Welcome to Location Watch, a series of posts that tracks the opening of new arcade businesses across the planet. These have been rather infrequent since the pandemic hit, taking out many arcades and other small businesses with it, but it’s a resilient industry and it’s important to keep highlighting these efforts.
As it is, this is one of the largest Location Watch posts I’ve ever done, so apologies that I couldn’t fit everyone’s name in the headline.
The UK Re-Opens
After months of lockdowns, the UK has lifted enough restrictions to allow businesses such as arcades to re-open their doors. I’m not sure who is left after all this, but hopefully, they’ll be able to thrive after the initial bump happens (with every stir crazy, it should be extremely busy for a lot of places at first, then it will taper off – at least from what I’ve seen in my region). Looking at the headlines around the web, it looks like most of Europe is set to re-open in the coming weeks, although in some places like Italy, it isn’t good news. We’ll see what happens, but until then, let’s take a look at the many new businesses opening their doors, or who have opened recently:
Chief Coffee (Chiswick, London, UK)
The UK Re-Opening also includes a grand opening of a Japanese arcade that is found at the existing Chief Coffee in Chiswick. Focused solely on Japanese arcade games (a separate room has a pinball lounge), this room will feature one of the recent Bishi Bashi games, Groove Coaster Arcade, Initial D Zero, MaiMai Finale, Nostalgia Op. 2, a recent Taiko No Tatsujin, Scotto and Synchronica. Site reader and contributor Toby Nakhorn will also be holding some tournaments there on Initial D at some point – I also imagine there will be plenty of official tournaments held on the other games too.
Pinball Hall Of Fame (Las Vegas, NV)
While this isn’t a brand new business, the world-famous Pinball Hall of Fame has finally moved their operations to a big new facility near the McCarran International airport, and they made sure to find a way so that everyone arriving in Vegas knows what they are. The new place is 25,000 sq. ft. in size, allowing them to expand how much pinball is available, way up from the already impressive collection they had at the previous locale. I hope to find enough time to drop by and visit them when I am at Amusement Expo, but that will depend on how things go.
Lucky Snake Arcade & Sports Bar (Atlantic City, NJ)
It seems building giant facilities is the name of the game as we also see with this new arcade on the other side of the country. Lucky Snake Arcade, which is a part of the Showboat Hotel, just opened with 100k sq. ft. of space. Not all of that is dedicated to arcade games of course, with other attractions like “the world’s largest crane game” helping take up space, but they do have a wide variety of games available, from classics like A.P.B., BattleZone, Centipede, Joust, Mario Bros., Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, and Atari’s Star Wars, to plenty of modern pieces including Dead Heat, Halo: Fireteam Raven SDX, House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, Initial D3, Luigi’s Mansion Arcade, Nerf Arcade, Space Invaders Frenzy, Super Bikes 2, World’s Largest Pac-man and much more totaling “hundreds of other games.” Find their official website here.
High Score Pinball Arcade (Bay Shore, NY)
Bringing some more pinball action to New York state is this location that opened a couple of weeks ago. Their primary focus is pinball, starting with 42 machines and a few video pieces. For some of the pins, they’ve got Deadpool, Evel Knievel, F-14 Tomcat, Jurassic Park (Data East), Last Action Hero, Monopoly, Revenge From Mars, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Beatles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and plenty more. Find them on Facebook here.
The Blue Shell (Coeur D’Alene, ID)
We don’t hear about Idaho very often on here, but they can bust out the new locations once in a while. Such is the case with this new venue that is named after the infamous item in Mario Kart that everyone love/hates. They are an arcade/bar and focus on older games, although I can’t find a list and the one photo of a few games is at such an angle that I can only ID 4 of them(Gauntlet Legends, Ms. Pac-Man, a Neo Geo MVS & TMNT ’89). Find their official website here.
Kung Fu Saloon (Various)
This one opened up a while back, but somehow I missed it, and the other KFS openings in my Location Watch posts (I try, so we’ll file this under “Better late than never”). It came to my attention via Replay highlighting the Nashville location, which recently added a “Beetlejuice-themed interactive speakeasy” to the venue. From the looks of it, these locations focus more on having classics around than newer stuff, although you can still find Mario Kart Arcade GP or the latest version of Golden Tee around. Check out their website here.
