On a sweltering August afternoon, my son was invited to go with a friend to do something – ANYTHING – indoors to get away from the heat. They decided to go to the Morristown Game Vault, an arcade with over 85 classic video games and pinball machines that opened this past spring in Morristown, NJ. When he came home, he proudly announced that he had the 3rd, 12th, 16th, and 22nd highest scores on Q*Bert. We immediately emailed his Aunt Sarah, who was the Q*Bert queen on our ColecoVision when we were young, to boast about his achievement.
Each day we were home over the next few weeks, my son begged to go back to the Morristown Game Vault. Finally, our errands ended us up in Morristown earlier this week, so off I went with my two kids, ages 8 and 10. We agreed upon one hour of play, we got our wrist bands, I set my phone alarm for 55 minutes (to allow for the inevitable “Just one more game, Mom, pleeeease!”), and we were off.
Unlike the quarter-driven arcades of our youth, at the Morristown Game Vault, you receive a timed wristband and pay for the amount of time you spend there. $7 for half hour; $10 for one hour; $5 for each additional half hour you play after one hour. There is also a 5-hour day pass for $25. All the games are set to free-play, so you can go from one game to the next, or, like my son, stay at Q*Bert until you get the top score.
As an adult (though kid at heart), I especially appreciated seeing so many nostalgic games that I could introduce my kids to: Q*Bert (of course!), Dig Dug, Asteroids, Pac-Man, Frogger, Paperboy, and Tetris, just to name a few of my favorites. I also loved that the Morristown Game Vault has kept the integrity of the building, a former PNC bank. In addition to the pinball and video games on the main floor, a few can be found alongside the safety deposit boxes, and the tabletop Nintendo games are on the glass-topped tables that used to hold bank deposit slips.
The Morristown Game Vault really is for any age. Parents will enjoy reminiscing while playing their childhood video games alongside their own kids (I know I did!),and kids will enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out how to use a single joystick. On my son’s first visit, he said there was even a birthday party for a grandfather who brought all his grandkids to play there! What a fun way to connect the generations!
All I know is that Aunt Sarah had better watch out on her next visit. I know a Q*Bert showdown in being planned!
The Morristown Game Vault is located at 22 South Street, Morristown, NJ.
Wrist-bands are $7 for half an hour; $10 for one hour; each additional 30 minutes after 1 hour is $5. 5 hour day pass is $25. Parties and private events available.
Themed public events include Cosplay Night (costume contest) and Virtual Reality Experience, both starting at 7PM on Friday, August 26, 2016. Visit the Morristown Game Vault’s Facebook page for details on these events.
Call 973-944-8500 or visit http://www.morristowngamevault.com/for more information.