Here are a couple of pieces of news regarding arcade locations, today both involving the Southern California region.
Today I’ll do the opposite of the bad news/good news thing and start with the good news first. A new out-of-home entertainment venue, apparently inspired by Round 1 USA will be opening its doors in Los Angeles soon. They will offer bowling, pool food & drink and an arcade with “over 100 arcade games.” I haven’t come across a full list but from some of their Facebook posts you can get an idea – they have a picture of newer games like Winter X Games Snocross, Super Bikes 2, Super Cars, and Dead Heat. We’ll have to wait and see what else will be on hand but from the posts it sounds like they will be open this month so stay tuned. You can visit their Facebook site here.
Next, I have received a couple of emails about some trouble with the Super Arcade in Walnut, CA.It has devolved to the point where there is a donation drive taking place to help them out, details on that can be found at Shoryuken.com. There also is some thought about it at this article by SuperFX at iplaywinner.com.
The latter article gets into the deeper part of a problem – that many players want to pay 1982 prices for a game that has a 2013 price tag. This is a serious problem that is one part of the issue of running an arcade in these modern times. Of course I understand the personal budget but a lot of things have gone up in price too, not just necessities but other entertainment options as well. The article points out that it would take 20,000 plays to pay off a $5000 Street Fighter game at 25¢ a pop. But here’s another thing – the average cost of a game in the arcade industry these days is $7500. When I got SSFIV for my own arcade, it was almost $10,000. I learned a harsh lesson that getting any fighting game at that price wasn’t worth it as once an updated version was released to home consoles, people stopped coming. I had to lower the game price to 25¢ just to get stragglers to play. This is not the same problem with other types of arcade games usually, where you might not have as many players dedicated to a single machine but they will come back and play other games. Fighting game fans can be dedicated when you have an exclusive on site but that support unfortunately dries up once that game is no longer the hot thing in general. Yes that can be the rule of thumb for a lot of games but it seems to be much more of an issue with fighters than say light-gun games.
Phil Arrington who sent me the iPlaywinner link wanted to add his thoughts to it as well:
“Old man rant.
In my view……the whole “in the wall arcade” that’s been there for 10 plus years needs to close down and start somewhere else. I can go as far back…..wayyyyy far…..when they had IIDX 2nd Style, a DDR machine that worked fully in the joint (5th mix and I think another DDR) and the few ppl from the community college/CSUP would creep in there would be considered a pack house….seriously
I can go wayyyy back when everyone laughed and mocked Super for being shitty and everyone and their momma ended up migrating there after what? Denjin Arcade, Arcade Infinity and FFA closed. They didn’t get serious about the joint until Street Fighter 4 came out, and even then the owners (at the time) were trying to pass that arcade around to get rid of it.
We need new blood in the hardcore arcade scene……Fresh blood that’s bring new ideas to the table. Damn near every serious arcade copy the AI/FFA/SHGL (<no one remembers this place) brand and ppl are just waiting for the next arcade to shut down so they can move to another arcade that will copy the same strategy.
I rather these guys go against the city or state to get arcade laws, permits fees, taxes, and rules. People not going to arcade is only a piece of what goes down. If people read the rules they will see how much bullsh*t owners gotta go into.”
Not living in Cali I can’t fully grasp the trouble but the general “exodus of business from California” stories do pop up on my radar from time to time. It seems to be a similar situation for New York where the rules don’t seem to be in favor of an arcade. I’ve got that type of feedback from operators there and as Nick Lombardo of Arcade hunters put it: “Overall it’s a pain in the ass to run a business here. Everything is expensive, from rent to utilities. Here on Long Island we’ve got the magic of LIPA (Long Island Power Authority)and it’s pretty much a monopoly of where you can get your power from. It’s them or nothing. After Sandy you can see how bad they are and all the heads in the state want them gone because they couldn’t run a tomato stand.” The harder you make an activity to participate in, the less of it you will have. Simple enough concept, right?
And with that, ’nuff said. At least for now.