For a hefty chunk of my childhood, I played video games. I enjoyed nothing better than navigating stout plumbers across inhospitable landscapes, guiding chosen heroes along their quests to locate the fragments of divine MacGuffins, and forcing fantastic creatures to beat one another into mangled pulps.
As I got older, I appreciated that real life is an inhospitable landscape, and so I discovered beer – though I would never drink more than two beers unless I’m at a party or having a hard day or drinking very good beer. All beer is very good beer.
But one day I realized something: playing video games and drinking beer are really, really good together. Nick Hill shared this epiphany, which is fortunate for Fargo because it led him to cofound Pixeled Brewing Co. There he offers more than 60 arcade machines alongside his own craft beer.
“I’ve been playing video games and drinking beer all my life,” said Nick. “Actually, I take that back – I only started drinking beer when I turned 21.
“I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who rode his bike eight miles to get to the nearest pizza place with an arcade machine. I loved Centipede the most. It’s different every time, super challenging and super gratifying. I can’t imagine how much money I spent trying to hit the perfect hammer throw in Track and Field. And I’m especially nostalgic for Dragon’s Lair, but only because I never had enough quarters to play such an impossibly hard arcade game for more than two minutes.
“Being an adult has its downsides, especially with all the you-know-what going on in the world today. But one of the biggest advantages to being an adult? Having adult money. You can come to Pixeled and finally beat all those games you remember from your childhood like Burger Time, Tron, Dig Dug, Mario Bros., Metal Slug X, Turtles in Time, The Simpsons, Captain America and the Avengers, Golden Axe, Mortal Kombat, Area 51, Marvel vs. Capcom, and much, much more. We’ve also got newer arcade games like Killer Queen, a ridiculously fun five-on-five challenge that always has our guests hollering when they play it.
“Part of the reason we founded Pixeled was to preserve a special part of history. Ninety five percent of the games here are in their original condition, complete with the CRT monitors they were coded to run on. The last CRT factory in America shut down in 2015, but we’re committed to letting people experience these great games the way they were meant to be played. Whenever a cabinet’s CRT breaks, we scour the region until we find an authentic replacement.
“We’re here to put a smile on your face, and right from the beginning we knew that would take more than just nostalgia. It would also take beer. That’s why we have our own brewery on site, where we brew over 30 of our original recipes. As of March we have four on tap, like Galactic Implication, a New England style IPA with a high hop aroma, fruity flavor and low bitterness. Our Jon Luck Pickerd is an English amber ale brewed with eight pounds of Earl Grey tea to give it a unique fruity twist. And our Coin-Op is our best selling beer. It’s a cream ale with the 4.6 percent ABV it needs to qualify as ‘sessionable,’ meaning you can drink three or four and still have the hand-eye coordination you need to beat your friends at Street Fighter 2.”
Pixeled also has several other fine breweries’ best beers on tap, as well as Bud Light.
Pixeled isn’t just for adults! Accompanied minors are welcome there on Sundays, so you can take your kids to a wholesome environment and absolutely mop the floor with them at WWF Superstars and Golden Tee 98’. (Sadly only one of those games features Macho Man Randy Savage as a playable character.) Every kid deserves to enjoy the pure video game experience that only an arcade can offer – without draining a credit card buying downloadable content or getting into a screaming match with a grown man living in Yarnell, Arizona.
Pixeled Brewing Co. is located at 1100 NP Ave, Suite 101 in Fargo. You can see all of their arcade games and beer online at pixeled.beer.
By David Scheller