It’s time to highlight a number of recently opened arcades, with this exciting edition of Location Watch. If you put “location watch” into the search bar, you’ll find a bunch of such posts covering these grand openings over the years, and hopefully, these will get some well-deserved traction. If you find yourself near any of the locations mentioned below, be sure to go and give them your support! Check out the most recent Location Watch post (if you missed it), here.
We’ll start with a few venues in the UK, which continue to see strong growth in arcades over the past year.
Freeplay City – North London, UK
I didn’t realize that this was one was “new-new” when I first saw it, but reader Toby N. corrected me on that. Here’s another new arcade to enjoy within the vicinity of London, but as the name denotes, it uses a free play model for all of the games. Toby has been involved with arcade, meaning that they’ve got a strong selection of import games, including a large number of rhythm games. Some of the overall selection includes: Crazy Taxi, DJ Max Technika 3, Elevator Action Returns, Groove Coaster Arcade, Jubeat, MaiMai Finale, Ongeki R.E.D., Sports Jam, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, Time Crisis 4, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: All-Star Carnival, WACCA Lily, and plenty more. They also have a console gaming area. They are on various social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
Flashback Arcade (Bradford, UK)
Classic & modern gaming is the focus for this venue which opened recently in Brandford, with games spanning the ages such as Space Invaders to the more recent Atari PONG table. Like Freeplay above, they appear to have a sizable venue, which also includes games like Chase H.Q., Chunithm, Dance Rush, Ghost Squad, Killer Instinct 1 & 2, Lost Land Adventure, MaiMai, Pac-Man Battle Royale, Point Blank, Strike Force (obscure sequel to Defender), Sunset Riders, Tekken 7 Fated Retribution Round 2, and also much more. Find them on their official website or Facebook.
Superbowl UK (Barnsley, UK)
A new FEC under the Superbowl UK brand has opened its doors, bringing plenty of new amusement attractions – and an arcade – to this area of the UK. They also have a Sega Prize Zone as a part of it, although I’m not sure if that’s what counts for the entire arcade area or not. Some of the games they have: Daytona Championship USA; Luigi’s Mansion Arcade; Transformers: Shadows Rising; and The Walking Dead, along with an assortment of redemption & billiards pieces. They also have a videmption game that I’ve never seen or heard of before – Hamster’s Ball. I would guess that this is a new piece from Sega Amusements since is right in their backyard, but it could be by someone else. Find the chain’s website, here.
Since we’re talking UK locations, I’ll put this here instead of at the bottom. News just came out that Funstation is coming back to a location in Meadowhall, which had previously been shuttered as the landlords apparently wanted “more catering facilities,” despite the Meadowhall location being one of the chain’s best performing locations. Well, looks like someone came to their senses, and the location will be back next month, touting Hologate VR as a part of their selection. Find the location here (A UK reader will have to fill me in on why when I click on Meadowhall it takes me to a page where it says the location is “Shepherd’s Bush”). On another note, this location was originally called Wonderpark when under Namco UK’s jurisdiction, but ownership changed hands a few times over the years. Either way, this seems like a great site for amusement, so hopefully, it stays that way for the future.
Thriller Social Club (San Francisco, CA)
(Thanks to Joey Mucha for the tip)
Headed back to the other side of the planet, arcades have had a really tough time in California since last year, with the state being in lockdown for a bit longer than most places, and certain restrictions affecting both arcades and bars more so than other types of venues. The Thriller Social Club is looking to help things bounce back, by revitalizing a space that had been operating as an arcade prior to the pandemic. It’s in a fairly large space, with two floors of gaming and three bars. They only seem to be on Instagram at the moment, where there is little info on the games, although this article in the SF Eater mentions “Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter.” Also mentions Skee-Ball a few times, with a very nice setup of that to play in the venue.
Arcademie (Evansville, IN)
Speaking of bar/arcades, this place just opened its doors over in Indiana, with older games like Star Wars (Atari, cockpit), X-Men 6-player, and newer ones such as Killer Queen Arcade. They also have plenty of pins, although I can’t find a list, nor other pics than the one below; You can also check out their website or Facebook page.
This one was mentioned on the last Location Watch, and they opened their doors back on the 22nd. They’ve got games such as Area51/Maximum Force, Galaga, Mario Bros., Ms. Pac-man, Smash TV, and X-Men, with a row of pins bringing Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Stranger Things, and more to the mix. Find them on Facebook here.
Skill Shot Pinball Arcade (Syracuse, NY)
If you live in New York state and have a thing for pinball, then this place is for you. Do note that they only open once a week to the general public; Otherwise, they only do parties & event rentals. Still, they have a great selection of pins, such as Attack From Mars, Batman ’66, Dirty Harry, Elvira’s House of Horrors, Godzilla, Metallica, Monopoly, NBA Fastbreak, Space Station, and plenty more. There are also a few video games around, from some classic uprights like Tetris to a semi-newer game like EA NASCAR. The official website is here, with more to see on Facebook.
3 Decade Arcade (Elizabethtown, KY)
A retro arcade has just opened up in central Kentucky, bringing the likes of Area 51, Galaga, Millipede, Mortal Kombat, Pac-Man, Q*Bert, Vs. Super Mario Bros., and more to the area. They also have a Pac-Man’s Pixel Bash, which is a great option for a commercial multicade solution. If you’re into pinball, then they have a nice collection of pinball machines to enjoy, such as Back To The Future, F-14 Tomcat, Godzilla, Hot Wheels, TMNT (Stern), and a few others to play. Check them out at their website or Facebook.
Everyone loves it when you talk about venues in Japan, even if 99% of the readers don’t live in Japan, but there has been some good news coming out of the country lately, as some venues have been opening up instead of just closing down. That said, it’s still a difficult situation over there and will probably take a while for them to dig out of it, but that said, the death of the Japanese arcade scene has been greatly exaggerated.
Sega Ikebukuro Sunshine Street – This one has received the most attention online since it was opened right across the street from the recently closed and world-famous Sega location there. The odd or the sad thing is though, the floor with video games only has one game available, although it’s a lot of them – Bandai Namco’s Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. 2. That is one of the most popular games on the scene, so it makes sense to have a lot of them on hand, but the only video game? Ok then.
Game Panic (Shinjuku) – This one takes up two floors, but I’m not sure what the game selection is there. Looks like this will open next month
Namco Arcade (Nagoya) – This is an interesting one, with what is perhaps the first appearance of Pac-Man’s Pixel Bash in Japan. They also have the likes of the Atari PONG Table, Pac-Man Panic, Pac-Man Battle Royale, World’s Largest Pac-Man, and a new AR ping pong table concept called Pong! Pong!
More locations to discuss, but not many details on game selection to write about, so they get a highlight here.
Funland Opens In London – Looks like they’re going to put a strong focus on pinball tournaments
Gamestate (Oberhausen, Germany) – Germany is a rare place to hear about arcade openings, this one will have 45 machines, but I can’t figure out what (newer mix, of course)
Timezone (Sydney, Australia) – 140 arcade machines, bowling, laser tag, and more.
The 3rd Spot – I had thought that this opened already, but apparently not, so we’ll keep it on the back burner for next time.
Theme Park to open on an oil rig – Dunno if there will be an arcade there, but just sounds like a crazy (and interesting) project
That’s all for this time! If you have opened your arcade recently and it hasn’t been highlighted on the blog (please check past Location Watch posts, just in case), then please let me know so I can feature it next time!