A little more help with opening your arcade and an update on my own

Shaggy March 7, 2009 10

I know that there are a lot of you out there who would like to open an arcade but might not be sure where to start (you might also be scared out of your wits due to the way the economy has continued to slide downhill where we’ve been hoping that flushing trillions of our tax dollars down the toilet will magically fix the root of the problem). I have written extensively monkeysarcadesabout the subject in the past and one thing I have pointed out before that one place that can help you with research along with giving you an idea of what to buy will be a good distributor. Now it does pay to shop around as every company has their own deals and salespeople to deal with and we recently received an e-mail from a distributor known as Monkey’s Arcades who is extending a hand to those of you looking to get into this business. In particular you can contact Dave Gull there and see what they have to offer you as they have helped many people get their start in the arcade business. Thanks for sending that along to us Dave.

I also should take this opportunity to update all of you on my own status as of late. You might recall that I have been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to my business since November of last year – it was then that I found out that the mall where I am currently located had plans on giving me the boot to make way for a new entrance and I was under the impression that I was going to be closed at the beginning of January, since that is what I was told. As it turned out they didn’t close me down in January but the possibility of

The new place - lots of cleaning, fixing, painting and carpeting to do still

The new place – lots of cleaning, fixing, painting and carpeting to do still

being closed any day continues to hang over my head, which makes it extremely difficult to take steps to keep my business healthy, such as through advertising. Why spend hundreds of dollars on advertising that I would be locked into for weeks on end when I could be shut down with only 24 hour notice? (Note: When you do a contract with a landlord, fight to get plenty of time in there where they have to notify you about eviction for whatever reason – that’s one lesson I have learned) So I have been focusing on free means of advertising as well as working on a new location. In the forums I have discussed my progress on a new location in a different city, where I will be partnering up with another arcade owner who has a lot of cool games and shares my attitude and vision towards the arcade industry. The only problem with the new place is that we still have an awful lot of work to do, although we have made great progress over the past two months from where we started. If things work out the way we are planning, we should be ready sometime next month and this time with more experience to jump off of, I will do things a little differently, such as in how I market to people.  It will be easier with a much larger location with an expanded game selection to do so but one thing we will certainly do is have a grand opening. With my current location I did a soft opening with a plan to do a grand opening later but unfortunately I procrastinated on that and by the time I was ready for it too much time had passed by. It also will be easier to hold parties since we will have a couple of party rooms, which is a big money maker for many arcades. At my current place there is no space to have a separate party room and so while we have offered to do parties, we haven’t had very many since we are not competitive in that arena. On top of that we’ll have a fully functional Sega R360 which

We're doing some maintenance on this beast

We're doing some maintenance on this beast

should be a cool attraction for players – it never hurts to have some sort of attraction to bring people in although the primary focus will still be on video arcade titles.  We will do a little bit more redemption on the side but that will not become the main attraction like with so many places. Of course if you want to make an arcade of your own where redemption is the big thing and arcades are the after-thought then that is fine, I’m not on a crusade against those kinds of places as they are proven to work. I admit that I have been pleased that I have been able to survive for almost a year here without a redemption center, although I do admit that if it weren’t for my PC LAN center it would have made life a bit more difficult in this particular location. I also should have finished all of my painting at the beginning which would have brightened up the place a bit but that’s another lesson I can take with me into the new place.

So I guess that is part of the message here – you probably will not get everything right with your first business but any failures you have the first time around will better prepare you for the next time where you can make it a bigger success. Of course it is also wise to change things up when you see that something is not working as opposed to standing firm in your mistaken way of handling business so that a small mistake doesn’t turn into a fatal one.

[Discuss on the Forum]


10 Comments »

  1. ECM March 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Well, I can’t offer you much, but I do wish you good luck!

  2. SaraAB87 March 7, 2009 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    OMG you have one, amazing. You are going to be the only arcade operating one in the USA so you can DEFINITELY market that. In fact your probably the only one in North America operating one. This could bring a lot of business to your arcade. I am confident that people would come to your arcade just to play the R360. If I had a lot of money I would take a trip out there to play it in an instant, but alas that is not the case.

    I am very curious as to what type of crowd this machine would draw, how much you are charging to play it and if there are any liabilities with operating such a large machine. You will have to let me know how it does on location.

    I also started a fan club on facebook for the R360 game, since one did not exist before. I could really use some more members and someone to post photos and video of the game, so if you have an account on facebook, please join!

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65666653948&ref=nf

  3. Shaggy March 7, 2009 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    We haven’t decided on what to charge for it yet – maybe $2-$4? It’s hard to say what people will pay for it. Still, it’s a marvel to behold in full operation. I will not be surprised if it will increase our insurance premiums, but hopefully it won’t be too much.

    There is a video of it here – when the name Maui Arcade was going to be the name but we have decided upon something better than that (which we’ll reveal once we get a website set up for it)

  4. SaraAB87 March 8, 2009 at 12:27 am - Reply

    Ok, that is your machine, I saw that video on youtube and subscribed to your videos, its a good video. Thanks for clarifying as I was wondering who that R360 belonged to! I would start off with 4$ and if people were balking at it then you could charge less. If you start at 2$ and want to raise the price people will get mad, but you can always lower without making people angry. Maybe you could even do 2 rides for 4$ (this way you could still make up for having the machine on while the person gets a good value) or charge 4$ to start but say if the person wants another go on it they only have to pay 1$ extra (a lot of places use this model on rollercoasters and it works well). It would be a good way of adding value to the purchase of one ride on the machine. I think a lot of people will want another go on it right away experiencing it the first time, either that or they will not want to try it again because they will be sick!

