QUESTION: Nickel arcades surely charge a nickel for game play. But is a nickel arcade called that because the entire building in which the arcade is housed is made out of pure nickel?
A) Yes, absolutely!
B) No, that's crazy.
C) All of the above
D) Thomas Jefferson
Yesterday's blog was devoted to the Buffalo Nickel Nickel Arcade. We imagine hundreds - if not thousands - of our loyal readers are curious to know what exactly a nickel arcade is, and if such a thing actually exists. The short answer is that of course they exist; however, they are now few and far between. Originally, they were called penny arcades because it cost a penny to play a game. That began around 1905, when store owners brought together slot machines, fortune tellers, shooter games, and anything else people were willing to drop their hard-earned pennies into for entertainment. Inflation impacted the industry and soon enough everything cost a nickel. Within a few short decades, games cost a quarter, then a dollar. If you're lucky to find an arcade today, like Arnold's Family Fun Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania, for example, you don't need to worry about inserting money into the games at all - you use a plastic card, like a credit card, to play!
Admittedly, nickel arcades have become fairly scarce these days. If you google 'nickel arcade,' you'll find a few of them in Texas, California, and a few other spots around the country. Some of them charge an admission to enter the facility, but all games once inside cost a nickel to play, and can be a lot of fun. One of the most spectacular examples of an old-fashioned penny arcade is the Musee Mechanique on Pier 45 in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area. Their games can be quite historic, but they are often surprisingly fun to this day. We at the American Treasure Tour like to think of them as a delightful alternative to us on the west coast (but they don't take you around their collection on a tram, so there's that).
ANSWER: B) No, that's crazy. Nickel is expensive, which is why American nickels are made using 75% copper and only 25% nickel.