Joy(stick) to the World

In a throwback to old-school arcades of yore, the interactive medium is stepping out of the living room and back onto the social scene.

Sandy Cohen Attractions, Current Guide


The hottest new bar and restaurant is total downgrade — and that’s exactly the point. Glitch Palm Springs serves up a mix of retro decor and classic games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders alongside tasty Southeast Asian street food and craft cocktails (with kitschy names like One-Up and Awesome Sauce). “It’s very much an arcade bar with a ’90s and ’80s appeal,” boasts co-owner Stephen Hansen, who opened Glitch uptown earlier this year with his wife. “When you walk in, it almost has a Stranger Things tone to it.”

That vibe doesn’t just come through in the vintage stand-up arcade cabinets — which are free to play — but also in themed hangout nooks that pay homage to bygone eras. One is all done up in late-‘90s Britney Spears memorabilia; another is decked out in Michael Jordan posters and Space Jam action figures.

While Hansen says the bar plans to host gaming tournaments with more modern titles, he’s also working on installing an a vintage Atari system. “Nostalgia and that sense of who you were when you were a child and introducing that to your children is always going to be special — at any age,” Hansen says. “Now, there’s a space in Palm Springs where people can go if they want to get a taste of the older games and more of an analog, 16-bit experience.”


Glitch Palm Springs, 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive, 213-357-5674;

Next Level

The 360 Sports bar at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage goes gamey on Wednesday and Thursday nights with tournament play on its wraparound screens. With free entry, prizes, and DJs laying down the soundtrack, it’s the prime place for competitive gamers and their fans.

The arcade at Boomers! promises of-the-moment games and active classics like air hockey, Skee-Ball, and Whac-A-Mole, plus there’s mini golf, go-karts, batting cages, and a rock-climbing wall outside at the family-friendly fun spot in Cathedral City.



360 Sports at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage.

For those not old enough to hit the slots or tables, the playroom inside Fantasy Lanes Bowling Center at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio offers the young (and young at heart) other games of chance, including claw machines and titles based on Terminator and Jurassic Park.