Cowabunga! Atlas Arcade is hosting a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles contest

TMNT Heroes in a Half-Shell. (Photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

As a kid, I pumped a good amount of my pocket money into the local arcade's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game console. Who knew that wasted time would come in handy 20-some years later?

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is heading to theaters next week, and H Street's Atlas Arcade is celebrating on Friday, Aug. 1, by hosting a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles contest on its original 1989 arcade game.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., four contestants at a time will play as Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. They'll have 30 minutes to score as many points as possible, and can pump as many quarters into the machine as needed during game play if they get "shell shocked."

Players have to email dcatlasarcade@gmail.com to register, and can request a specific time (say, 7:30 or 9 p.m.) if needed. If, like me, they always played as Mike as a kid, they can request to be a certain Turtle, says manager Tammy Taylor, "but it's on a first-come first-serve basis. If someone beats you to it, then you have to choose another one."

There are plans to add a second Turtles game console for the night, though details are still being finalized.

Contestants will receive free passes to a special screening of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" on Aug. 6, and high scorers take home T-shirts, masks and other prizes from Paramount Pictures. There will be drink specials during the contest, including Cowabunga Punch and Ooze Booze, but you'll have to provide your own pizza, dude.

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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