One of my favorite things about summer is having the luxury to explore new places and find treasure with my kids. This past week, we landed on a gem of place, the Morristown Game Vault*.
We were invited to check out this awesome spot, located in the heart of Morristown, this past week and we were thrilled for the opportunity to do so. My kids love video games, and since I’ve taught them well, they also have a great appreciation for the 1980’s. So when you combine the two, you are bound to have a great time.
Now, we’ve seen this idea before in New Jersey, and while it’s always a fun idea that lends some nostalgia, the fact of the matter is, arcades can be very dirty, dark and dingy, games can be old and glitchy (we are talking about games that are 40 years old), and the collections are rather small. With this in mind, I walked into the Morristown Game Vault, with my expectations somewhat established. I was not prepared to find what I did.
Vaulted ceilings make for a light and airy feel to the arcade. Movies from the 80’s are playing on the high wall above the facility, which adds a great ambiance to the place. You are greeted by very friendly and knowledgeable staff where you are given wristbands that track the amount of time you play. This enables you to come into the arcade and play to your heart’s content without coins or tokens. At the end of your desired time, you scan your wristband and pay for your usage. You can even buy a 5 hour day pass for significant savings. While 5 hours probably seems like a lot, you would be surprised how much fun you have and how fast the time flies.
The arcade is organized in a very appealing fashion, it’s very clean and orderly. To the right, you will find a large selection of pinball machines dating back to 1973, carefully restored and taken care of. I was surprised to find out that every two weeks, the machines are waxed to preserve them. Now, this is going to sound crazy, but seeing these machines is almost a thing of beauty. They are so well-preserved and displayed, it’s really kind of amazing!
The Morristown Game Vault is housed in an old bank, which automatically gives a very cool vibe to the establishment. Fittingly, the owner, David Balsamini, always had the idea of calling his business the game vault, as he feels that the vintage games he so lovingly collects are a treasure of sorts. It suits the business so well to have it in an old bank, where some of the video games are in an actual vault.
Filling up the other rows are games that range from the early ’80s and ’90’s. There is a huge range of gaming possibilities. It’s fun to walk the aisles just to see what you can find next. I was so excited to find Pole Position. I remember the game from when I was very little (1983). Before I knew it, I was sucked into the game, racing the courses with my steering wheel and gas pedal. So much fun! You know what’s even more fun? Showing your kids the games you had so much fun playing when you were their age and competing with them.
Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Q-Bert, Spy Hunter, Defender, and Burger Time are just a sampling of the vast 109 games that fill the space of the retro arcade. David began his collection after college when he realized that the arcades he grew up with were no longer around. What started as a fun hobby, collecting and fixing up favorite games of his childhood, turned into a viable option for a business, and I can tell you, we are so glad it did! He has refurbished game boards, art work and gaming elements and turned these beloved games into well-preserved time machines. The memories that they elicit are crazy! But, you don’t have to be my age to appreciate it. Kids of all ages were enjoying all the games, as well as all the Nintendo and Sega gaming consoles. There is really something for everyone here.
Party rooms are also available here to accommodate birthday parties for kids, or even a surprise 40th or 50th birthday (I love this idea!).
We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon playing the games of another era, it was an awesome time. Although, we’ve seen it attempted before, the idea of a retro arcade has never been executed so well as it has been at the Morristown Game Vault. We will be back, though, soon, as this has catapulted to one of our favorite entertainment spots in New Jersey. Be sure to check it out, you will love it!
*we were invited to visit to facilitate a feature, all opinions are my own.