Granite State of Mind, #16: Funspot, Laconia
I'm a Seacoast guy, born and bred, and this list certainly reflects that. But the lakes region of the state has its own claim on parts of me as well, as I'll explore in plenty of upcoming entries. One of those places, loaded with kitschy past-life charm and a certain timeless appeal is Funspot. Located just up the road from Weirs Beach along one of the endless arms of the sprawling Winnipesaukee, Funspot is the world's largest arcade, sixty-five years young. Sure, the place has bumper cars, mini-golf, and bowling (candlepin, the only true iteration of the sport). But the heart of Funspot is the collection of over 300 classic video games.
By classic, I mean they've got all the Hall of Famers: Pac-Man, Frogger, Asteroids, Centipede, even a vintage original Pong. But they've also got everything else. Rolling Thunder, John Elway's Football, Dig Dug, four-player tabletop Gauntlet, you name it. For children of the 70s and 80s who grew up knowing the highest purpose of a roll of quarters, it's a nostalgic Shangri-La. Funspot is emblematic of an earlier era of American leisure, a more homegrown and less corporate family entertainment. There's something comfortingly seedy and rundown about the enterprise, like a well-worn shoe you might not wear to a fancy dinner but still fits.
Much of Laconia and Weirs Beach and parts of the lakes region feels that way, like a section of 1955 survived into these less innocent days. Compared to the gentrification in Portsmouth and newly-paved splendor of Salem, there's an earnest and unaffected authenticity to Funspot and its neighbors, a reminder that New Hampshire is equal parts bustling modernity and living fossil.