    Have plenty of cleaning supplies and puke buckets on hand. I would put a bucket next to the machine, lol!

    I envy everyone who lives near your arcade…

  5. neil brimelow March 8, 2009 at 12:37 am - Reply

    I would not mention the R360 it to the insurance company, as it is uneccessary. Your general liability insurance should cover the R360 without any premium increase.

    Odds are that someone slipping and falling, or burning themselves on the hot water in the bathroom will happen before all of the safety features of the R360 fail and cause injury to a passenger.

    You have a “THE SAFE,” and “RIP OFF,” two of my favorite old school games.

  6. Shaggy March 8, 2009 at 5:57 am - Reply

    @Sara – Yeah, I know we’ll need the cleaning supplies, I think there is some very old puke encrusted on one of the floor panels. :\ It was mostly cleaned up but we’ll need to do the rest. We are thinking of installing a webcam inside so the people outside can watch the player’s reactions to be thrown around. That may or may not work out well. 🙂 I like your idea on the pricing, that could work out well.

    @ Neil – The Safe is really cool – I had never heard of one before but once I played it I was hooked. It’s a very neat concept, now we’ll just need to figure out what to put inside.

    I would love to play Rip Off – I have only played a version on the Atari 800 and had never seen the arcade version until I came in here. The problem is that the one in the pic is almost stripped clean inside. Fortunately we have a second Rip Off but it doesn’t work for some reason. I hope it’s not too complicated to get running. Cinematronics had some very cool designs – I have never seen ribbon cables used in the way that they used them in their games.

    We actually found a daily earnings report from 1982 inside of that Rip Off pictured. That game was making more than $100 a day where ever it was located. That’s quite interesting considering that Rip Off wasn’t even a super popular game.

  7. orochi-x March 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    Nice shot!

  8. Evapa March 8, 2009 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    “You are going to be the only arcade operating one in the USA”

    Yes that is a good thing but there is still a slight concern for the new generation of players accepting this game.
    The R360 will always be the most interesting, appealing game from Sega and for the 1990s I showed a hell of allot of ingenuity. My intentions when I purchased this unit was to market this game as” The only one in the United States” I am still doing research to find other R360’s on location in the world.

    “I saw that video on You Tube and subscribed to your videos, its a good video”

    Thanks I thought I could have done a better job on the video. I will be posting some more updates after I complete the repair on this game. I have a full plan to completely modernize this game. I will be updating the restraint system and redesigning new Cockpit features without compromising the original parts. Basically building onto the old. Sega left off on some ideas that would have been great to have on this game. As Shag mentioned we have planes to install a camera in the cockpit behind the monitor glass aimed at your face. It will have a 19 inch monitor outside of the attendance station for patrons to on look.

    “I envy everyone who lives near your arcade”

    You never know what the future will bring, you might just take a special Sara R360 trip! Me and Shag have allot of work ahead of ourselves. I have over 200 coin operated games that need some T.L.C its hard to predict when our official opening date will be. In the mean time I cannot share anymore info on the R360 or the status on the arcade till we open. For precautionary purpose. Also I will have to look at joining your Face Book Page, Thanks for your enthusiasm for the R360, There is not that many people that dedicate there time to involve the once and forgotten fans! Thank you! Evapa

  9. SaraAB87 March 8, 2009 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    I don’t think you will have a problem with the R360 with people getting injured, as long as someone is watching over the machine while the player is in it. After that there are many safety features in it, so I don’t think there will be a problem.

    I know a friend played a machine in another country and they basically had someone start up the machine, walk away and just let the guy play. They also didn’t help with getting in and out of the machine or anything like that, he had to do it all himself. Thankfully this person has some experience with playing the R360 so he knows how it works.

    You should be able to attract players of all ages with the machine, there are people who remember the machine, you just have to get the information out of them by showing them a picture of it and jogging their memory (or showing them the machine!). I started the page on facebook because I don’t want people to forget the R360, because its in such a limited supply there is the danger for it to just fade into obscurity. There are pages on facebook for the other games like space harrier. I also have another friend who is going to be extremely interested in the updates you are going to make to the machine. Putting in a webcam will surely help with business and will help to modernize the game a little.

    I really don’t think there are any of these operating in the US or north America at this time, so you could definitely claim the title with no problem. The other R360’s around the world that I knew of that were on location have disappeared from those locations. I would estimate the last time a R360 was operated in the US was around 5 years ago, but it could be even longer.

    The one my friend played was in gran canaria, and I know there aren’t any more in the UK. You might find one in Spain or Mexico if you are lucky. Australia is also out as well as the ones I knew of over there are gone as well.

  10. Molloy March 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    I went to an arcade in Paris in 1998 and their R360 was still doing very good trade. There were plenty of much more graphically advanced games like VF3 at the time which weren’t doing nearly as well so I’d say the appeal of the machine is pretty timeless. One of the guys I didn’t like split his trousers from front to back on it that day too so it has a particularly fond place in my heart.

    Great selection of classics! That’s what makes me excited about going to an arcade. I think I spy a Crystal Castles!

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