I was in Brazil recently and while there I didn’t waste the opportunity to check out some arcades while I was visiting. The best places to look are malls, although you might find some machines hiding out in other places on occasion, such as a bar or strip mall but that is rare in the larger cities. All of the places I visited here were in the greater area of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte is actually the third largest city in Brazil but it’s still quite a bit smaller than the mega-metropolis that is São Paulo and it has no beaches like Rio De Janeiro, which is why you don’t hear about it as often as other cities there.
In Brazilian Portuguese the word for arcade is “fliperama” and a variation on that I have heard people call pinball games just “fliper”. One interesting thing I noticed about most of the places I went to is that for music gaming all of them had a version of Pump It Up somewhere on location. A soccer game like Virtua Striker was a given but I also was quite surprised by the number of Guitar Hero 3 arcade machines I saw. These are not the Raw Thrills’/Konami/Activision machine that was released last year but the console versions of the game modified for arcade use. I also saw a Rock Bad 2 machine setup like that as well as a couple of Street Fighter IV machines. I have video and more details on each location right after the post break
First: Sweet Play, Itaú Power Shopping in Contagem/Eldorado
The first place I came across was called Sweet Play at the Itaú Power Shopping mall. This mall sits next to the only WalMart and Sams Club in the state of Minas. Sweet Play occupies a large open space on the first floor of the mall and feature not only arcade games but kids rides as well. All credits were handled with a card system and I can’t say that I was too crazy about their prices but they had some cool cabinets. In fact, I tried to find out who makes some cabinets they had there with HDTV’s and some slick artwork on each. They had a Demon Front machine which I had to play – Demon Front is IGS’s answer to Metal Slug which was released in 2004. It’s all in 2D and has a few differences from MG but they are huge differences so MG fans will feel at home with the game. As you will see in the video, they really like to modify racing cabinets in Brazil to make them stand out. I like the idea although only locations with a lot of space could handle such things.
Part 1 – Direct link for HD
Part 2 – Direct Link for HD
Guanabara Amusement Park, Pampulha
We took our kids to an amusement park in Pampulha and while it wasn’t a huge park, they had enough to keep the kids happy. They also have an arcade area which I show below. Most everything is a little older but you’ll see one of the Guitar Hero 3 knockoffs I mentioned and several other games you may be familiar with.
Arcade @ Boliche Del Rey, Del Rey Shopping Center
I found a small arcade off to the side of a bowling center at the Del Rey Shopping mall and while it was small, it had a nice selection of games. Del Rey Shopping itself is pretty cool – three stories worth of shops and home to a fairly large Planet sport arcade which I’ll get to below. If you are ever in the area they also have one of the few Rodizio style Pizza Huts in the world – the Rodizio concept is pretty cool if you aren’t familiar with it and they do it with pizza here so it is worth checking out. Bowling isn’t common in Brazil (when it comes to sports everything takes a back seat to football/soccer) and as far as I know, Boliche Del Rey is only place in Minas where you can play. Still, the place was packed with people and the wait was a couple of hours to get into a lane. Fortunately I found a moment where the arcade was empty so I could walk around really quick.
Planet Sport, Itaú Power Shopping and Del Rey Shopping
(from the Del Rey Shopping location)
Now for the best arcade chain I know of in Brazil, Planet Sport. These are found at most shopping malls in Minas and they are always big and have an excellent selection of games. Unfortunately, they didn’t like me filming or taking pictures. So I debated with myself as to whether I should upload what I did manage to grab and I figure that unless I hear something about it, I will keep it up so you can see a little of what they have. They told me it was because of people filming others playing Pump It Up but I have a feeling that it has more to do with the knock-offs on location. They aren’t the only ones with these and I honestly think that the Street Fighter IV setup is cool and they actually have an SFIV at both locations but in different cabinets. The Del Rey Shopping location had a better selection and more space for games and they also have the only Brazilian made arcade game I know of, Senninha GP (pictured at the top above)
For some of the Itaú location, see the video below