Even drinking the beer with the highest alcohol content at one of Chicago's ever-growing roster of arcade bars can't mask how poorly 1980s arcade games have aged. Asteroids is dreadfully boring, and Donkey Kong now feels more like a Sisyphean exercise in frustration than a lighthearted pastime. But the genius of Killer Queen—created a couple years ago by a pair of Brooklynites—is that it borrows the lo-fi visuals and simple single-button mechanics of games of the Reagan years while introducing innovative new ways to play. Two teams of up to five players control beelike creatures and battle each other while harvesting berries or riding a snail into a goal until one squad wins. It's weird and nonsensical but addicting enough to become a quarter-munching cult hit at Logan Arcade in recent months, inspiring a community called the Mercury Squad that organizes a casual "league night" on Wednesdays along with monthly tournaments. Passionate local scenes have also emerged in other arcade bar-friendly cities like New York and Portland, but if Killer Queen has become the closest thing gaming has to punk rock, then Logan Arcade might as well be CBGB.
In February 2018, this article was updated to use the phrase ‘arcade bar’ in place of the word originally used.
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