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The Best Arcade Games At Up-Down In Minneapolis

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If you live in a city with an arcade bar, congratulations. There aren't many places with the perks of being an adult, combined with the fun of being a kid. At Up-Down, you can play copious amounts of video games while simultaneously crushing pizza & beer. It'll get you stoked beyond belief, and after working 9 to 5, what more could you ask for? Walking into Up-Down gives you this vibe, so fire up the Dolly and let's get started!

We took the squad out to Up-Down in Minneapolis to see what games from the past still rip. I'm happy to report that most of them are still dynamite, and we discovered a new game that you have to play. More on that later. Let's get started with the throwbacks.


The Best Racing Game: Hydro Thunder





Man, just watching that clip gets my heart rate up. If you're going to play a racing game, it might as well be racing boats. And if you're racing boats, there better be a NOS-like turbo button that can make you fly through the air. Imagine if Dominic Torreto and Brian O'Conner became jolly boat captains instead of illicit street racers. With Hyrdo Thunder, you get the whimsy of boat racing combined with the best part of the Fast & The Furious. A big ol' turbo button:





It gives me goosebumps, man. For a loud, raucous good time, throw some tokens in Hydro Thunder and let it ride. If you pull back on the throttle at any point in the race, you're doing it wrong.


Top Sports Game At Up-Down: NFL Blitz 99

Between the overly aggressive tackles, deep bombs, and button-mashing, NFL Blitz 99 is everything an arcade sports game should be. The cabinet seems to have been made for 1st graders instead of Wendy's addicted adults, so be ready for some elbow jostling from your opponents. For the most part, no one is really "good" at this game, so just say frick it and let it roll, even if you've never played a football game before. One thing is for sure, it's more fun than watching Kirk Cousins throw real-life passes for the Vikings. That dude sucks (we're bitter Minnesota sports fans).


hot dudes at Up-Down Arcade bar minneapolis


Most Fun Shooter: Time Crisis

Anytime you find a co-op game with those cheap plastic guns attached to it, get ready for a good time. Sure, you'll probably run out of lives before beating level 1, but that's fine since your trigger finger will be burning like hellfire. Time Crisis is a classic shoot-em-up game where you use a foot pedal to duck behind cover or pop up and blast away. With the below-average voice acting and a John Wick level of violence, these games are just good old fashioned fun. Using the grenade launcher to take out helicopters and boats will make you feel like James Bond, but way more handsome, like these guys:


Handsome echogear employees play Time Crisis 3 at Up-Down Minneapolis


Battle of the Side-Scrollers:

One of the best arcade memories I have is dumping insane money into multi-player side-scrollers. Even when the boss is handing you your ass on a silver platter with french fried potatoes, you can't give up. Instead, send the worst player of your group to the token machine and drop in another $20 you stole from your mom's purse. With the cheap tokens at Up-Down, you can beat these games without completely running out of beer money, which is a major plus since they've got 60 of the finest craft brews on tap. Here are the side-scroller rankings:


1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This classic 4 player game has so much charm, it had to be number 1 on our list. As if just being the Ninja Turtles wasn't enough, it sets itself apart with more level variation and nostalgia than the others. Not to mention you regain health by finding pizza boxes, which is super relatable. We've all been revived by greasy pizza after getting too stoked on water moccasins at 1am. Oh, and dibs on Donatello, that bo staff has range, my friends.


ninja turtles are Echogear's favorite



2. X-Men

X-Men has better graphics, 6 players, and sick special abilities, but falls flat in overall gameplay. Waves of enemies just sort of show up and all look the same. There isn't enough level variation to take down TMNT, but the boss fights are pretty cool. Plus, when you drop a perfectly timed special to save Nightcrawler again, it's magic.


X men side scroller


And here's the rest...these are by no means bad games, but I'm running out of things to say about these types of games, so here you go:

3. Battle Toads
4. Simpsons

The Best Game At Up-Down Minneapolis: Killer Queen

It looks weird from afar, but Killer Queen is the best arcade game we played. It's simple, beautiful chaos for up to 10 players. In the words of Polygon "The game is weird, visually charming, and addictive." That about sums it up.

Teams of 5 compete, and each player has a single button and a joystick which keeps it simple. With 3 ways to win, different maps, and minigames, the game is infinitely replayable. After each loss, you'll be hollering for a rematch, while the winners will be cocky as ever. It's a weird combo of simple gameplay, strategy, and competitiveness that just works.

We went to Up-Down on a weekday afternoon, so there weren't many people there, but that didn't stop us from yelling like it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup. Instead of screaming things like "SHOOT THE PUCK" and "THAT'S A PENALTY!" it was stuff like "RUSH THE SNAIL!!" and "THEY'RE GETTING BERRIES" which are weird things for adults to yell in a bar. We're going to pretend the staff wasn't annoyed with us, but we just couldn't help it. Killer Queen is a great time for everyone, even if you aren't a video game person.

We had no fun at all. Here's are the squads before we started recruiting randos throughout the bar:

Team Orange

Up-Down minneapolis Killer Queen worst team



Team Blue

Up-Down minneapolis Killer Queen best team



Moral of the story, if you see a Killer Queen machine, play it. It looks a little intimidating and isn't like anything you've played before, but it's easy to learn and fun. Ok, I'll shut up about it now. Check out how to play here. Note: It'll also be available on PC and console in October 2019, so you won't have to find an arcade to try it out.


Bonus: We've Got A Skeeball Legend On Our Hands

We did a little skee-ballin' while at Up-Down, and our Emmy award-winning video guy Robbie Onions WENT OFF. He scored 540 in 5 balls! Now that I'm writing this, I'm getting skeptical. He might have cheated because that seems like an impossible score. I'll get to the bottom of this one way or another...


Echogear's Robbie Onions takes on Up Down Minneapolis


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