It’s been a little while since we did a locations post, and I did a catch-up Newsbytes yesterday, so let’s get back on track by seeing who is new out there. Due to the time, this post is a little longer than usual, so I’m going to list them all out here at the top, then get to each. Today’s post also has a higher concentration of 2nd or 3rd locations for an existing company than normal, which is an interesting indicator as to how arcades are performing out there.
For the new arcades mentioned in this post:
- Lvl Up #2 (San Jose, CA)
- RecBar 812 #2 (New Albany, IN)
- Crazy Quarters Arcade (Bay City, MI)
- Discovery Zone (Cincinnati, OH)
- Ka-Ko-Jo’s #3 (Idaho Falls, ID)
- Level Up Arcade Bar (Limerick, Ireland)
- Wayback’s Arcade (Pineville, LA)
- Pac-Man Zone (Evansville, IN; Ann Arbor, MI)
- BitBar #2 (Temple, TX)
- Arcade Galactic (West Valley City, UT)
- Round1USA (Eugene, OR)
- Andretti Indoor Karting & Games (Katy, TX)
My apologies if I have missed any new venues to open up out there; if so, please let me know and you’ll be included on the next Location Watch!
Lvl Up #2 (Downtown San Jose, CA)
Let’s start with one of those second locations, and one that has been put together in part by a site friend, TJ Beyer. The first location for Lvl Up was established in Campbell, CA, so this location is right next door. You don’t really want to place your locations too far away from each other, unless you’re going into the corporate/franchising route. TJ stated that it has “8-10 pinball machines, basketball, skeeball, driving games, some classics, and other fun stuff” to fill out the game mix; per the photos he has posted online, that includes: Cactus Canyon pin, Cruis’n Blast, Guardians of the galaxy pin [Pro], Guitar Hero Arcade, Monopoly pin, Space Invaders Frenzy, Star Wars pin [Pro], Stranger Things pin [Pro], Time Crisis 3, World’s Largest Pac-Man, X-men pin and soon, the new Bust-A-Move Frenzy. You can follow this location on Twitter.
RecBar 812 #2 (New Albany, IN)
H/T to Replay Magazine for this one, where they linked to this article at the Louisville Courier Journal For another arcade/bar opening location #2, we hop over to Indiana where the first location had opened in 2016. This one opened up on Feb. 3rd and sports over 200 games in the 24,000 sq. ft. space, making a near complete list here…impractical. Granted, I don’t see a games list anywhere and there are few pictures on their social media to glean from. What there is shows a significant collection of pinball machines, and I would assume, other video amusements. Find them on Facebook, here.
Crazy Quarters Arcade (Bay City, MI)
H/T to Replay Magazine & MLive for this story on a venue that opened up on February 8th. This is a [mostly] retro arcade that gives plenty of love to pinball machines, covering everything from Gottlieb’s 1959 release Universe, to Stern’s latest in Stranger Things [Pro]. Other games include: Aerosmith pin, Centipede, Donkey Kong 3, Galaga, Mortal Kombat, Pac-Man, Pump It Up (not sure which version), Rolling Thunder, Tetris (Atari ver., 1988), The Munsters and more. Check them out on Facebook, here.
Discovery Zone (Cincinnati, OH)
Let’s start with an FEC that is possibly making a comeback, a center that just opened in Ohio by the name of Discovery Zone. Discovery Zone was a chain of family entertainment centers that were like a supercharged Chuck E. Cheeses where the focus was on kids, but everything was bigger and available in more abundance. That setup didn’t prevent the chain from going bankrupt and becoming nothing more than a memory – until a new facility using the same name and a very similar setup just opened in Cincinnanti. It’s unclear whether or not anyone originally involved in DZ are involved with this one, but it definitely looks similar. Their main focus is providing a massive soft playground for kids to play in, which has a small redemptioncade on the side (at least per this pre-open video). You can find them on Facebook here.
Ka-Ko-Jo’s #3 (Idaho Falls)
H/T to Replay Magazine for highlighting this one, which is another location that has previous establishments behind it (one in Greely, CO and another in Casper, WY). Tomorrow (Feb 16th) marks location #3 for this growing company, which appears to be following the standard FEC model of multiple attractions, one of which includes arcade machines. With 5,200 total sq. ft. to play with, they have a good amount of space, and from a video at East Idaho News, it’s not all redemption amusements either. While the video was a little early, there’s a Nirin there (not a game you come across nearly as often as something like Super Bikes 2), although I do imagine at the end of the day, the game mix will be heavy on the ticket titles. Visit the Kakojos Official website here
Level Up Arcade Bar (Limerick, Ireland)
H/T to Barry K. for alerting me to this new bar/arcade over in Ireland. I’m not sure how many places out there use the Level Up name or a variation on that, but it is pretty rare that I’ve heard of an arcade venue opening up in Ireland. This place has a strong selection of arcade & pinball games, both old and new, including: Big Buck Hunter, Bubble Bobble, Creature From The Black Lagoon pin, Final Fight, GhostBusters pin, Ghost Squad, Golden Axe, H2Overdrive, In The Hunt, MaiMai, Metal Slug, Metallica pin, OutRun 1 & 2, Shinobi, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, Street Fighter II, III & IV, Terminator Salvation, The Beatles pin, Time Crisis IV, and more. Find their main website here.
