Top 10 Ways to Geek Out In Vegas
Everyone knows about the “sexy” side of Las Vegas—the gourmet restaurants and fist-pumping DJs and high-stakes gambling. But when you get down to it, the city is a heck of a lot more geeky than sinful. Comic book shops, video gaming bars, vintage toy stores? Check, check, check. Even the conventions Las Vegas hosts annually are geeky—hackers gathering DEF CON, the Consumer Electronics Show, audio-visual nerdfest NAB Show? Oh yeah, we know how to get our geek on—and below are the top 10 ways you can, too:
Geeks Who Drink
This is a given, right? “Geek” is in the name! But Geeks Who Drink pub quiz events aren’t for genre-specific geeks. They’re for anyone who enjoys a good drink and making new friends (or enemies) while answering questions about video games, music, history and anything under the sun. Run by a professional quizmaster, these trivia nights burn through “nearly 70 multimedia questions in two exciting hours,” according to the Geeks Who Drink website, and winning teams or participants can enjoy bar tabs, free drinks and bragging rights. Here in Las Vegas, there’s a quiz almost every night at different locations around the valley, the full list of which can be found at geekswhodrink.com
Pinball Hall of Fame
There’s a reason the Pinball Hall of Fame shows up in just about every “must-do” Vegas list: It’s all kinds of awesome. Filled with more than 150 pinball machines, classic arcade consoles and coin-operated skill games (including grabbers, air hockey and shooting galleries), there’s a good chance you’ll find your favorite quarter-stealer inside this 10,000-square-foot slice of pinball heaven. And as a bonus, it’s a not-for-profit operation. Owner Tim Arnold donates all profits to local charities.
1610 E. Tropicana Ave. (702) 597-2627 pinballhall.org
If you were a kid in the 1970s, ‘80s or ‘90s, prepare yourself for nostalgia overload before entering one of Rogue Toys’ two Las Vegas locations. It’s all here, from Transformers and Star Wars to Barbie and Buck Rogers—and if they don’t have it in stock, these vintage toy experts will find it for you. Yep, at Rogue Toys, you can relive your childhood—except this time, you have your own paycheck to blow on your favorite action figures, vehicles and accessories.
2115 S. Rainbow Blvd. and 616 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702) 330-3945 roguetoys.com
The Sci-Fi Center
This paean to all things geeky has been a Las Vegas staple for more than 20 years, although it’s never stayed in one spot for very long. However, it’s newest location affords even more space for not just the Sci-Fi Center’s retail collection of comic books, posters, science fiction memorabilia, horror magazines and DVDs, but also its warehouse-turned-performance venue, which hosts weekly live cast screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, offbeat, independent plays, and showings of both classic and contemporary sci-fi, horror and genre films.
5077 Arville St. (702) 792-4335 thescificenter.com
Insert Coin(s) ** CLOSED **
If you prefer to do your gaming in public and with plenty of access to cocktails and dope music, then Insert Coin(s) is your kind of spot. Part-arcade, part-nightclub, part-gaming lounge, Insert Coin(s) is located right in the middle of downtown Las Vegas’ Fremont East Entertainment District, so it’s no surprise that beyond the classic arcade cabinets, modern gaming consoles and video game-themed drinks, the bar also plays host almost nightly to DJs and performers throwing down hot hip-hop and dance sounds.
512 Fremont St. (702) 477-2525 insertcoinslv.com
Zombie Apocalypse Store
The likelihood that zombies are real is questionable. But preparing for a zombie invasion is much like preparing for any other disaster, whether it’s a massive earthquake, a supervolcano eruption, or just a really bad case of social anxiety. Either way, the Zombie Apocalypse Store has you covered. It has everything you need to survive, from weapons and gas masks to freeze-dried food and first-aid kits. The store also hosts weekly paintball “zombie shooting” experiences, and sponsors occasional self-defense classes as well.
3420 Spring Mountain Road (702) 320-0703 zombieapocalypsestore.com
From Dunnys and Munnys to Labbits and Mongers, this Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas outlet for hip toymaker and lifestyle brand kidrobot carries an assortment of plush objects, vinyl figures and do-it-yourself kits, as well as books, t-shirts, hats and other merch featuring designs by some of today’s hottest lowbrow and underground artists, as well as collaborations with familiar properties such as South Park, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Family Guy.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 698-7000 kidrobot.com
Whether your geekiness leans more toward robotics, home entertainment systems or hardcore gaming, Fry’s Electronics has the technology you need. The Vegas location of this one-stop tech shop features a giant slot machine facade, but inside is where the real fun begins: Aisles and aisles of computers, high-tech toys, software, audio-visual equipment, giant-screen TVs, and so much more. There’s even a casual cafe in the middle of it all, because once you’re inside, it might be hours before you leave, and you’re definitely gonna need a snack or two.
6845 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 932-1400 frys.com
Alternate Reality Comics
There are a lot of comic book stores in Las Vegas, and most of them are welcoming, professionally run, family-friendly spots that defy the stereotype perpetrated by TV shows such as Comic Book Men or characters like The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy. Perhaps the most shining example—and certainly the longest-enduring—is Alternate Reality Comics. Located only about a mile from the Strip, this vibrant, yellow-walled shop features more than 3,000 square feet of space dedicated almost entirely to graphic fiction. Wire shelves are stocked with all the latest mainstream and alternative comic books and graphic novels, including hard-to-find foreign and independent titles, an entire section dedicated to kid-friendly selections, and boxes packed with $1 back issues. The store is also home to the “Artist Spotlight” gallery, which hosts art exhibits from local artists each month, and offers a cozy reading area that includes a fridge stocked with cold beverages.
4110 S. Maryland Parkway #8 (702) 736-3673 alternaterealitycomics.net
Located among the New York-New York Hotel & Casino’s Strip-facing shops and restaurants is the second location of this quirky, California-based retailer that sells “a variety of ingenious and UN-genius products and ideas.” What does that mean? It’s all the stuff you didn’t know you needed until you find it here. Like scissors with a built-in laser sight. Or a backwards clock. Or a bottle opener that counts the number of beers you’ve opened.
New York-New York 3790 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (800) 548-9958 stupidiotic.com