Dark Star Arcade

Welcome to Dark Star Arcade, a site that pays homage to the awesome arcade of the same name that existed in Iowa State's Campustown in Ames, Iowa during the early 1980's.

Dark Star was located at or near 2410 Chamberlain Street in Ames, Iowa.

It was a massive multi-level arcade with a space theme. Along with having the hottest arcade games of the day, the arcade also had movie props/statues, fighting robots, and attendants dressed in white robes that glowed in the pervasive black lighting. Every so often, there would be a "launch" that would occur (think Rain Forest Cafe's "tropical storm").

The entrance to the arcade was a hexagonal hallway ringed with mini-bulb lights lighting. At the end of the hallway was a mirror, giving the illusion of an endless hallway. There were portals to the left and right half way and 3/4 of the way down respectively.

Going left would take you up a few steps to a landing where the hottest new arcade could be found (Space Ace for example), located next to a change machine. From there you could go to the left up a few steps to a mirrored row of arcade games. From the landing going to the right, you could go down towards a glass case of containing a full-sized Alien replica that guarded the entrance to a room containing yet more arcade games.  Around to the right would be more arcade games and more black lighting, and some space ship controls were setup near an employee area.

The portal to the right of the hallway would take you to the Robot Fighting pit, a square battle arena. You could walk up a ramp along one side of the arena, then turn 90 degrees right and continue up the ramp along another wall until you reached a landing. At this point you could either go right to play the robots, or enter the doorway to the left. The doorway to the left revealed a more casual area with other types of games, including a small room to play pool and watch MTV music videos on a big screen.

I'm always on the lookout for more pictures, information, and stories regarding this arcade.  If you have any, please send them to me in an email to .

Gateway to other worlds...

Mark's Arcade Retro Site