Sunday, June 12, 2016

Gotta Play! Button Mash

Another day, another Los Angeles based barcade. As a child of the 80's and 90's, I grew up pumping quarters into machines at my local malls, mashing buttons to Street Fighter, Final Fight, X-Men and the like. One more recent addition to the LA scene is Echo Park's Asian fusion restaurant with a bar and arcade Button Mash. Just up the street from Union Station in downtown, Button Mash is located in a curious strip mall that holds a tropical fish store and a Domino's among other businesses. There's a small parking lot and plenty of curb side parking around the area. They were supposed to open at 4:00 PM but were actually in the midst of shooting a TV show, movie or online series whatever. Surprisingly, many an older person patron was waiting to get in as well and when I say older, I mean retirement age. I wonder what games they came to play.

The place is split up into a restaurant on one side and the arcade on the other. It's strictly beer and wine at the moment but there are several kinds of cider for people like me. Food wise you had a double hamburger next to chicken wings and tofu balls, all in, not too shabby. Then your check comes in a 90's area paperback which was a nice touch, if you ever see Governor Schwarzenegger, Party of Four, scrawled in one, that was me. Game wise it's token based and the selection is quite solid with the full X-Men, Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, Mortal Kombat II, WWF, Super Contra, pinball and more. The more I play, the more I find myself craving the Street Fighter Alpha series with it's faster action and ability to pull off super combos. But so far, that's only located at Shatto 39 not here, Eighty-Two, Blipsy's or my local burger joint that has games in it. I'm sure The One-Up has all of them on their beautiful emulator cabinet but it's not quite the same thing.

Playing MK II was a trip back down memory lane as I could not recall ANY of the moves but was quickly reminded how cheap a game it is as you can seriously just trip someone over and over again until they die. We looked up moves and before you knew it, it was all about Johnny Cage and the splits to nut punch. I'm not saying Jean-Claude Van Damme invented the move in Bloodsport but can you name me a precursor example that had as much impact? And for a place called button mash, it could use a lot more brawlers. But overall a cool joint I'd check out again.

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