Remember going to the arcade as a kid? Whizzing lights; bright, vivid colours; the ecstacy of handing over your tickets to get your prize; the rush of dodging a ghost in Pac-Man – it doesn’t get much better than that. If you want to recapture some of that magic Gamestate Arcade at Potsdamer Platz is Berlin’s newest and largest retro arcade. We went there to review it. After all: who wouldn’t want to get paid to play in an arcade?
What can you play?
As it turns out, a whole lot: from the Ghostbusters shooter with plastic “energy emitters” to Europe’s largest Pac-Man screen to the glowing jumprope, there are around 70 machines on more than 1,000 square meters. It’s as though the building is alive with the hum and whir of adolescent bliss. There isn’t a single slot machine, no gambling – just places to throw axes, ride jet skis (with wind and wave effects!) and – drumroll – control your very own car in a Mario Kart match. A childhood dream. That’s where we started: shooting little white bunnies with suction cups.
Who’s behind it?
The Dutch entertainment company Veltmeijer Group, which is family-owned, is the founder of Gamestate and the owner of several arcades throughout Europe. The Berlin location is one of the first attractions to open in The Playce, a converted historical arcade on Alte Potsdamer Straße. Joining Gamestate, the Mattel company will soon be moving into the building with a flagship store. Younger guests will then be able to immerse themselves in the worlds of Barbie and Hot Wheels in the 4,000 square meter store. The complex has an exciting future: a total of 90 shops and a large catering area are planned. Potsdamer Platz continues to evolve.
What’s the best game?
the hottest action is still good old air hockey
There are so many options. A surfing game with balance board? Atari pong with 3D foam pixels? Match 4 basketball? Don’t miss the VR King Kong game where you have to battle monsters. Despite the excitement of new technology, the hottest action is still good old air hockey. Gamestate is brand new, so don’t expect it to feel like the arcade from your childhood – arcade classics like Street Fighter or Donkey Kong are only available in new editions, if at all. Ultimately, everything here is very modern, but it’s fun – almost like it used to be.
Is it worth a visit?
The prices here aren’t bad – the games cost an average of one euro. But many of them are over in just a few seconds. The most worthwhile game, in our opinion, is the huge bubble shooter, in which you blast colourful balls in a vibrating and noisy cockpit with turrets. Our reporters are proud to declare that they made it to the fifth round.
With these machines, you always win
If you want to play at Gamestate for a while, plan on bringing quite a bit of money with you. For two people, 100 euros can but about four hours of uninterrupted fun. Many machines issue tickets that can be exchanged for prizes at the end. With these machines, you always win, regardless of skill – which is probably why we were able to get enough tickets for a prize at the end!
The paper tickets may not be the most environmentally-friendly, but they are certainly nostalgic. With a sense of guilty pleasure, we fed the counting machine over 6,000 tickets. The prize? A remote controlled shark. We are currently working on the custody arrangement.
- Gamestate Berlin Alte Potsdamer Straße 7, Sun–Thu 12 p.m.–12 a.m., Fri-Sat 12 p.m.–1 a.m., entry for minors only if accompanied by a legal guardian, online