Arcade Age Exhibit

Whit text, The Arcade Age, orange text Play video games at the library, with blue pac man ghost and yellow rectangles on the right side.

Get retro at the library and join the fun this winter at The Arcade Age, November 19, 2022 through January 15, 2023. 

The Arcade Age tells the story of video arcade games; from the pioneers in the early ‘40s and ’50s to the golden age in the late ‘70s and early ’80s to its crash, revival and ultimate decline in the ‘90s. It is a story of the creative and innovative people who explored groundbreaking technologies, the games that sprung from their ingenuity and a culture that was shaped by their developments.

Find twelve games stationed throughout the library for free play, including unforgettable favorites like Q*bert, Street Fighter 2 and Joust. Available during regular library hours.

Exhibit developed by Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center and generously sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Qbert game screen

Game On!

Twelve classic Arcade games will be available for free play at the library through January 15! This list is subject to change.



Donkey Kong Junior 



Mortal Kombat



Space Invaders Deluxe 


Rules of Play:

  1. Machines are first come, first served 

  1. Limit game time, especially if a...

Vintage illustration of Pac Man and blue ghost on yellow background

Local Arcade History

Chicago is known for many things, but did you know that it's widely regarded as the birthplace of the modern arcade industry?

Chicago companies like Chicago Coin, Gottlieb, Williams, and Bally Manufacturing joined the coin-operated amusement business with pinball machines in the 1930s. 

By 1942 pinball was banned in major cities across the country because it was believed they could be...

+1Up white with orange outline on black background with yellow and light blue pixel lines

Level Up at a Program

Join us to celebrate the exhibit closing with a special mini-con style event on Sunday, January 15 - Arcade Age: Game Over. Try to beat your high score one last time! Test your knowledge with arcade trivia or join in real-life Mario Kart. Meet industry experts, including The Arcade Age exhibit creator, Seamus Keane, to learn Chicago arcade history and how the games are...