Best Video Game Venue San Francisco 2003 - Amusement Center
The Amusement Center provides the joystick-adept warrior with a wide smorgasbord of coin-operated combat in a setting as pleasantly seedy as the pinball traditions it upholds. Unlike the shiny new Metreon and its dozen or so atrium-lit gizmos, this worn-at-the-edges split-level arcade fits in perfectly with the surrounding strip joints, dive bars, and honky-tonks, offering up 80 video games and eight pinball machines in a dark, warped-wood milieu. Every imaginable species of video is represented: upside-the-head kung fu, virtual racing and tree-crashing, the whole rifle-commando-sniper subgenre, garishly illustrated tie-ins with Terminator 2 and X-Men, even a few vintage Pac-Men, -Women, and -Children. There's table hockey, a photo booth, and one of those scoop-up-the-prize gadgets for the classically inclined, plus a big Twister-type mechanism called Dance Dance Revolution for the egomaniacs. Eighteen pool tables are available upstairs when the cue stick beckons. Open from noon to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.