Wilmington arcade is a gamer's dreamland

By David Lewis
Staff Writer

Photo by David Lewis
Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park in Wilmington, N.C offers quality entertainment for all ages.

The American arcade is dying. For many gamers, this isn't a surprise at all, but it is an unfortunate fate for the once popular gamer getaway. The past few years have not been kind to the arcade gaming scene, especially during these last few weeks. 

Rumors started to spread that two of America's most popular arcades, Arcade Infinity in Los Angeles and Chinatown Fair in New York City, were shutting down. Financial woes finally took its toll on Chinatown Fair, which officially closed their doors on Feb. 27. 

The death of the arcade scene can be attributed to the home console market. 

Why would you go to an arcade when instead you could sit at home and play a game like Call of Duty with millions of players online? This is the sad reality that arcade owners are facing. 

However, in Wilmington, N.C., there's a place that's been keeping the arcade dream alive for the hardcore gamers, while at the same time caters to anyone. 

Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park is something to behold. It has go karts, mini golf, laser tag, a huge indoor playground, a rock wall, a restaurant and a water park. The place is simply huge, but the first thing you see when you enter though its doors is its arcade. 

You're bombarded with sensory overload as you look at their huge selection of games. Daytona USA 1 and 2, Dance Dance Revolution X, Manx TT Superbike, Time Crisis 2, Silent Scope, Rad Mobile, Xmen Arcade (the six player, dual screened cabinet), and the elusive and extremely rare Ocean Hunter can all be found here, and in perfect working condition. 

Jungle Rapids also has a large selection of ticket games, from skee ball to a video game version of Deal or No Deal. 

There are, however, some drawbacks. For one, the Brave Firefighters game has been there for about a decade, and no one plays it, and for good reason: it never works. The game's fire hose controller is way too heavy and the targeting reticule is always off. 

Another complaint is that Jungle Rapids replaces games with less than stellar ones. Over the past year, they replaced their Soul Caliber 2, NBA Showtime and Initial D machines with lack luster ticket games. 

While they do occasionally add new hardcore arcade games, they're not always good, case in point: Justice League Heroes United, Aliens Extermination and Nascar Arcade. 

Even with these complaints, Jungle Rapids is a fantastic arcade with dozens of arcade classics. If you're in the Wilmington area, check it out.