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Highlights from Round1 USA (Greendale, WI)

What’s good, gamers? Today’s article comes right off the heels of the best week of my life — one spent with my girlfriend in Wisconsin-based studio apartment.

Since relocating from Kentucky in December, I’ve visited my girlfriend at least once every month, but her spring break marked the first time she was able to come see me. Being the homebody I am, I had yet to meaningfully experience any part of Wisconsin beyond my workplace and the grocery store, so I used her trip to me as an excuse to do…well, literally that.

Simultaneously being the little arcade boy I am, my idea of a good time was dropping by Round1 USA in Greendale, Wisconsin, and the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, Illinois (more on the latter next week). Round1, as any avid reader would know, is the No. 1 stateside destination for exclusive Japanese coin-op goodness.

This was made doubly alluring because I hadn’t visited a Round1 — period — since my last trip to Louisville, Kentucky, for that explicit purpose in 2019. What was once a two-and-a-half-hour drive from my abode had been slashed to a mere 30 minutes, and who was I to pass up such a convenient opportunity?

Despite the admittedly steep prices posed by each game — and the confusing “points” system of which family entertainment center chains seem so fond — I loaded up $70 for my girlfriend and I to share and ventured forth into the colorful cacophony of coolness.

The first game my girlfriend and I played was — you guessed it — Dance Dance Revolution A. Ever since both the Southern Lanes bowling alley in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and the Walmart Gameplay in Murray, Kentucky, discarded their DDR units, I’d been completely out of close-by options, and boy, did it ever show. I was completely winded after just a couple credits, subsequently realizing that I should probably make better use of my Planet Fitness membership.

We soon made our way to Korea’s long-time dance game competitor, Pump It Up, simply because it had been even longer since I’d played that. I played “Beethoven Virus” on a difficulty that was much too high and quickly came to regret it.

Our third pick allowed my girlfriend to flex her long-dormant percussion skills: the recently released rhythm game Music Diver. We didn’t even need to pay to try this one because some chucklehead ditched the machine after only the first song. Groan as I might when people blatantly miss the obvious cues presented to them by perfectly user-friendly video games, I won’t deny that I appreciated the easy “in” for our endeavor.

Then came my favorite — the title I so desperately wanted to introduce to my girlfriend from the moment we entered the premises — the immortal House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn. Because she’s so dang good at rail shooters, I figured she’d have an absolute blast, and I couldn’t have been more correct. The only bit that threw her for a loop was the sheer number of enemies thrust upon her during any given sequence. While not nearly as terrifying as something like Dark Escape 4D, it’s still not an adventure for the faint of heart.

Next, we tried Transformers: Shadows Rising, a game I’d been eyeing for years but had never had the pleasure of playing before then. Somehow — some way — Sega’s second foray into the classic franchise managed to surpass the lofty expectation set for me by its top-notch prequel, which I had the pleasure of playing not too long prior at Atomic City in Paducah, Kentucky. If there were ever a rail shooter “slept on” by the majority of arcade gamers, it would have to be this. Talk about an easy-breezy half-hour of frantic fun.

To close out the day, we gave Mission: Impossible Arcade a spin, though I sadly did not have enough money to reach the credits. This glaring oversight on my part has only driven me to visit the legendary venue once more, hopefully hitting up some other lingering interests like Fantasy Soccer when I do.

Overall, my girlfriend and I had a great time at Round1 — but it was far from the end of our week. Next Monday, I’ll publish another wistful retrospective recapping our even more extensive stay at the Galloping Ghost Arcade.

Until next time, I’m out. See ya ‘round.



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