Token Taverns: Review

Token Taverns: Review

Arcade games were introduced in the early Eighties and were a big hit. It was a place where kids could hang out together relatively unsupervised and compete against each other in a variety of different games. However, that’s where home gaming came into effect. Capitalising on the success of games such as Donkey Kong, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, soon home consoles and computers were the places gamers wanted to be.

Although as they say, if you wait around long enough, then everything comes back into fashion and that’s exactly what happened with arcades. Nostalgia is a big pull and venues started popping up all over America where people could play arcade games old and new while enjoying the more adult beverages that they’d grown to love.

Token Taverns is a documentary directed by Bob Rose about just those kinds of places that were showing they still had relevance. Focussing on such bars as Vector and Reboot, Rose’s documentary goes a little into the history of gaming, but mainly soaks up the atmosphere of what it’s like to be a life-long gamer well into the 21st Century.



With appearances from gaming icons such as Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, Token Taverns is a celebration of where we’ve been as gamers and where we might be going.

However, as with most documentaries in recent times there comes talk of the pandemic and how it changed lives for the worst as livelihoods were affected. Public places where gamers could converse and play together were under threat and sadly despite their best efforts of bending some rules and breaking others, it just wasn’t enough.

Thankfully though, the pandemic doesn’t become the focus of the documentary and it shows how places adapted and evolved to include all the gamers and their friends. Showing how gaming culture is just the same as every community, Token Taverns shows where everybody can go to who knows the abbreviated name you put on the scoreboard.

The kind of documentary which could have looked down its nose at its subject, it shows just how far the gaming community has come.


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