It’s only been a month since our last Arcade Location Watch, but so many locations have opened their doors that I need to split this into at least two parts – possibly a 3rd if there are more later this month. My guess for the explosion is that with the lockdowns finally lifting in many areas, investments that have been parked for a while are coming to fruition. The UK is really gaining traction in this regard, which should be good news for readers there (I know that many over the years have complained about a dearth of arcades in that country over the years, outside of some pockets here and there).
For those who are new here, Location Watch posts highlight brand new arcade businesses that have recently held their grand opening. If you find yourself anywhere near one of these places, be sure to go and support them by playing some games.
Before we start, I wanted to give a big hat/tip to Intergame and Replay Magazine for mentioning most of these places in their coverage.
Wondercade Cincy (Cincinnati, OH)
H/T Michael Louie for this one.
We’ll start with a new retrocade that has just opened its doors to the public in Cincinnati. Wondercade Cincy follows the admission fee model as many retrocades do, offering over 40 titles to play including Asteroids, Berzerk, Centipede, Dig Dug, Fix-It Felix Jr., Gyruss, Killer Queen Arcade, Street Fighter II, The Simpsons TRON, and an X-Men 6p among others. Find them here.
Castlecade #2 (Madison, WI)
All Castle Games informed me about their new fixed location at the West Towne Mall in Madison, dubbed the Castlecade. They’ve got a medieval/castle theme to fit the name and they have around 20-25 titles at the moment, including Alien Covenant (the odd conversion of Aliens Armageddon that Dave & Busters commissioned a few years back), Dead Heat, Deadpool pinball, Dirty Drivin’, Guitar Hero Arcade, H2Overdrive, Injustice Arcade, Mach Storm, Monster Bash pinball, a Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Unlimited (the limited US-release arcade board, not a console), and several merchandisers and other prize machines. Find them on Facebook here.
Hall U Need (Saint-André-Lez-Lille, FR)
We don’t come across stories about arcades opening up in France very often, much less giant FECs, but if any reader finds themselves in or near Lille, then this place will have you covered. They have a variety of attractions(bowling, go-karts, karaoke, ninja course, trampolines, VR, etc) with a big focus on their dining options, but a modern arcade to go along with it. While I can’t find a list of games there, they have around 70 and it’s all an up-to-date mixture of video and redemption. They also have some “American billiards” and pinball machines available, found within the 7,000 sqm facility. Find their main website here.
Brooklyn Games & Arcade (Brooklyn, NY)
I found this one on Twitter by chance, as they held their grand opening this past weekend. This is both an arcade and a video game retail store. They have a couple of Neo Geo MVS cabinets, an Aero City and a Versus City cab, along with several console stations. With that, the main focus of the arcade is on fighters, but on systems where it’s easy to swap titles out if wanted. Find them on Twitter.
810 Billiards & Bowling #4 & #5 (Phoenix & Chandler, AZ)
If you are in Arizona and love, pool, bowling and arcades, then there are a couple of new places for you (although at this exact moment, the Phoenix location has not opened, but it will this week or next). This is a growing FEC franchise that started in South Carolina, and while the two primary attractions get a lot of attention, that means there are arcade floors inside as well. Since their social media and website only focus on the dining/bar & attraction aspects, I’m not sure what games they have on hand, although a brief glimpse of a Cruis’n Blast in one of their videos suggests a modern FEC mix. That website is found here.
Matrix (Hereford, UK)
The next three entries are all from the UK – and there is more from that country that will be discussed in post #2. This one is an FEC, with mini-golf, soft play, axe throwing and laser tag as attractions, and an arcade there to entertain guests while they wait on the other activities. It appears that due to local restrictions that the arcade is limited in equipment right now, with plans to expand that as things open. For the moment their selection is mainly sports, such as air hockey & basketball. I believe that these pieces are from a Polish company known as Kalkomat, but I could be wrong as sometimes the different Polish companies copy each other. Anyways, the Matrix’s website is found here.
The Roxy Ball Room #10? (Nottingham, UK)
I recently heard of this growing FEC chain in the UK, which bills itself as having plenty of “booze & ball games” to enjoy. They just opened their second Nottingham location (I’m not sure which number this makes overall for the company – I think it’s the tenth, but not sure hence the ?) which includes a variety of sports attractions such as bowling, ice curling, bocce, ping pong, billiards, beer pong, shuffleboard and more. “Retro arcade games” are also mentioned, but which ones I have been unable to locate. You can find their main website here, and they are also active on Twitter.
Pixel Bunker (Milton Keynes, UK)
FECs aren’t the only ones opening up in the UK, here’s a bar/arcade that uses the entry fee model – they also appear to be working just on reservations for the moment, likely due to Covid restrictions. They have around 100 games to play, including several rarities. Some of the games: AfterBurner II, Bubble Bobble, Centipede, Dancing Stage Euro Mix 2 (EU version of DDR), Defender, Donkey Kong, Gauntlet, Gorf, Joust, Kangaroo, Mappy, Operation Wolf, Pac-Man, Paperboy, Pengo, a PlayChoice-10, Pole Position, Q*Bert, Robotron 2084, Roadrunner, Return of the Jedi, Space Harrier, Star Wars (Atari), The House of the Dead, Time Crisis II, TMNT (The UK version which replaced ‘Ninja’ with ‘Hero’), Toobin’, TRON, Vanguard, WrestleMania WWF and many more. The best place to check them out, apart from an in-person visit, is on Facebook.
District Social (Beacon, NY)
Our last entry for this round will jump back to the states for something that sounds like an upscale bar/arcade – not exactly an FEC. They have food & drinks, axe throwing and live music in addition to the game floor. Their game mix is all modern, featuring the likes of Cruis’n Blast, Halo: Fireteam Raven SDX, Jurassic Park Arcade, Lane Master, Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, Moto GP, Space Invaders Frenzy, The Walking Dead and more alongside a variety of redemption pieces. Their main website can be found here.
Not much for this “Coming soon” round, but there are a few:
35k sq. ft. FEC Coming To Westbury, NY in 2022
FEC Headed To Skegness, UK In 2022
Chuck E. Cheeses Is Coming To Romania – First for Europe. As this story mentions, they have 670 locations post-bankruptcy, which is a bit down from where they had been, but they’re still several times larger than Dave & Busters, and still one of the biggest arcade chains in the world.
The Four Quarters #3 (London, UK) Opening in August
As mentioned, stay tuned for another location watch post, probably later in the week, to cover even more locations that are opening their doors.
“American billiards” is in fact just what’s pool billiards is called in France. The classical French billiards is the pocketless version called Carom billiards in English.