Edmonton Arcade

Adventures in Edmonton: Denizen Hall and a Pocket Full of Quarters

Insert coin. Select your fighter. One player or two (or three or four)? It takes more than one turtle to defeat Shredder. Alas, on my first night visiting Denizen Hall, I did not save April O’Neil, but I gave it my full 25-cent effort. I have no regrets.

For me, much like Vanilla Coke (in Canada) and soft serve made with real cream, arcades are a forgotten relic. Sure, we had Playdium for a while, but it was too big, too expensive, and too much Dance Dance Revolution. Growing up, I loved local arcades even more than Blockbuster Video--I never really got over the death of Popcorn Palace in Sherwood Park Mall.

I attended Denizen Hall on opening night a few months back. Much like many clubs in the city, my opinion is that the volume was cranked to 11. Perhaps my age is showing, but I feel there’s something wrong when you have to shatter someone’s ear drum just to tell them you’re going to find a seat. That being said, I suspect the party crowd loved the volume, and the DJ and band were both to my liking.

I did not try the food but the menu looks well thought out. So I won’t comment on it. The beer selection did not make my crafty-sense tingle, but they had Yellowhead Lager at a respectable price. I did not try the cocktails either, but this is not why I’m writing. I’m writing because…the arcade.

If I had a quarter for all the tokens I sank into the likes X-Men the Arcade Game, Street Fighter, The Simpsons and Golden Axe over the years, I’d have a popcorn bowl full of quarters. I strategically made every birthday a Bullwinkle’s birthday (boo Chucky Cheese) on account of it had the better arcade. To this day, I can pad my resume with achievements such as defeating the likes of Magneto, M. Bison and even Mr. Burns in boss battles.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Denizen Hall sports an arcade. Not a movie theatre lobby one, but a real one—the kind that makes you feel like you stepped on 1989.

For this, my hat goes off to you, Denizen Hall, because you endeavor to bring back Gottlieb, Bally and Williams, and you will likely consume many of my quarters. Continue? 10, 9, 8, 7….     


Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to dave@bleedingheartart.space and let's chat.