Studio for Southern California History

Best L.A.-Themed Games Arcade, August 2011
In a nondescript Chinatown storefront, between a fortune-teller and the Pasadena Freeway, is the Studio for Southern California History: part museum, part library, and all-around hangout. Plop down on a sofa with complimentary Skittles or Red Vines, and try your luck at the board, card, and electronic games, most with L.A. as a reference point. There’s Gentrification (a Chutes and Ladders-style exercise set in Wilshire Center), Xenophobe (a video game in which space aliens stand in for illegal immigrants), and California Bingo. The Bally’s Flash Gordon pinball machine from the ’80s has been remade into L.A. Pinball. You use the flippers to reach La Virgen de Guadalupe and try not to lose your ball under City Hall.