Wayback’s Arcade (Pineville, LA)
I heard about this one through an operator’s group on Facebook, and as of yesterday, they’ve opened their doors. This one follows the modern retrocade pattern, of charging an admission fee and having the games on free/unlimited play. For the games, they have “around 35 arcade games, 4 pinball tables, a selection of board games […] and hopefully a few other surprises.” Some of those games include: Berzerk, Defender, Galaga, Gaplus, Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, Gyruss, Hang On, Joust, Mortal Kombat, a Neo Geo MVS, Off Road Challenge, Robotron 2084, Star Wars (Atari), Super Mario Bros., Tempest, TMNT (1989) and more. Find them on Facebook here.
Pac-Man Zone (Evansville, IN & Ann Arbor, MI)
H/T to Michael L for letting me know about this one. Way back in December of 2018, we ran a story about an effort by Namco USA (the operations arm of Namco that runs hundreds of arcade facilities across the US) launching a big effort to re-brand their locations. Since that time, I had not heard of any brand new places to open under the Pac-Man Zone name, although it looks like they have flown under my radar.
Per the Courier & Press, a new Pac-Man Zone will open their doors at the Eastland Mall in Evansville this next week, housing 50 games and a party room. While the precise game mix isn’t mentioned, I assume that it will be strong the redemption side, with a few video pieces around to enjoy.
For another Pac-Man Zone opening up out East, Replay Magazine had this quick mention of a PMZ that is set to open up at the Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor, MI.
On a related tangent, I do believe that Namco is prepping Pac-Man Panic for a US launch this Spring as well; the game is currently found at Round1USA locations as a timed exclusive. I’ve seen some photos from a location test of one elsewhere, although you never know how tests might shake out.
BitBar #2 (Temple, TX)
Another via Replay here, that links to an article by KWTX.com for a second location to the BitBar name (well, for this precise company; there was another business that opened with the name Bit Bar in MA back in 2016). We covered the first one back in 2015 with the Killeen, TX location, and now they are expanding to Temple. This one does the entry fee/all games on freeplay model, and of course it sells alcohol. The location isn’t open to the public quite yet(they appear to have done some previews), with an opening set for March 2020, but it will have a selection of 30 arcade classics, including the Atari PONG Table, Mortal Kombat I & II, Operation Wolf, Spider-Man, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Simpsons, X-Men and plenty more.
Changing My Name – Game Grid Arcade is now Arcade Galactic
For those that follow my arcade in Utah, then this won’t be news, but for those new to the site, I run an arcade in Utah. I’ve been doing so since the Summer of 2008, where there have been plenty of challenges in keeping things going and finding success. Two major hurdles have reared their ugly head over the past few months – one in a big Dave & Busters style FEC opening up in the same mall where I am located (just on the opposite end, but it’s not a very big mall) and another in a local card shop throwing out a veiled threat that I need to change my name over use of the phrase “Game Grid.” While I’m confident that I could have won the case in court, the company that has zero to do with any of the concepts in TRON knew that they had the money to bankrupt me in the event it went that far, so I’ve taken the cheaper route of changing the name. Currently I’m about to make a payment on the production of the new sign, but I have changed all of my social media and online presence to the new name of Arcade Galactic.
Some have asked why I didn’t do Arcade Heroes – I figure that it would become very confusing to people if I was constantly using the AH social media channels to tout my local arcade, and it wouldn’t be fair to other locations that I talk about on posts like this one.
A little more explanation can be found below; you can visit the arcade’s website here:
Round1USA (Eugene, OR)
Opening today, people in Eugene, OR can find a Round1USA at the Valley River Center. I assume that it will have a standard mix of games that you tend to find at R1USA locations, being heavy on the Japanese imports, along with a variety of brand new video & redemption pieces (and a ton of UFO Catchers).
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games (Katy, TX)
Opening the first week of March is another Andretti’s, although like R1USA, I’m not sure which number this counts as at this point. I also assume that it will be similar to other Andretti locations, with a modern arcade feature the latest in video & redemption pieces…and perhaps one of those really fancy racing simulators (the link is for an example of a “fancy simulator,” although I can’t recall which exact one they had; I’ve visited the location in Orlando a couple of times and they had one, but I don’t know if they are installed in all of their locations). The official site for the location can be found here.
As always, if you find yourself anywhere near these venues, do more than pay lip service to how awesome arcades are – go and visit them, give them some monetary support. To quote an obscure tank game I have at my place: “Keep the momentum up!” [for arcades]