Dorky’s: An American Arcade


The video arcade is unfortunately a thing of the past. Coin operated games in their heyday were most popular in the 80’s, the golden age for video games and pinball. Dorky’s Arcade is located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a throwback to all the classic arcades. It is such an awesome place made with the love and passion for the arcade and these game cabinets.

Dorky’s is owned by Caroline and Les. Two entrepreneurs that really had a vision, and who have successfully made a gaming center entertaining for all walks of life. Food and drinks are available for purchase, there usually is a daily food special. After 9pm no minors are allowed. They also sell beer there! This is wonderful. Dorky’s is a family friendly establishment. If the kids are being disrespectful, beating on the games, maliciously damaging them, they will be asked to leave. The staff considers Dorky’s a museum of arcade games. Caroline considers the games as her children.

The first pinball game Dorky’s acquired is Space Riders, a wide bodied Atari pinball machine. First arcade cabinet is Revolution X, the gun shooting Aerosmith game. Since then they have collected many pinball and video game cabinets. Dorky’s is a Co-Op with two major vendors having machines available for play. Also including some private collectors.


I love Dorky’s. I threw my friend’s bachelor party there. The atmosphere is definitely a cool retro feel. Sometimes they have a band or a DJ there–its the coolest thing trying to get the high score on Dig Dug while a live band is playing.

Don’t take the quarters! If you cash out some money for quarters then decide to leave with a pocket full of them, don’t. Go to the counter, they will be happy to give you bills for quarters you didn’t spend. Dorky’s need quarters to run, its the blood in their circulatory system. Coming up with a thousand quarters is a lot harder then it sounds. Banks don’t have that much on hand at any given time, taking sometimes a 3 day waiting period.

What’s next for Dorky’s? There are rumors of possibly opening up a 2nd location in downtown Olympia. Also Dorky’s has a Facebook campaign going right now to get Weird Al to visit when he’s in the neighborhood in April! Click join and lets make that happen. Already featured on Evening Magazine–a northwest television variety show. Dorky’s has no where to go but up, deservingly so. Big thanks to Caroline for sitting down with me a few months ago and letting me ask her questions.

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