Just south of Hollywood, in the Larchmont neighborhood, you might run into a genuine Los Angeles oddity. Blipsy Bar is an example of a new breed of establishment, known as the “barcade.” Now, as a well-known supporter of any and every portmanteau, I am fully behind the bar-arcade combination. If you are interested in drinking alcohol or playing old video games Blipsy may be the place for you.
It is a relatively small space, but the walls are lined with about 20 old games, like you might find in an arcade circa 1990. The games include Rampage, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man, and plenty of pinball. I have never been very adept at video games, even the old ones (which are harder than today’s games in some cases). I had the occasion to meet the four-time defending world champion of Tetris last week, and I can imagine he would be in absolute heaven in a place like Blipsy. I, on the other hand, was outclassed by my companion at almost every game.
But there were two games I crushed. The first was pinball. I’ve been playing pinball for years, mainly because my dad encouraged us to play whenever we ran into a table as kids. Plus, it’s just really fun. And meaningful- I mean, have you listened to Tommy? That shit is deep.
But to all the naysayers who are under the impression that I only destroy analog games, guess what! I killed Ms. Pac-Man (oh boy, that is going to be an incriminating statement if she turns up dead at any point). I’ve played Pac-Man a time or two in my life, but it turns out when I sit down and really try I can gobble down a good number of ghosts.
So if any of you ever accompany me to Blipsy in the future, you now know which games I’m hitting first. While I am occupied you can get a drink at the bar. Be warned: it is cash only (and the ATM was out of order this evening), but the prices are pretty reasonable, especially during happy hour, which lasts until 8 pm.
The bar is dark and the ’80s-pop-packed jukebox is pretty loud (both of which tripped my old-man-radar), but it helps focus your attention on the bar’s purpose: nostalgia. There are arcade trappings all over the place (little toys line the back bar), and this is really why you go to Blipsy. The service is not amazing, and some of the cabinets are in bad shape, but it’s just plain fun. And it is cheap; most games are only a quarter to play, which is a nice change of pace compared to the prices you will find at arcades in movie theaters and bowling alleys across this great nation. The Great Arcade Inflation is a problem that “President” Barack Obama has yet to address, and will be the main reason I do not vote for him for a third term.
Blipsy Bar is a fun novelty in the heart of Los Angeles that will entertain you for a solid chunk of time. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? A distraction that will keep us from considering the never-ending futility of existence for an hour? Oh, is that just me? My bad. Well regardless of your position of nihilism, Blipsy is a destination everyone should check out at least once, especially if you dig old-school gaming.