The Written Rules Of The Arcade

arcadehero September 29, 2016 6

I have had an odd rash of bad behavoir at my arcade recently. Between having some parents demand that I watch their 3 year old son so they could go shopping elsewhere and a mom who didn’t see a problem with using the glass of a pinball machine as a slide for her baby, I’ve had reason to pull what’s left of my hair out.

As arcades are public spaces, many have certain rules that they want the patrons to follow. Often these have been created to avoid health issues, legal headaches or to dissuade bad behavior that can stigmatize a venue. Granted, just because rules are posted doesn’t mean that people are going to obey them. I have a giant sign at the front of my store that says NO FOOD OR DRINK (we used to allow it until some spills almost destroyed a couple of games) but people like to pretend that it isn’t there. Or there is the occasional fun one of someone arguing with you that they are special and will not spill anything. Making the arcade operator treat clients differently isn’t exactly their favorite thing to do.

Here are several arcade rules that I’ve found online – which ones are your favorite? Are there any you’ve seen that you believe are unreasonable?

Arcade Rules

(click to enlarge)

Let’s start with the basics. I’ve never seen anyone get super tilty with a pinball machine, as mentioned the only thing that gets me fired up is seeing people hit or sit on the glass. Also, I’ve seen some people get upset over no refund policies before, especially if the venue doesn’t take care of their machines.


Some Standard House Rules from the good ol’ days of the Time Out Arcade chain:


And jumping waaaay back into our archives is a wood carved version of the sign above:

House wood!

House Rules…in wood!


You laugh at the ‘No pooping’ rule until you’ve come across a parent changing a blown-out diaper on a game. Or a parent/someone who finds a corner to vomit on the floor:


Then things get a little weird although I think we can all appreciate clean air:


The House Rules for Round1USA locations:


Dave & Busters has different rules that vary by location but one thing that stuck out are the rules on Photography and Filming. Granted the photography slips through into the internet ether regardless:


With the surge in bar/arcades out there, you can expect to find a few requirements tailored for their business model. This one is from the 16-Bit Bar+Arcade.


From Pinballz Arcade In Austin, TX:


Last and certainly not lease, some snark:

Best arcade rules ever

Are there any arcade rules you’ve seen that you thought were clever or noteworthy? Any you broke intentionally to the chagrin of the arcade operator?


  1. Arcades4ever September 29, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Back when I was in my teens I used to like to take photos of arcade games especially ones that were either new or were rare to find and I always got told off for taking photos of their machines despite not having any signs saying no photography. I don’t really see the big deal really and I can understand random people not wanting to be in the photos (despite me trying to avoid that) but I always got told off just for taking photos of the machines so I had to do it discreetly.

  2. Voltz September 29, 2016 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Japan usually has rules on people who post their videos on youtube not to film there, but it’s because of these guys, I’m still able to get an idea of what goes on around there. I still haven’t seen anyone attempt to throw a take-down notice their way.

    Btw, “No Pooping??” Looks like one place really has it bad.

  3. jerenze September 30, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

    Although I did not visit, I read in our music group page that Virtualand in Singapore is quite very strict in rules especially taking videos. Taking videos of games are strictly NOT allowed inside, but taking pictures of achievements or arcade interiors are still allowed.

    • Voltz September 30, 2016 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      I doubt that anyone would bother you if you just so happened to have the top of your smartphone sticking up out of your shirt or something. Of course you could also wire a camera onto yourself.

  4. Steffen October 1, 2016 at 12:09 am - Reply

    The funny thing about photography is that some the latest games like Super Alpine Racer show a QR-code at the end of the game. This makes quite a few people pull out their smartphones.

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