Housed inside New Hampshire’s Funspot, which holds the Guinness World Record for largest arcade, the American Classic Arcade Museum (ACAM) collects almost 200 vintage arcade machines for future generations to marvel at.
Founded in 1998, the museum was the brainchild of Funspot employee Gary Vincent who proposed that they gather all of the aging games in the huge arcade into one spot and start a museum. His bosses took the bait and the ACAM was born.
Today the ACAM occupies an entire floor of Funspot. At any given time, the collection displays around 180 games from the 70’s and 80’s. The outer walls are tightly packed with pinball machines themed after everything from KISS to the Harlem Globetrotters, while the rest of the floor is lined with row after row of tall arcade cabinets. Vintage games like Tetris, Toobin’, Galaxian, Tron, and Space Invaders are all organized by their publisher, with big signs hanging over the cabinets trumpeting, “Atari,” “Taito,” and “Nintendo.” Each year the museum is also home to the Annual Classic Video Game and Pinball Tournament where gamers from around the globe come and try to beat Guinness-recognized high scores.
The museum’s collection of games stops at anything made after 1987, because as Vincent tells it, that is when the focus of video games seemed to shift into more violent, less artful fare. The ACAM also holds a number of games in a storage warehouse and regularly switches titles out, so the gaming experience at is almost never the same twice. Which is more than can be said for many of the video games in the collection.