Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Ahoy! This time around we're going to talk about BlackBeards! BlackBeards has a very special place in my heart. A true 80s arcade that is still standing, I used to go here all the time as a kid (in the 80s). The arcade is set up to look like the inside of a pirate ship and it does a good job of it, with skulls, jewelry, chandeliers, and pirate flags everywhere.

In the 80s it was a long hallway lined with classics, flanked by another level on each side, filled with more classics and pins. Another BIG room off to the side housed even more games. I'm not sure how it happened, but I was under the impression that BlackBeards was long gone. Surprisingly, it is still around in Fresno, CA.

It has changed obviously, but the layout is still familiar. It was pretty amazing seeing it again and climbing the stairs to the upper levels once more. I couldn't find Strider, but there were some other games worth playing in attendance. Here's the pictures then.

When you first walk in, a little alcove to the right with the name 'Gasoline Alley' holds some racing games.
Including a Hang-On!

Gasoline Alley

Gasoline Alley pins

Some guns an boxers.

Part of the main hallway.

Some pins and a Centipede on one of the upper levels.


A loud DDR Extreme, notice the working ceiling fan.

In the Groove 2 on the other side of the DDRx. Two working fans.

A Banpresto prize machine! Too bad the prizes are garbage though.

A long shot of the right side upper deck, this is where my Strider machine was....crazily, there are like 5 photobooth machines here now.

A cute little multi-cab with the ugliest marquee I've ever seen.

More crane machines than anybody could possibly need are now here in BlackBeards. In contrast to the zero cranes on my last visit.

You got your Stacker, taking up too much room as usual.

The next room over has some more games and a big ol' ride in the middle of the room.

This little guy is sitting awkwardly by the stairs for some reason.

Some good stuff mixed with some bad stuff. Do you see the Puzzle Fighter II?

MVC2 and CVS2 seemed pretty popular that day.

More pins shoved in the corner. Theatre of Magic is working great. This area could use a fan though!

Out back, a creepy kid ride from the days of yore. I was happy to see this guy.

BlackBeards has a lot going for it, an interesting style and layout make it a memorable arcade. There are other things to do there if you're so inclined, mini-golf, paintball, waterslides?, batting cages, etc etc etc.

The arcade isn't nearly as glorious as it once was, but it still has quite a bit of charm. They have a large amount of pinball, but except for two or three tables, they are all suffering from neglect. A few simple repairs to get them all running smoothly again would do wonders for the pinball in this arcade. Everything else seemed to be in good working order.

In my opinion, the insane amount of UFO catchers, redemption, coin pushers, and photobooths, should be scaled back to make room for other (better) stuff as well.

In any case, I was thrilled to see one of my favorite childhood arcade hangouts still around. If you are close to Fresno, go check it out.

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