Friday, January 25, 2013

Arcades In LA: Castle Park Is A LA City Park?

So the other day Hart and I headed to Sherman Oaks Castle Park for mini-golf and arcades games. With a group of friends we walked up to the castle arcade, we were in awe of the architecture. It's nice to walk up to a castle if your a rpg fan.

So after some helpful info from our putter giver I got the lowdown on why Castle Park is on the LA City Park's web site. It is actually a city park, but what's odd is the arcade, batting cages and diner are all separately owned businesses that the city doesn't own, but made a deal with to operate near the park. It's odd to me that not one company owns the three adjacent businesses, but why the city of LA just doesn't operate them. Anyway, it doesn't affect you the customer I guess.

Sherman Oaks Castle Park
4989 Sepulveda Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403


When you get past the big open wooden doors you enter the arcade area and are immediately greeted by a Wizard of Oz coin game? The arcade has plenty of games, but might want to theme itself more like a castle. Ticket machines are all over the place with arcade machines. It's a arcade of many different titles. As usual you have a slew of ticket giving machines, shooters, fighters, about two classic arcade units, racers and some harder to find units including a DDR machine. Yes, air hockey too.

The arcade had some fun units like  Sega's Let's Go Jungle! and Let's Go Island! arcade shooters. Let's Go Island! is just pure Japanese crazy goodness. It's not only the bad dubbing, but a plot that makes no sense and swarms of enemies you have to shoot down that make it a top nocth game to check out on your visit. After each level the games tells you how compatible you are with your fellow shooter, if playing two player, so it's sort of a love tester too. My favorite part was losing my gun and having to shoot down bug enemies with maracas and a banjo.

There's a special prize giving machine that has some very expensive presents in the center, but good luck at $5 a game. For $5 you can also try your best at the laser room which has you dodging lasers like a super spy. It's not that big a room, but it'll be big enough with lasers in it. Some hard to find machines inside include a Guitar Hero arcade machine and some strange shooters, no Time Crisis though.

Sega's Sonic Air Hockey tables have some sort of design flaw. When I was battling Hart in a astounding pulse pounding game of air hockey the machine showed it's setbacks. Here's the problems with it: There's not enough air flow for the puck. The dimensions of the machine are different than usual causing for a smaller area to hit the puck. The puck can get caught around the sides of the field. Yes, I did beat Hart.


Surrounding the castle arcade are three mini golf courses. Course 1 is the lamest. Choose courses 2 or 3 for more variety and sites. It will take you about 40 minutes or more to beat a course with a large group. For two people it's much easier and quite nice for dates.

There's plenty of jokes to be made along the mini-golf course at the odd designs and different structures put in. Course 1 had a fort of some sort and a gingerbread house to get your balls through. There's plenty of strange angles and odd holes to play on.

Batting Cages

Batting cages with balls that can go up to 80 mph are out front for anyone wanting to hit some balls.


There seemed to be a smell I didn't notice at first in the arcade. Members of the group agreed. It was odd, because I saw plenty of maintenance by the staff while I was there. The ticket redemption machine being changes and a whole arcade machine being polished.

The food is overpriced, it's better to eat before coming. You may not bring outside food or drinks in. There was a deal on pizza for a slice before 4pm, but the rest of the menu is overpriced snacks.

 We played mini-golf as it got dark. Now there is lightning to keep playing, but many holes on course 1 had broken lights making it hard to finish certain holes.

I could see some better maintenance of the courses. There's just some places that need some fixes are some new paint.


Now for some strange surroundings. Castle Park is next to a fireman training center and a army training center, so sometimes you might see some mock drills happening while your playing. If you take course 3 you should get a good view of what looks like a post-apocalyptic LA which is the training center nearby. To the back of the mini-gold courses is the freeway, so sometimes you can see traffic or even an accident. A tire might of blown on the freeway the night we were playing, we could see traffic stopping after a loud pop. Your also next to an office building of some sort.