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READY PLAYER ONE: Arcades of old we wish had an extra life

Last week, we told you about the upcoming celebration of all things pinball – Newcastle Pinfest – and it got us thinking.

Thinking about the good old days before home video game consoles (PS4, Xbox et al) dominated the gaming landscape. A time when, if you wanted to get a pixellated fix, you had to go to your local video game arcade.

From pinnies to video games and super fun arcade games like whack-a-mole these places were virtual cornucopias of fun.

Here are just some of our favourite pinnie parlours and arcades that once dotted the Hunter landscape.


Thankfully, Timezone has managed to weather the storm of the console revolution and still exists in our part of the world at Charlestown Square, Westfield Kotara and Stockland Green Hills.

But, the Timezone this writer remembers most fondly is the one that existed on the corner of Hunter and Brown Streets – opposite the fanciest KFC in the world.

Many a Friday and Saturday night were spent in this establishment trying to perfect the awesome, sit-down Star Wars Tie-Fighter game that literally put you in the cockpit of the famed spacecraft.

You don’t get that on Xbox!

Orbit 1/Playtime

Orbit 1, later to become Playtime was conveniently located opposite the sadly now-defunct Tower Cinemas.

Like Timezone, this place was a veritable feast for the senses with quite a formidable ‘sideshow alley’ of arcade fair as well as some truly awesome pinnies – especially The Who Tommy pinball machine. Oh and you could still grab a game of Galaga for 20 cents in the ’90s!

In this writer’s Uni days, a lacklustre academic performance in first year could definitely be attributed to the amount of time, and money, myself and my video game partner in crime David spent on epic battles in Marvel Superheroes vs Street Fighter.


When it came to video games in Maitland, Oddessy was, at one time, the place to go.

Given that it was located literally across the road from this writer’s junior high school much of my and my cohorts lunch money was spent on hits like Golden Axe and Gauntlet.

Also, the fact that staff at the school weren’t too fussed with students frequenting this establishment only made Odyssey more appealing.

Pizza and Pinball

A recent addition, sadly Pizza and Pinball fell by the wayside back in 2017 but their range of great pinnies brought back waves of nostalgia to people of a certain age.

Oh, and the pizzas were pretty good, too and there’s no denying that pizza and pinball is a perfect combination.

This place was offered a great experience for the whole family and we are definitely sad that it’s gone.

Pretty much any take-away shop

For those of us that lived out in the ‘burbs, heading to an arcade wasn’t always an option. Often the local take-away was the only option for suburban kids to get their video game fix.

Oh, and there was always something truly exhilarating about trying to beat the final boss on Double Dragon before your order of minimum chips and two scallops was ready.

Written by Newcastle Live

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