Blog: Galloping Ghost Arcade

Today Wanda and I took a break from wrecking games at home to wreck games elsewhere—Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL. From the ruins of former Chicago, IL, Galloping Ghost is a short suburban hop with plentiful parking. Pay $15 (add $5 for reasonably priced snacks and beverages) and you can hang around until 2AM and school a massive game variety, all free-play. I prefer more shmups and classics, but here’s the breakdown.

10%—light gun—Zombie Raid, House of the Dead, Operation Wolf
15%—shmups—Tiger Heli, Sky Shark, Vulgus
15%—beat ‘em ups—Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom, Ninja Warriors
20%—miscellanea—Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, Star Wars Trilogy, Vs. Castlevania
20%—classics—Tempest, Rampart, Burger Time
20%—fighters—Samurai Showdown, Rival Schools, Primal Rage

Since this is Chicago-Realm-of-Midway, expect Bally Midway love, but there are many choice machines to cherish: Gorgar and Funhouse pinball machines (Willy and Wanda’s his-and-her favorites), Cadash (hack-slash-RPG), Gondomania (category-defying shmup), and Bump ’N’ Jump (specifically, my crushing 39,000 79,000 score).

The staffers are pleasant genuine fans and the crowd is mature. With 100-some working games (albeit occasionally rough sticks and monitors) and 50-some games that could start working any moment (Wizard of War, Tutankham, Flicky, Moon Patrol, Astro Fighter, Elevator Action), I’ll be back—probably tomorrow if I can talk Wanda into it. Scope their website here and a fun video here.

WANDA: Willy doesn’t have to try that hard to convince me.  Galloping Ghost is easily the best arcade I’ve ever been in.  Five hours went by in a flash as I wandered from machine to machine, each time sampling a completely different game.  I also played pinball for an hour and a half alone, on the badass Fun House table.  It’s clear they know just about everything about games between the staff there, and there’s genuinely surprising variety of types of machines, too.  Cocktail cabinets, versus cabinets, Neo-Geo multi-slot, Player’s Choice 10, “red tent” Japanese machines, and all sorts of custom jobs for racing games, 4-player, and a ton of other crazy crap.  There were some machines that were occupied most of the time I was there (Street Fighter IV and Punch-Out), but waiting in line for them seemed pointless when there was so much else to do.

They have an entire wall of light gun games, too.  Zombie Raid was my favorite, it had excellent graphics, but I also played some House of the Dead and Karn Evil.  Judge Dredd was there too, a machine made before the movie that bears little resemblance to the movie or the comic, but I love Judge Dredd, so I happily shot at what appeared to be FMV guys wearing Judge helmets.

The only thing missing was any hint of the rhythm arcade scene, as it was completely devoid of DDR, ITG, or DJMAX.  I suspect those machines are expensive, though, and are meant to be fed quarters all night rather than having a huge group of people camping on them and not making the place any money.  Plus there just wasn’t any room for a big machine like that.  You could fit four other machines where one of those goes.

It’s close, it’s cheap, and I could literally stand there all day and play Centipede, Galaga, and Fun House.  It’s literally packed to the seams with machines.  One week in and several machines were still being prepared and waiting for their debut (they hold a place on the floor in the lines with all the active ones) but they fixed two of them while we were in there, so I expect most of them will be operational within the next couple weeks.

Great, great place.  Can’t wait to go back.



  1. Todd Wallis Said:

    Ahh! You played a working Funhouse pinball!!! One of the best Williams tables ever made! Sounds like this arcade has its heart in the right place! I could spend 5 hours there, no hesitation!

    Thank you for sharing!


    • willyelektrix Said:

      Funhouse is great, and Rudy is really creepy looking. Who was it who made the joke, “If you look under the table, will his little legs be hanging out?”

      Actually, I owe my love of Pinball to you. If I hadn’t played Pinbot and Bride at your place, I never would have learned the intricate nature of pinball scoring.

      Wanda’s also played a Whirlwind machine in more or less good working order up at a mall arcade in Niles. It seems like Williams tables are where it’s at.

      • Todd Wallis Said:

        That is funny stuff about Rudy’s legs!!!

        Whirlwind is a very ace table as well! Williams knew how to combine awesome gameplay mechanics with crazy vocals and music!

        Multiball on Funhouse and Whirlwind is a trip. Rudy screams when you get 2 million points during MB and when you get MB on
        Whirlwind, the announcer yells, “Here it comes!”

        Williams was King at one time. And they were all made right there in Chicago!

      • willyelektrix Said:

        I agree. Wanda got the Williams Pinball Collection for Wii (no Medieval Madness and Arabian Nights) and we’ve played all the tables a ton. I aspire to have a Williams table at some point but I’d have to figure out how to maintain them. Plus, we’d have to decide – she wants Funhouse, I want Gorgar.

  2. Todd Wallis Said:

    I hope you can give pinball a try! I start up one of my machines at least once a week. Don’t be scared with the maintenance. I am not a tech wiz by any means and I am learning as I go. I find it odd that I really enjoy trying to figure things out on a pinball machine, but I have no desire to mess with any home repair/remodeling! LOL!

    Gorgar can be found everywhere! Shouldn’t be too high on price! Funhouse on the other hand…pricey and highly sought after.

    BTW, I got rid of the Bride! Booo, I know! I traded her for a Space Shuttle, which I am really digging now! 1984, baby! Super cheesy “space” sounds and the volume is through the roof! Was made to compete with the video cabinets in the arcades! Turn it up on the Wii collection and you will see what I mean.

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