An Opinionated Piece on Arcades in London

As one of the biggest locations for youth culture within London it is surprising that there are only two arcades in Central London: Namco, and Las Vegas Arcade.


If you’re into Pacman, Dodgems, Laser mazes, and virtual reality games then Namco is the one for you. Located on Southbank, Namco is the bigger arcade of the two equipped with a bowling alley and bar on the bottom floor. After playing dodgems, and having a go at shooting some hoops you can stroll along the river and see London’s best sites.

This is a great place to bring dates, and to just mess around upon the games for an hour or two. With an American twist to it, you can win tokens by playing more games and in true American style, you can eventually build up enough tokens to win yourself a prize.

However, for me, I am a hardcore DDR fan. If any of you are wondering what DDR is, it stands for Dance Dance Revolution and it is THE BEST THING EVER. Whenever I visit an arcade, the DDR machine is usually where I gravitate towards and waste the most money. This love of DDR probably stemmed from spending each summer glued to the game whilst stuck at summer camp. Unfortunately, although Namco has two DDR machines, they are old and the machine doesn’t work very well. Also, I find that the machines are generally not in the best quality. It is a cute place to take a date and to kill a few hours. But for those who love to play arcade games Namco is maybe not the place for you.

Which brings me to…


Situated in between Soho, Chinatown and Piccadilly Circus, this arcade has a prime location for those to visit after attending the theatre, eating dinner, or shopping.

If you are even remotely interested in DDR, you have to come to Las Vegas Arcade Soho. This arcade has 4, I repeat 4 perfectly functioning DDR machines. Of course, there is one which is a much newer model than the others and so has newer songs, better graphics, and generally attracts more attention than the others. Whenever you come to this arcade, you can nearly always find some hardcore DDR fan battling it out on level 21 on one of the hardest songs. It is a sight you truly need to see.

Generally, the games here are much less American, and most of them come from East Asia. If you have ever been to the arcades in Japan, China, Korea, or Hong Kong. This is definitely the place to visit.

Although the venue is smaller, it is also open for longer than Namco and is not equipped without other stereotypical arcade games such as Air Hockey, Guitar Hero, and Pool. Generally, I find that the quality of games here are much better and that the money that I spend here is much more worthwhile due to the length of some of these games.

P.s. If you are a Kpop fan, there are plenty of Kpop songs on the DDR songs to which you can dance to. Blackpink, Big Bang, Wanna One, iKon (they have them all).

Here is a link to a video exploring Las Vegas Arcade Soho:


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