Passing by the corner of Euclid and Foothill in Upland the other day, I noticed a for-lease sign at Nickel! Nickel!, the video game arcade in the shopping center on the southwest corner, by Coco’s.
In fact, the real-estate sign covered half the sign, rendering it merely: Nickel!
A peek into the empty storefront proved that, yes, the arcade is gone. It was part of a chain of 1980s-style arcades, with 1980s games. As I understand it, you paid an entry fee and from that point, all the games cost a nickel, or maybe three or four nickels, but still cheaper than modern pinball or arcade games. With Upland gone, the nearest location I’m aware of is Covina.
This is tough news. I thought the 1980s were making a comeback.
Anyone have any Upland Nickel! Nickel! memories or lore to share? How long was the place there? What games did you like? I seem to recall hearing that a world record was set there on some game or another.
* UPDATE: An ex-employee posted a detailed history of Nickel’s decline and fall in the comments section. He calls the place “a dynasty that was founded upon a radical idea that a kid could go into an arcade and play outdated games with change his Mom gave him for cleaning his room or found triumphantly under a couch cushion.”