In my last post, I said “There’s really not much in Lake Geneva – pretty much the same types of stores that you can find in any small town tourist destination.” (Speaking, specifically, of the downtown shopping area – there is, of course, plenty of other things to do in Lake Geneva.) There is one major exception to that, which I didn’t think about at the time I wrote that post: Gameland.
Right on the main street, just a half block away from the beach, stands an arcade. This might not seem all that unusual – an arcade to draw in the kids and bored teenagers that were dragged to Lake Geneva by their parents – until you step inside. On previous visits we had always just walked past the arcade and not given it a second thought (again, figuring it would be filled with kids), but this time we decided to step in and check it out. What we found was amazing – it’s not just an arcade, it’s pretty much a video game museum.
All of the games you remember playing in your youth (assuming your youth took place in the late 70s and early 80s) were there, as well as old pinball machines and other, even older, mechanical games. These were all (mostly) original machines, and most in working order (only a couple that we saw had “out of order” signs on them). We were completely blown away. We just walked around looking at the games in awe. We didn’t actually play any, as we had to head back to the hotel to get ready for the concert later that day, but, had we the time, we probably would have spent a few hours there.
I tried to look up information about Gameland for this post, but I couldn’t come up with much.* I did see a reference to a Chicago Tribune article from last summer (which has since been archived, so I can’t link to it) that said Gameland was closing in September ‘08. I don’t know if the owners changed their mind, or if someone else bought it (it seems to be called Bigfoot Amusement now), but it’s still there. Hopefully, it will still be there the next time we go to Lake Geneva.
*It’s worth pointing out that I’m at work, and our internet filter blocks anything that is game/video game related. There’s probably plenty of good info about this place on video game forums, I just can’t, at the moment, access any of that info.