Nickel-A-Play is an arcade about ten minutes outside of Denver, Colorado. You pay a $3.50 entrance fee, then you can play any arcade game (except DDR) for free. It is totally awesome and offers a ton of rad games for Sega fans. Here are some of the games available for free-play:
Virtual On – In both His and Hers variations! I spent the majority of my time (half a dozen or so games) in the “Hers” cockpit because the Twin Sticks just felt a bit more precise. There is an Air Rescue cabinet next door, which I didn’t play because it looked kinda not fun.
Super GT – I was really excited to see this one, as Super GT (or Scud Race outside of NA) to this day remains criminally un-ported to consoles. This Toshihiro Nagoshi joint is considered by some to be one of Sega’s best racing games ever, and after playing some races today, I definitely agree. Wish the music was turned on though :-/
Laser Ghost – This was my first time ever coming across one of these cabinets, and I’m really glad I had a chance to play it. Laser Ghost is a light-hearted lightgun game where you battle ghosts and monsters, kinda like a blue skies House of the Dead. What makes the game unique is that you don’t play watching the main screen, but rather looking through a mirrored viewfinder attached to your gun, which gives the illusion that you are shooting three dimensional lasers. It’s still a neat effect today, and makes the game feel ripe for a 3D Classics version on 3DS.
Stadium Cross – Easily the raddest, most gnarly, totally tubular game at the arcade, Stadium Cross is a VERY early-90s moto-racer. While the scrolling is pretty choppy for a Sega racer, pulling back on the bike to launch off a jump feels incredibly satisfying- almost as much as pressing a button to punch dudes, Road Rash-style.
The House of the Dead 2 – While the triggers on the guns were a bit worn and flimsy, this was absolutely the best screen I’ve ever seen on a HotD 2 machine- super clear and sharp.
L.A. Machineguns – The guns worked great as did the floor vibration effect, but unfortunately there was a bit of burn-in on the screen and the sound was turned off so we couldn’t hear the awesome music. Still, really cool to be able to free play such a great light(machine)gun shooter.
Crazy Taxi – YA YA YA YA YA While I didn’t quite make crazy money, I did alright for my first time playing in the arcade in years. The pedals and wheel felt right-on, so I have no one to blame for my decidedly sane performance but myself.
Top Skater – Another well-maintained cabinet that was awesome to play for free. Even better, the sound was on so you could totally jam out to Pennywise while you tail-grabbed all over the place! EXTREEEEEEEEME!!!!
In addition to these Sega games, there are plenty of other great arcade machines on free play, including DDR Extreme, Soul Calibur, a Neo Geo cabinet featuring Samurai Shodown and Ninja Masters, Guerrilla War, TMNT, Aliens, and way more. If you’re in the area, definitely check the place out; Nickel-A-Play contains an incredible cross-section of quality arcade games, and you can’t beat the price.