Thursday, June 30, 2011

Escape From Douchery, Part 7: Insert Coins

Insert Coins is a brand new Vegas concept, catering to a different kind of gamer than the town is historically known for attracting. While Las Vegas hosts the Pinball Hall of Fame and features a Gameworks arcade, the ultimate gamblers paradise is not particularly known as a video game haven, but all that may change now that Insert Coins has opened in Downtown Las Vegas in The Fremont Street district.

Insert Coins is a gamer's dream come true, featuring an impressive collection of classic, coin-operated standup arcade cabinets and nearly every console ever produced which you can play on big screen TVs while you lounge on on ultra comfy couches. The ultra-lounge/ arcade offers the same kind of bottle service you'd find at the trendiest Vegas clubs, at prices far below what you'd pay at those same trendy clubs... plus you get to play an Atari 2600 or a Dreamcast while you're treated like a VIP, instead of trying to look cool in a place that's packed to the gills because they club has advertised that Rhianna is supposed to show up for a guest appearance that never actually happens.

I'm normally against bottle service because it just seems like the only reason to spend the ridiculous amount of money that bottle service costs is to show off that you have enough money to afford bottle service, but when I found out it could be done for $100 in a "videolounge and gamebar," my buddies and I decided we had to give it a shot. We ordered a bottle of their finest whiskey (that we could afford at our price point), rented an Atari 2600, and got started trash-talking at each other as we played old-timey favorites like Missile Command, Dig Dug, and Joust (a game for which I have unmatchable skills in my group of friends), feeling confident that our alpha male command of 80's console classics would surely attract the ladies to our couch. No such luck, as the unattached women mostly stayed on the dance floor (and those that did watch us play for a few moments walked away because we all became too paralyzed with fear to turn around and say hello), where a DJ spun a more eclectic mix of music (read: heavy on Daft Punk, light on Ke$ha), reflecting the more eclectic (for Vegas) crowd that frequents the place. While my friend thought the reason none of the hotties joined our couch was because of Insert Coin's "appalling" omission of the historically terrible ET game, whose mythological badness he believed would be a sure conversation starter, I convinced my bros to get over their wallflower ways and to hit the dance floor... because I explained to them that while, yes the girls at the place were geeky-cool enough to frequent a place that calls itself a gamebar, we still had the responsibility to meet them at least halfway.

After downing a few more shots of liquid courage and berating each other through a few more rounds of Joust, I rallied my boys and got them dancin'. One of my normally-much-more awkward buddies met a very cute-glasses-wearing girl from Brooklyn and made out with her to the pulse of actually good dance music while they were lit by a very cool light show, and I swear I wasn't all that jealous even though she had that sexy librarian thing going for her that I love so dearly.

It was around 2 AM when I decided that Insert Coins was kind of my new favorite place in the world, or at least in Las Vegas, a hipster's dream come true that draws geeky cool folks (whom I started referring to as "my people" in a drunk and sentimental haze late into the night) with a perfectly mixed cocktail of good dance music, affordable drinks and a whole lot of classic video games. It's just another example of how Fremont Street is quickly becoming the Las Vegas equivalent of Los Feliz or Brooklyn, a neighborhood that draws the geeky, the artsy, the curious, the cultured and the strange... or in other words: my people.

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