Over the next few entries in this weekly feature, I’m going to write about the 3 arcades that are in the main tourist area. Calling them arcades probably isn’t fair. When I think of an arcade I think of a small dark area crammed with video games and pinball machines. The arcades in the tourist area are giant, open spaces with classic video games, bowling, sports simulators, and more. The 3 operations are the Great Canadian Midway (HOCO Limited), Marvel Superheroes Adventure City (Canadian Niagara Hotels), and SkyQuest (Skylon) (also called Skylon Entertainment Centre or Skylon Fun Centre). To start of the series, I’ll write about the Great Canadian Midway.
Prior to 2002, HOCO Limited used to have their Dinosaur Park Miniature Golf and Dazzleland Arcade right at the street on Clifton Hill. When construction started, the miniature golf course was moved to a portion of the Comfort Inn Clifton Hill parking lot, and Dazzleland was taken out entirely. In its place a huge Boston Pizza (largest in Canada) and a 60,000 square foot entertainment complex was built.
Inside Boston Pizza (the upper level) is a bar and games area called Sports Zone which is essentially a continuaton of the games downstairs. Upstairs are several Bowlingo lanes, a sports simulator (soccer, hockey, pitching, etc) and many other sports-related games. Although there are a couple of things that younger children would enjoy, the games are mostly for the teenager or adult crowd.
Downstairs is where most of the games are, and this is really what is considered the Great Canadian Midway (GCM for short). It’s quite an impressive site as you walk in and you see such high ceilings lit up and games as far as you can see. There are 2 rides inside the GCM that cost more to go on. Cosmic Coaster (previously called Fun House Express and FX Thrill Ride) is a roller coaster motion simulator and Ghost Blasters is a black-lit ride where you shoot at targets that are ghosts. I’ll cover both of these in future postings.
There are games for people of all ages. There are games that are very easy that are aimed for the small children. They have miniature versions of some of the more popular games such as Skee-ball that is about 1/3 the size and little basketball hoops. There are the traditional carnival types games such as spraying water at a target to make a boat move along a track, a hammer drop game to see how “strong” you are, and more. There are also many of the “pusher” games that are almost like casino games. These games consist of a platform full of tokens with a small bar constantly pushing at the edge of it. As you drop tokens onto the platform, the pusher may push that token into another token, causing some tokens to fall off the platform. In this case, and in almost all of the other games, you get tickets for how well you do in the game.
As can be expected, the prizes you get when you redeem the tickets are pretty useless, but everyone still gets excited about it anyway. If you spend enough money and earn enough tickets, there are some big prizes such as DVD players and more.
Inside GCM is also a snack bar and public washrooms. There is also an entrance to the Wendy’s on Clifton Hill.
Overall I think that the Great Canadian Midway is a fantastic place to visit. The games are fun and my 2 kids love it. I’d highly recommend it to anyone.