September 26, 2016

Dogpatch Arcade

Words & photos by Ryan 

      Dogpatch Arcade is a world of endless Skeeball and other vintage arcade games. Located on the Bagnell Dam Strip, it is one of the last true arcades in the Lake of the Ozarks area.
I’ll be honest, I used to favor a different arcade in the area until it permanently closed several years ago. I always knew that the Dogpatch Arcade was right across the street from it, but I had never visited Dogpatch until a recent trip brought me through the Bagnell Dam strip.
     At first glance, it looks like a barn. The arcade is situated between two Ozark-themed gift shops and only has one modest sign pointing to its location. Spiderman and the Batmobile stand at the entrance in the form of coin-operated rides. Just past these fiberglass guards stands a set of Dance-Dance Revolution dance pads, and past that you’ll discover many classic arcade games. Pacman, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, and other modern racing games welcome players with the message, “insert credits.” Some games also give out tickets.
     After winning tickets, you can exchange them for valuable prizes such as candy, plastic insects, stickers and more. The two guys working the counter were life-long residents of Lake of the Ozarks, and they seemed to enjoy meeting people and giving out prizes. Their favorite game in the arcade? Deal or no Deal.

     A quick note to those who want to go: bring cash. These machines do not use preloaded “game cards,” but rather, good old fashion quarters. Yes, you will have a ridiculous amount of quarters in your pocket, but there is something insanely satisfying about popping a few quarters into the change slot.
     If you’ve never been to an arcade, it’s a different experience than just sitting at home in front of a television playing a video game. Arcades are becoming rare, and they echo back to a simpler time. Enjoy them while they’re still around!

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