Welcome to Location Watch, a semi-regular post that highlights the grand openings of new arcade locations. I endeavor to report on all that I can discover but sometimes I do overlook a place. If so, please let me know and I’ll include it on the next location watch. If you fid yourself near any one of these places, be sure to go and give them some real support.
Stay tuned to YouTube for a follow-up on this post where I’ll do a livestream walkthrough on what this post talks about. H/T to various readers out there for sending me links (particularly Michael L.) as well as InterGame Online and Replay Magazine. Please note – If you recently opened an arcade location (or will be doing so soon), and I missed it for a Location Watch, please drop me a line so I can correct that!
Starport Arcade & Pub (Morgantown, WV)
The first site for today was recently featured on Indie Arcade Wave, where you can watch a walkthrough here; This also marks another place in West Virginia, a state that I often haven’t brought up on Location Watches, until recently. Starport is a bar/arcade that uses tokens and features two stories of brand new video and pinball games to enjoy. Some of those include: Batman 66; Beatles pinball; Black Emperor; Cruis’n Blast; Halo: Fireteam Raven; House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn; Mario Kart Arcade GP DX; Minecraft Dungeons Arcade; Nitro Trucks; Total Nuclear Annihilation and plenty more. Visit their website here.
Bite Me Cake Company (Pueblo, CO)
At first glace this bakery doesn’t sound at all like a place that should be on a list like this but inside of the Bite Me Cake Company is the new Flip-A-Coin Arcade Bar. This pinball-heavy arcade is only open Thurs-Sat, where due to it being a bar, anyone under the age of 21 are not allowed, excepting 12p-6p on Sundays where minors are allowed with a parent. Their game selection is mainly focused on pinball but has a few video games. The selection includes titles like: Asteroids Deluxe; Centipede; Crystal Castles; Dracula; Jack Bot; Meteor; Stars; The Mandalorian; and plenty more. You can then pick up a cake after you’re done playing 🙂
Scene 75 (Romeoville, IL)
Scene 75 grows their chain by opening their first location in the southwest Chicago area, with a giant 135,000 sq. ft. facility. It has everything you would expect to find in a modern FEC, from food to go-karts, laser tag, mini-golf, inflatables, laser mazes, mini-bowling, batting cages and more – including an indoor roller coaster. The arcade has “150+ games,” which should include a wide selection of the latest in video and redemption pieces, although Scene 75 has been known to splurge on some attraction-grade stuff before. Visit the page for this site, here.
Gibby’s (Sioux Falls, SD)
Lots of arcade goodness has come to The Empire Mall in Sioux Falls thanks to two locations owned by the same operator. Running under the name Gibby’s, they have a set location in the mall plus games setup in a space in the food court. The mall stores page shows both “Gibby’s Arcade” and “Gibby’s Junior,” the latter being the food court location. Both locations feature both video and ticket redemption pieces, with the video games mostly pulling from Raw Thrills (they show Cruis’n Blast, Halo: Fireteam Raven, Jurassic Park, Space Invaders Frenzy, and Super Bikes 3 in the pics for this story). They have a Facebook page but it appears it covers multiple locations/operations that are headquartered out of Sioux City, IA.
Respawn Arcade (Alexander City, AL)
An arcade with a console play area has just opened up in Alabama (a state that doesn’t show up often on Location Watch). That setup isn’t terribly far off of the model I started with, which didn’t use console but did feature a PC LAN. Anyways, Respawn is located in a brick building that looks like it once might have been a saloon, with various recent consoles+TVs and various arcade classics including: DDR Extreme, Hang-On, House of the Dead 2, Millipede, Mortal Kombat I & II, No Fear pin, Pac-Man, Stargate pin, TMNT’89, WWF Wrestlefest, X-Men and plenty more. Games are set to freeplay, where they use a wristband system for entry. Find them on Facebook.
The Grid Arcade Bar (Pensacola, FL)
This TRON-themed arcade bar just opened in Pensacola, with a bit of an edgy twist to them – they’re “kid friendly until 9PM,” but do have tokens with some nudity on them(I imagine someone somewhere has done that in the past, although I’d never seen that before this 😛 ). For the games, they’ve got plenty of classics to enjoy, but they also have a few rarities on hand. Games include: 1942, 720, Aqua Jet, Die Hard Arcade, Dig Dug, Godzilla pin, House of the Dead III, Jaelco Rally Big Run, Motor Raid, Ms. Pac-Man, Q*Bert, TRON (both the Midway video and Stern’s pin), and plenty more. Find them on Facebook.
