Somebody get my Uncle Mike.
Let’s go back, way back to the mid-80s, a pre-teen John Gullion would go and visit Uncle Mike and Aunt Beth for a few days in Southern Indiana – near the border with Louisville, Kentucky.
Part of the tradition of these trips included Mike would take me to an arcade and we would spend a, frankly speaking, inordinate amount of quarters playing Dragon Slayer, Pac-Man, Tron and the other video game classic of the era.
Joust! I just remembered Joust! There were flying dragons and you had a lance and you had to spear the eggs before they hatched. Good god, the ‘80s were a decade of wonder.
Now, it’s time to go back, thanks to Ripley’s, back to 1985. That’s right. It’s just like the Marty in Back to the Future, except instead of desperately trying to avoid an incestuous relationship with our mother that may or may not have led to his own conception decades early, we’re going to play some games, a little laser tag and some mini-golf.
On Feb. 20, Ripley’s celebrated the impending opening of its newest Super Fun Zone, this one located in Gatlinburg across from Old Red’s and near the entrance to Anakeesta.
The Super Fun Zone features and 80’s style arcade and a bevy of ’80s themed activities like Totally Rad Laser Tag, Schweet Mini-Golf, Awesome ’80’s Shooting Gallery – which should have been called War Games but there was probably some copyright BS and the To the Max Retail Shop. I am honestly disappointed that there isn’t a Gag Me with a Spoon Diner but I recognize the marketing difficulties of that one.
As an ’80s arcade, the Super Fun Zone is appropriately splashed with bright, Day-Glo colors straight worthy of a Wham! video. It is, to use the vernacular of the day, totally tubular.
The arcade makes for a great family outing – especially on days where the weather may be less than ideal. The 18-hole indoor golf course, the Laser Tag and Shooting Gallery each provide plenty of fun, but if you’re a child of the ’80s, or a hipster, the retail shop is righteous.
Vintage t-shirts feature 80s icons like Chuck E. Cheese and Showbiz Pizza, others celebrate The Karate Kid, and Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. And no, I’m not telling you what movie Abe Froman is from. If you don’t get it, you make me weep for the future and you should totally go to another arcade.
The Super Fun Zone is now open to the public.