Jul 1, 2024

The Arcade That Moved Downstairs And Went Downhill

Timeline Arcade
Hanover, PA
We spent my 44th birthday at the Timeline Arcade in Hanover, PA.

I've been to their arcade in York, PA several times over the past six years, but this is the first time that I've visited their Hanover arcade since it was moved from the second floor of its building to ground level.

Time Out Family Amusement Center  (photo source: Arcade Blogger)
Timeline Arcade - Hanover, PA

The new entrance to the Timeline Arcade has been designed to resemble the outside of a Time-Out Family Amusement Center, which was a chain of arcades found in malls across the country throughout the late 70's through the early 2000's.

While a lot of work has gone into the aesthetics of the Hanover location since the arcade was moved from the second floor to the first, unfortunately the same cannot be said for the games themselves.  I'd estimate that the arcade includes maybe 25% of the games that it had prior to the move, and a significant number of them were either out of order or had damages that ranged from hindering the gameplay to rendering it completely unplayable.  Examples include Tetris, which had glitches on the monitor which made it impossible to tell which spaces were empty and which spaces had bricks at the bottom of the screen, to Q*Bert, which the joystick panel was not attached to the panel and separated from the rest of the cabinet entirely when you tried to move up.

The pinball games were in better shape, but they weren't without issues either.  Two of the machines were out of order completely, the Terminator 2 machine had a left flipper that was non-functional, and several other machines had issues that affected the game play.  Most of the older machines had plungers that could barely launch the ball hard enough to get it through the chute and onto the table, which I'm guessing means that they either had broken springs or that the wrong springs were used so the plunger isn't hitting the ball as hard as it's supposed to.

They did have some pretty cool machines though, and the ones that worked properly were a hell of a lot of fun to play.  The newer machines, like the John Wick and Elton John ones, worked perfectly.  Most of the other ones were playable, even if it was a bit of a struggle to get the pinball to launch.  I'll post some more pictures of these machines and some of the others in a few days.

To call the Timeline Arcade in Hanover, PA a disappointment compared to what it was before the pandemic would be a massive understatement.  A few years ago, this was one of the coolest arcades I had ever visited in my life.  Today, it's not worth the gas money that it takes to get there, even if admission was free.

I visited the York location earlier this year, and it is still absolutely incredible, but its expansions seem to have come at the expense of the Hanover location.  Quite frankly, if not for all of the time and money that it must have taken to make the Hanover arcade resemble the old Time Out Family Amusement Centers, I would have said that it was being used as a warehouse for machines that were in need of repair and overflow cabinets that they didn't have the room to put out in York.  The difference between these two arcades is so vast that it's hard to believe that they're owned by the same person.  It's like comparing a playground in a state of neglect to Disneyland.

If you live in Hanover and you only care about playing pinball, visiting the Hanover location might be worth your while to buy a one hour pass.  For anyone else, do yourself a favor and skip the Hanover location and visit the Timeline Arcade in York.