Reboot Social (Eau Claire, WI)
This eatertainment venue just opened back on Labor Day weekend, bringing both drinks and games to Eau Claire. The games are classics (with just 1 video exception and pinball), such as Area 51, Big Buck HD Wild, Crazy Taxi, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat II & 4, Ms. Pac-Man, NBA Jam, NFL BLitz, Robotron 2084, Street FIghter II Turbo, Super Mario Bros., Tempest, Tetris, and plenty more. Visit their website.
Fun Hub Action Park (Hadley, MA)
This new 33,000 sq. ft FEC just opened inside of a mall, where I imagine they took over the empty space from a defunct retail store. They appear to be a trampoline park that features a number of related attractions which include rope course style play. They also have an arcade that from the photo I see, is focused mostly on redemption; They also have a Hologate Arena. Visit them here.
Tilt Studio (Sioux City, IA)
Here’s a name many of you might recognize – Tilt Studio. There used to be one or two in my area but the last one closed here some years ago – only to have the same spot taken by Dave & Busters later on. This new location for Tilt opened in the Southern Hills Mall where they offer an “arcade, laser tag, parties, and so much more.” The page for the location says they have over 150 games to enjoy, and they show a pic of UNIS’ Derby Champion game that I’ve only seen at IAAPA.
Big Chain Updates
Since they never list out what games are there anyways, links to stories of new openings from the well-known chains – although I suppose it’s hard to say when a chain becomes “big” and when it isn’t. Mainly for CEC, R1, D&Bs:
While most Location Watches this year have been heavy on European openings, things have slowed down there considerably from what I can find. This is likely due to the energy crisis that is currently taking place. But we do have one location to discuss:
Dead Space (Sheffield, UK)
A company looking to revitalize “dead spaces” by turning them into gaming spots has opened their first location in Sheffield. These spots include both arcade machines and consoles, with the Sheffield spot containing the likes of Raw Thrills’ older Fast & Furious, Dancing Stage Euro Mix, The House of the Dead and a couple of basketball machines. It isn’t large but sometimes you have to maximize what’s available. Find them on Instagram.
In case you missed the news, Sega Amusements has purchased Fun Box, thus solidifying their hold on operations in Europe. If these operations continue to do well, I wonder if that might push SAI to attempt to open locations in the US again.
As a reminder in case you missed it, Dave & Busters is franchising out their company in the Middle East and Africa, where the brand will soon open 11 locations across Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.
Also, you might have heard the news that Japan is fully opening up to tourists in a few weeks. Perhaps this will help the arcade side of things there; The only new sites I’ve read about opening lately are wholly focused on on cranes/prizes and not video games but I don’t expect that to last forever.
Mastiizone #9 (Ghaziabad, India)
This new FEC opened a short while ago as amusement options continue to expand in India, this particular location being their 9th. Nine more locations are mentioned as coming soon. This opened in the Shipra Mall and appears to have a kids focused arcade – along with an archery shooting range (something you don’t see too often in FECs). Other non-arcade attractions (per the website) include a zip line, 7D theater, bowling, cricket, trampolines, VR and interestingly enough, a snow park. Visit their main website, here.
Kicks Tenpin & Arcade (Parramatta NSW, Australia)
This bowling-focused FEC opened at the beginning of August and states that they have classics as far back as Space Invaders along with newer games like MotoGP, The Walking Dead, and an XD Dark Ride. It doesn’t mention how big the arcade is and the social media goes to a bowling league so I don’t know more than that; Visit their website here.
Q Prize Zone (???, Philippines)
Seen on LinkedIn, I’m not sure where this is in the Philippines but it is new. Obviously prize-centric as has been the trend in Japan, it does have some video basketball games in the back.
Timezone Continues Expansion
Game Space (???, China)
I have no clue where in China this is or how long it’s been open; It’s rare we hear of any arcade opening there just due to how news doesn’t disseminate from the country. But I saw this on LinkedIn and it looks newish so let’s give it a little bit of a highlight. Lower level is full of prize machines but there’s a 2nd level in the back which might have more than that to play.
Update: There are some video games there, as I found out from another LinkedIn post showing additional pics from the location:
Gamer’s Garage Arcade Coming To Marseilles, IL
That’s all I could find for this outing – if you find yourself anywhere near these locations, be sure to go out and support them by purchasing entry or tokens or cards. Just likes and such don’t keep doors open. Thanks for reading and I’ll do a livestream walkthrough on this next week.