Supercade (Brussels, Belgium)
Xavier of Arcade Belgium shared the news on this odd location that decided to build their own game cabinets for everything in the space. The colorful, but mostly artless cabinets feature a number of titles, although I’m not sure if they’re running original boards, 60-in-1 type deals, or MAME systems. They also have some console games available to play. You can find them on Facebook here; With colors like this, they should’ve called themselves RGBcade (although that’s probably a bit too esoteric)
Fabyland (Dubai, UAE)
This is an indoor theme park that just opened up at the Dubai Festival City/Rahmaniya Mall, and as any theme park will be, it’s enormous. There isn’t a full games list available for the arcade section, but by checking a few photos, they’ve got a variety of recent titles including ATV Slam, Dark Escape 4D, Daytona Championship USA, House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, Jurassic Park Arcade, TMNT 2018, Super Bikes 3 and more including a sizable redemption and crane section. They mention on their social media that this is the first of several potential locations, however scrolling down it appears they also have/had an existing location in Oman, and their website only mentions this new one. Either way, it sounds like they’ll be expanding across the Middle East before too long.
Atomic City Family Fun Center (Paducah, KY)
This FEC recently opened their doors, theming themselves around the history of the city as a place that used to be home to a uranium enrichment plant. While the location mainly boasts large and mid-scale attractions like go-karts & laser tag, it does have an arcade. Apart from redemption, they have a couple of linked Batmans (2012), Daytona Championship USA, Duo Drive, Ice Man, Jurassic Park Arcade, Nerf Arcade, TMNT (2018), and more. Find their main website here.
Happy Valley Arcade Bar (Beacon, NY)
Here’s one that also evaded my radar last year when they opened up in August – that said, they had to shut the games off and keep them off until this March. They are fully operational now, so for those looking to play you can enjoy games like Centipede, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Galaxian, Gauntlet Legends, NBA Jam, Pac-Man, Soul Calibur, Tekken 3, and more. They also have a new indie arcade game that I had not heard of before called KungFu Kickball. They are boasting the 2nd produced cabinet for it – I imagine that the Kung Fu Saloon would like to get their hands on that one for their locations 😉 Find their official website here.
Asgard Underworld (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
Formerly just an axe-throwing venue, the Asgard Underworld Arcade was recently added to Asgard Axe Throwing, I imagine as a way to help them boost income through waiting customers (as I always say, anywhere you have people waiting for something, you can have an arcade). They’ve set this up as an unlimited play arcade/bar, with games like Big Buck Reloaded (they have two units), Donkey Kong, FnF Supercars, Guitar Hero Arcade, Mario Bros., Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, Virtua Fighter 2 and more. Check them out here.
Gamecity (Landal GreenParks, Netherlands)
I’m not 100% sure exactly where this new place is located, as “Landal GreenParks” appears to be a resort & parks developer with many locations that vary per their attractions. It is in the Netherlands at least, so I assume that this is a new arcade game room that opened at a newer Landal GP resort in that country. It does not appear to be the same as this Gamecity that features a GoKart track, but I could be wrong. For those who can’t see the LinkedIn video, it shows drone footage of a new game room that includes several redemption pieces, some arcade basketball & air hockey, a Fast & Furious Superbikes (the first one), and some pinball machines including Ghostbusters (I can’t tell what the other three machines are, as it moves too fast).
I can’t find enough info to list out all the games on these ones, but they are still worth mentioning:
The Blue Ghost Arcade (Woodstock, GA) – Looks like they had planned on being open by now, but something has caused a delay in that regard
Asgard Underground – Was just axe throwing, but they’ve added a retro arcade to the place to help bring in more income
Playdium (Dartmouth Crossing, Canada) – This one opened not long ago, but local government regulations have them closed at the present time.
Magic Planet (Dubai)– Being called a “Hybrid Cinema/FEC,” although such a thing in itself isn’t exactly new, I wouldn’t be surprised to see theaters expand their entertainment options post-pandemic.
Round1USA (Vancouver, WA) – Yes that’s in Washington state north of Portland, not the better-known Vancouver Canada.
Dave & Busters (Fairfield, CA) – This will mark their 17th location in the state
Andretti Indoor Karting (Buford, GA) – I’m also not sure how many locations this makes for Andretti’s, but expansion continues
Gizmo’s Arcade & Eatery (Astoria, OR) – Opening in June
Insert Coin Arcade Bar (Centralia, WA) – Also opening in June
Pinstripes Opening Near Disney Springs – First opening in Orlando, then will expand into other parts of Florida
Flashback Arcade (Bradford, UK)– If approved
Whew, that’s all I could find, but it seems that the post-COVID bump is affecting small business openings as much as it is affecting certain consumer behaviors. If you find yourself near any of these locations then do more than say it’s cool, be sure to support them with your wallet if you have the means.
Also if you know of any locations that will be opening their doors out there soon, or they did recently and I missed them, let me know!