You do. You know you do. You would not have clicked on this review if you didn't.
Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, maybe you're just here with a quirked eyebrow wondering what all the fuss is about. You LOVE going to the arcade, don't you?
You know what I'm talking about. You've always been pretty happy going every once in a while to one of those newfangled arcades like the Gameworks at Sunset Place or the Dave and Busters at Dolphin Mall. Those places are bangin', right? They have all the high-tech games that cost a ton of money to play. But you always had a sense of longing, a sense of wanting to return to the good old days, when you stood in line to play some Street Fighter, beat the high score on Pac-Man, pull out some sick pseudo-dance moves on DDR (or an equivalent clone), or simply gotten down and dirty in a game of air hockey with your boy (who claims he's much better than you, and reminds you about that one time when you were severely drunk in which he made you look terrible and you have since sworn revenge).
And sometimes you just want to actually socialize with other gamers and have some friendly competition before heading out to grab a bite to eat at some late night establishment to talk gobs of smack about the day and unwind. (This, of course, does not apply to the new wave of seemingly discontent shut-ins that are completely fine yelling obscenities and severely pwning n00bz while yelling at their mothers to go away with your microphones still active on XBox LIVE -- to you all, I say that you will never know the touch of a woman and are destined to live lives of misery.)
Sometimes you just wish you could drive back to Town and Country, walk into Flipper's and just play some games, you know what I mean?
Or maybe you're looking to get better at Street Fighter IV. Hey, it takes all kinds.
Well, fret no more, my good friend. You are unlike many of the vast masses that can't see past the huge bells and whistles of big, lame arcade games with nothing better to do than steal your money or past the rather hollow sense of community of online play. You're an old school gamer. And as luck would have it, there's a place for you in Miami.
Springing to life in the location of the previous Mall of the Americas arcade is Final Round, owned and run by Nelson and Angel. These two guys are from the old school I speak so much about, people who used to go to Flipper's (remember those times?) and were part of the old 'scene', of sorts. Feeling like they could do something for the community of gamers that still loves to play with other people and actually socialize, they snapped up the old arcade location at the Mall and replaced it with their own, brand spanking new arcade.
They've got all sorts of classic games and their actual selection runs the gamut between REALLY old school (Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga), pretty old school (Street Fighter II and a bunch of Neo Geo games), random as all hell (that deer hunting game you've always been thinking about playing but never really had the cojones to, due to the silly-looking orange plastic shotgun), to some modern arcade standbies (In The Groove). They're mysteriously lacking in ticket redemption games, but they decided that redemption games were the chaff in the glorious Field of Ye Olde Arcade Fun Wheat they decided to plant instead.
What's really the most impressive is their custom arcade game setup: they've built three console-based cabinet systems that people can pay a flat fee for the day to play on. You can set them up with anything from Guitar Hero to Street Fighter IV, Modern Warfare 2 to Batman: Arkham Asylum... and have a blast with your friends. To top it all off, the owners are huge arcade enthusiasts -- so you're pretty much guaranteed to not have any broken controllers on your games and no issues, and great service (well, for as much service as you'll need at an arcade).
There's only a few critical downfalls to this arcade and the majority of them are possibly of no direct fault of the owner's. The biggest problem is the location: Mall of the Americas is no longer the popular night area it used to be, and this tends to show with the amount of people that seem to be trolling about in the arcade at any given moment. In fact, almost every problem seems to directly stem from the location. And it may not really be any fault of the location's own, as the arcade is placed directly next to a movie theater. This would normally be fantastic, except for the fact that the Mall of the Americas movie theater seems to not have been particularly popular for a long time. I have no real explanation for this other than Dolphin Mall and Sunset Place.
So to summarize, if you're looking for a place to play old school arcade games with friends without feeling like you're completely ripping through all of your hard earned cash within seconds, and if you're looking to recapture the old-school feel of real arcade gaming... Hell, if you really just have nothing to do on a slow night and want to play some games with people instead of a solitary computer screen, then get up and drive down to the Mall of the Americas AMC Theater entrance, take a few steps in and join the crowd at Final Round.
Don't know how to get there? The location is at 7795 West Flagler Street and the link will show you a Google Maps link on how to get there. See you there!