Here’s a kind of post that we haven’t seen in a loooong while, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if there would be another “Location Watch” post for the rest of the year. Fortunately, that assumption is wrong, as there are new locations out there to highlight. It has become a little bit of a challenge as many places have re-opened as opposed to ‘grand opened,’ but I’ve figured it out. It also might seem a little odd to be talking about new venues when so many have permanently closed, but conditions vary from place-to-place.
As always, if you know of an arcade that is opening for the first time, let us know so we can highlight it here.
Tokyo Video Gamers (Akihabara, Japan)
Most of the news coming out of Akihabara lately has been about the closure of the iconic Sega location, but there is a bright spot there too. This particular location in Akihabara has made some news due to one thing different that they are doing – obtaining licenses for their multi-games and for artwork. This tends to come with a single game when you buy a unit, but not when buying one of those 60-in-1 or 3000-in-1 emulators. As it is, they don’t appear to have many game cabinets, but probably plenty of options on the cabs they do have, without it being a legal issue. Licensed art & games come from Arc System Works, City Connection, DotEmu, Sega, SNK and more. Visit their official website here.
The Mineshaft (Oshkosh, WI)
I heard about this back in June, where it was obviously in development prior to the pandemic. They probably would have opened in the Spring, but given the situation, their opening in June was a bit of a surprise. That made them one of the first FECs to open their doors at the time. I heard from their technician that they opened very strong and have stayed that way, so they’ve been pretty fortunate in that regard.
The arcade is big and packed with games, featuring a somewhat typical mix of new titles, although they have a lot more Sega content than I see with many FECs: ATV Slam, Daytona Championship USA, Disney Crossy Road, Halo: Fireteam Raven 2p, Let’s Go Island: Dream Raiders, Mario & Sonic Olympics 2020, Outnumbered, Mario Kart GP DX, Space Invaders Frenzy, SpaceWarp 66, Storm Racer G, Super Bikes 3, Super Monkey Ball: Ticket Blitz, The House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, The Walking Dead, Target Bravo: Operation GHOST, Transformers: Shadows Rising, Treasure Cove, Typhoon 10th Anniversary, World’s Largest Pac-Man and much more with a sizable redemption side. They also don’t have the rustic, Old West mine look to the arcade space that another Mineshaft location has. They also have a location test game we hadn’t heard of before – Puzzled by Benchmark Games. You can do a VR/3D walkthrough of the whole place here; Here is the Facebook page.
Play Arcade (New Bedford, MA)
Arcades in Massachusetts had been in the news a bit lately, due to some unfair regulations that kept casinos open, but less-trafficked arcades shut down. As you might imagine, that put a damper on any brand new place looking to open, which was certainly the case with Play Arcade. They were able to run games for the first two days of operation after they had opened in August, but then were forced to turn the games off. They were able to still serve food & drinks, but that wasn’t exactly the main point of opening either.
Fortunately that all passed after Bit Bar’s lawsuit pushed a change and arcades could open again. Some of the games that you can find if you stop by include: Area 51, Arm Champs 2, Big Buck Safari, Blasteroids, Golden Tee Unplugged, Mortal Kombat, Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga, OutRun (upright), Pac-Man Battle Royale, Rampage World Tour (in a Xenophobe cabinet, lol), Street Fighter II Turbo, Terminator Salvation, Tetris, & more. Visit their main website here.
Powerhouse Pinball Club (Victoria, BC, Canada)
This new spot just opened in Victoria under a members-only model, in part due to the pandemic, but also to adapt to the location where the primary business is a printing company. Since it is in a massive building, they are easily able to put games six feet apart for social distancing requirements that the city has in place. Granted as a private club, I imagine that it would be very easy to wipe the machines down between uses. Current games include AC/DC, Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, Corvette, Demolition Man, Metallica, Popeye, Star Trek TNG, The Getaway, Willy Wonka and more. Find their website here.
Bishop Cidercade (Austin, TX)
With the bar business in general suffering from social restrictions and the like, things have been particularly hard for bar/arcades by what I’ve been hearing. That hasn’t stopped this bar/arcade from forging ahead though. Still, their opening has been delayed between that and other challenges such as zoning restrictions. With those out of the way and securing a nice spot, this marks the 3rd location for the company, with a 4th on the way in Houston.
The game mix is quite varied, with plenty of classics and brand new or newer games rubbing (socially distanced) shoulders on the venue floor. With around 130 games on-hand (with more planned once things return to normal), there are more than I can list here, although for some of those you have well-known titles like BattleZone, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tapper, & Tempest around rare/uncommon games like Alien Syndrome, Last Duel, Roadrunner, Snow Bros. and more. Some of their newer stuff includes Cruis’n Blast, Jurassic Park, Killer Queen, Pac-Man Battle Royale, Sharpshooter and 24 pinball machines, most of which are recent releases. Find their website here.
Pinball Hall Of Fame Continues
There will be a new building for the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, and recently there has been enough progress on the building to show it off. It’s almost hard to believe that it will be ready to go in January 2021, but I’m sure it’ll be a sight to behold and experience when complete. They are promising to have around 700 games available for this launch (well up from the 250 that the current location has), which will be providing a stronger focus on older obscurities from the 50s/60s/70s than they presently have (from the ’70s, much of that will be in terms of pre-CPU video games). Here’s a video of the location:
10 Years For Galloping Ghost
The world’s largest arcade hit another milestone recently, this time in being open for 10 years. Congrats to Doc and crew for the achievement! They have also launched a new GoFundMe to expand their operations even more.
Arcade Galactic #2 (Ogden, UT)
I have teased a little bit about this on my social media, so let me offer up some more details. I have been working to open a second location almost every day this month, and my opening is approaching quickly, although I’m not 100% sure if it will be October 1st or not. One of the most frustrating things about doing something like this is that you have to wait on a lot of others for their work to be done. Sometimes they get the job done quickly, other times there will be things that pop-up that get in the way and in others they forget about you unless you bug them all the time (this is with payment for services too).
As it is as of this moment, my floor is only partially done, my party room still has a ways to go, I still have no quote on my signage. New games will be shipping soon – some hopefully tomorrow or Friday. For some of those titles that I will add to the mix: Daytona Championship USA, House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, Luigi’s Mansion Arcade, and Nirin (4 units). On the other titles I’ll have to pull from my existing stock.
As to why now of all times to start a second location, it is something that has been gnawing at me for a while, coming to a head this summer as we’ve been struggling along with everyone else. The mall where this is located is in a region of Utah that hasn’t been hit very hard by the pandemic (even as we’ve been seeing a big increase in infections lately, but that’s further south in the Provo area), but it’s also a nicer mall with bigger name clients than are found in my presently operating facility. As one example, my next-door neighbor is Victoria’s Secret, which isn’t found at Valley Fair. As I’ve been in the mall, it’s definitely been busier than where my other place is at, so that’s encouraging…and I don’t have a giant FEC sitting down the hall to compete with (I will have a Cinemark arcade stocked with a handful of Raw Thrills titles and redemption pieces to deal with, although they have closed that section indefinitely since they can’t have someone there to manage cleanliness).
The space I’m at was a clothing store, so I have a ton of hangers and shelving fixtures around. I’ve been putting some of the latter to use, where I’ve been able to create some ‘floating’ art with metal Space Invaders and some framed game posters that I have. I have a little less space than my first store, but it’s more than enough for now.
Assuming that I open on October 1st, I’ll have another update for anyone if interested or I can put that into the next Location Watch post. I will also write about it in detail for the next issue of Replay Magazine.
Best of luck to these locations as they join the fray of existing arcade operators out there.