties."

These games offer a fun escape for the wide demographic that Alameda hosts. Each arcade is a bridge, portal, and gateway to the past, opening the door for fun spanning across generations.

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About The Author

Paul Rowe is a graduate instructor of writing and master's student of Literature at...

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