Welcome to Location Watch, a series of posts on the blog where we highlight new arcade businesses that have opened their doors all over the world. I do try to do these once a month but lately it has been a little slow in this regard. That said, we have some new spots to check out – if you find yourself near any of them and like what they’re doing, be sure to do more than just “smash the like button” on their social media but go out and support them with your dollars.
Back To The Arcade (Allentown, PA)
In the previous Location Watch, I mentioned a new place that opened in Allentown but this one is different, which means that Allentown is becoming a solid place for some arcade fun. This one comes with an 80s theme of a sort, although they are not restricting their games solely to stuff released in that radical decade – as you’ll see in the video below, they do have those 80s classics like Congo Bongo, Tapper and such, but they also have 90s titles like Mortal Kombat and House of the Dead and even more recent releases like Let’s Go Jungle, FnF Super Cars, the 2008 Sea Wolf and brand new pinball machines. Visit their main website, here.
Castlecade West Towne (Madison, WI)
Our friends All Castle Games in Wisconsin continue to expand their operations, and more on the way. This one is in the West Towne Mall, with another in the works for the Brookfield Square Mall in Brookfield, WI. They do something similar to what I do, in that there’s no entry fee and they’re in malls; They are starting to switch over to card systems from tokens and have a mix of video games, pinball, redemption, and merchandiser machines. While sometimes they pick up some machines that are a few years old, they also tend to grab brand new stuff; This location has opened with Toy Story 4 pinball as one example. They also have games like Dead Heat, H2Overdrive, Injustice Arcade, Super Alpine Racer, and I think they have an exA-Arcadia there too. Visit their website, here.
Expressway Food & Fun (Sophia, WV)
West Virginia isn’t a state that pops up on the Location Watch radar too often but thanks to a local wanting to give the community a more affordable option to have fun, we have this new location to discuss. Operating in a 4,000 sq. ft. space, food & parties is a big focus of the space with arcade games to entertain guests when they aren’t eating. From the photos it appears that they have a little space to add more games but they already have the likes of Big Buck Hunter, The Fast & The Furious, FnF Super Bikes, Jetpack Joyride, Nicktoons Racing, Road Burners, SF Rush The Rock, a couple of older pins that I am not familiar with, and more. They don’t appear to have a website nor a social media page yet, so you can find out more about them here via this news article.
Cinergy Entertainment (Wheeling, IL)
A new movie theater/dine-in/arcade experience has opened in Illinois, expanding the roster of their locations to nine. Most are in Texas, with this one marking the first venue in Illinois. It’s not stated how big the arcade is nor what games are on hand although judging by the pictures on their website, it looks like they feature sizable spaces stocked with all of the latest games in both video and redemption. Interestingly enough, their front page currently shows Raw Thrills’ never-released Mario Party Challenge World as a part of the mix at one of their locations (H/t to Jbean on Twitter for pointing out that it is likely from their Tulsa, OK location) although that certainly wouldn’t be this new place. Still, this gives you an idea of what their arcade spaces look like:
Bowl-A-Rama (Panama City, FL)
This is a reopening although it’s slightly unusual – way back in 2018, this center was destroyed by Hurricane Michael and only now, under new ownership, is it back open. While their main focus is on bowling, they do have a small game room on hand, as seen below. Their main website is here.
Underdogs Cantina (San Francisco, CA)
Here’s a sports bar & grill focused on Ma\exican food that also features an arcade, although from what little I can find about that space, it’s not huge. In addition to a couple of cranes and an IceBall alley bowler, they have video games including Big Buck Safari, H2Overdrive, and Terminator Salvation and at least one pinball machine with NASCAR. Visit them online, here.
Dave & Busters/Main Event Updates
While this one isn’t about a specific location persay, it does appear that some Dave & Busters venues will be changing their names to Main Event here soon. That’s an interesting choice as I would have expected all Main Events to be converted over to D&Bs and not the other way around.
Pathé Games (Lieusaint & Marseille, France)
We don’t hear about new arcades opening up in France very often and with this one it marks the beginning of a new concept that I believe is being added to a number of existing cinemas there. According to their main website, they have sites all over Europe and even in Africa with Tunisia; It seems the Games side is to attach some arcade entertainment to the theaters (a common practice here in the States but I admit I don’t know how common the combination is in other parts of the world. I don’t remember finding arcades attached to the movie theater I visited in Brazil but it’s been almost 20 years.)
The first arcade site opened at the end of May in Lieusant and a second one in Marseille with “6 more locations” set to open up by the end of the year. Their setup uses tokens and no entry fee, featuring games that fit into 3 categories: Family, Gamers and Vintage. Per this page in French reporting the openings, they mention a number of games but even using the deepl translator, the article isn’t clear on whether these games are featured at both locations or just one (it’s highly unusual for venues to always feature the exact same game mix, although it wouldn’t be impossible, at least on in-production games). Some games mentioned: Halo: Fireteam Raven; Mario Kart Arcade GP DX; Minecraft Dungeons Arcade; Overtake DX; Speed Driver 5; Super Bikes 3 and more.
Babylon Park Camden (London, UK)
This Israel-based chain we’ve mentioned before continues their expansion into Europe, opening their first of many planned venues in the UK. The space spans 35k sq. ft. with a number of attractions on site, with it really pushing the indoor theme park concept with a number of rides to enjoy, including a full indoor roller coaster. The arcade games are spread all throughout the facility; Watching this video below they don’t appear to bunch them up by type, you can find a Jurassic Park next to a Milk Jug Toss and a Super Bikes 3 quad set & Nitro Trucks pair next to a SpongeBob Soccer Stars. It’s a very impressive setup, check it out:
The Game Box (Arnhem, The Netherlands)
I’ve mentioned the parent company for this one before, which I believe is called Gamestate (if I’m wrong about that, lmk), with The Game Box being more family oriented then adult – if I’m understanding their setup correctly. This marks the 7th Game Box store in the chain, with this location offering more than 50 games to play including Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, SpaceWarp 66, Step ManiaX and more – which also includes a few pinball machines. The page for this precise location can be found here.
Timezone Opens Two – Timezone’s growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down as they’ve opened two new locations (note that this article is a little older and talks about them opening soon but as of this post’s publishing, they are operational), one at the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in Brisbane and the other in Parramatta (South Wales Australia). This brings the total number of TZs in Australia to 53, per the article; Here’s the Parramatta location:
Sparky’s Bowling (Jizan, Saudi Arabia)
I had not heard of this chain before but they appear to be a somewhat large chain of bowling centers in Saudi Arabia and they are growing with a new one opening in Jizan(which is a port city on the Red Sea, close to Yemen). They also have one over in Sudan, with more locations opening later this year. I couldn’t find any info on what kind of arcade setup they have although I would assume that it’s a modern mix. I’ve been hearing from different manufacturers lately that the Middle East market has really been heating up
And there we have it for now, wrapping up July. If you have a location that just opened, or opening soon, please let me know where it’s at, what it’s called and anything about the games you don’t mind sharing.