It’s been a spell since we last spoke about brand new arcade businesses opening their doors, the most recent post about the subject coming along in February. I was searching for venues in March and April, but news in this regard was tepid up until this month, where it suddenly blew up.
Why the slow down? Such investments can come in ebbs and flows, FECs in particular will take millions to build but it takes time for all of that to come together. Small, indie arcade businesses tend to be quicker to start but again, it still takes time. I haven’t attempted to take a loan out on anything after all the recent bank meltdowns though, so I don’t know how that is going, but I imagine it’s not as easy to get capital now compared to a year ago. There has also been enormous cost pressures which have mainly affected existing arcades- we’ve recently discussed skyrocketing electrical costs in Europe and parts of Asia as being a huge burden – but I also would guess that some might be pausing their plans to open a new space when they take all of that into consideration. Top that off with rising gas costs in the US, and it’s just not the prime time to get started right now, for most people.
I’m also saddened to report that I’ve read about about 5 or 6 closures out there while researching today’s post. RIP to those arcades – hopefully the numbers on that stay low.
That all said, openings and closings happen all the time, it’s the nature of the market. Sure, it’s irritating that many within the realm of gaming just want to focus on the closings, and take that as evidence to support their belief that arcades have gone the way of Blockbuster Video, but as this post will show (as all Location Watches do), the arcade is here to stay. Historically, when there are recessions and downturns, they become a great place for people to escape to from the daily grind of life. If an arcade does close, there are always a number of factors that can go into that, from landlord disputes to natural disasters, to bad management and so on. A closure doesn’t mean that the entire concept of an arcade is no longer a viable business model.
As always, big thanks to everyone on the Arcade Heroes Discord server who has shared news, and also news sources like Replay Magazine and InterGame Magazine. I’ve done my due diligence to make sure that I mention every single new venue that’s opened up since the last LW, but chances are that I’ve missed one
The Arcade (Wichita, KS)
This is a relocation and re-opening of a place which had been around for a while and they’ve finally completed that move and are open for business. Customers can expect to find adult beverages available here, along with brand new video arcade machines like Mario Kart Arcade GP DX and and Pac-Man Battle Royale, while sporting a large (100+) collection of classic games from the 80s and 90s. They also have quite the selection of pinball machines, each with a screen above it with a feed showing the playfield. The walkthrough video below shows the place in all of its new glory; You can visit their website, here.
Pinball Long Island (Patchogue, NY)
I’m not sure what the hottest spot for pinball on Long Island would be, but looking at what Pinball Long Island is offering, this will likely take the crown. Over 100 pinball machines are found under one roof, and they are using the free play/admission model instead of charging per game. From this photo it appears that most of the games are newer, although when you come across collections this large, it tends to have some classics around too. Visit their main website, here.
Level One Bar+Arcade (Cincinnati, OH)
Here’s location #2 for this growing bar/arcade company, bringing over 50 classic arcade games to Cincinnati after doing so in Columbus. The game selection is very 80s focused where you’ll find a lot of games that you know and love, plus some uncommon additions like Black Widow and Magic Sword. They also have a Crazy Taxi, which appears to be the newest one on the list.
Extraordinaire Arcade (San Bernadino, CA)
This one appears to have opened last year but I didn’t hear about it until now, so we’re playing catch-up. Only open for most of the week (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays), they offer over 50 arcades games, both old and newer, on a free play/admission model. The newest games I’ve seen from their photos are Time Crisis 5 and Aliens Armageddon, while most of the selection comes from the 80s (they do have some rarities in that mix, such as a Congo Bongo by Sega). Visit their website, here
Island Arcade (Padre Island, TX)
This one might have opened a while back but it seems that they recently have grabbed a whole slew of games. They focus entirely on new, with some redemption games in the mix but with many new video titles such as Asphalt 9 Legends AC, Fast & Furious Arcade, Mario Kart Arcade GPDX, Step ManiaX, World’s Largest Pac-Man and more. Find them on Facebook.
Flip OFF Arcade (Puyallup, WA)
Here’s a new spot offering “20 pinball machines and over 30 arcade machines,” a lot of the games being older but a few newish ones to be found, like Aliens Extermination and Time Crisis 4. If you’re into pinball and retro though, it looks to be your place to jam, assuming that you are a local. They use the free play/admission model on the video games but charge for the pinball machines (as I’ve heard other free play places do when it comes to their pins, although Pinball Long Island above is bucking that trend). Visit them on Facebook.
National Laser Tag and Games (McAllen, TX)
In my experience, laser tag and arcades go hand-in-hand, although it’s been rare that I recall reporting on a new laser tag focused location. This one that just opened in Texas, and they are leaning a little harder into additional amusements than I’ve seen with my local Laser Quest (which is the only standalone Laser tag place I’m aware of in Utah these days). Part of that includes an arcade with some brand new games like Fast & Furious Arcade, Jurassic Park Arcade, and Ultra MotoVR; They also have some VR available and they are the first place I’ve seen to offer Flash Pads, a product I came across at IAAPA 2022. Check them out here.
Axecadia (Lapeer, MI)
Many axe throwing venues might eschew the thought of an arcade, but not Axecadia, which boasts several retro games on site, along with some newish pieces like Mario Kart Arcade GP. They also have pinball machines both old and brand new, totalling over 30 games to enjoy. Visit them virtually on Facebook.
Apple Creek Arcade (Rockey View, AB, Canada)
I was tempted to put this one into the FEC section below, but it appears to be a standalone arcade that’s a part of a golf course, as opposed to a full blown FEC. They feature two floors worth of new arcade games, some redemption, some video, all of them brand new. The list on their website does misname a few (I’m sure that “ATV” means Sega’s ATV Slam, “Pong 2” being the Atari Pong Table by UNIS, etc), but overall, it’s an arcade with 60~ games available.
FEC Openings & News
The amount of FEC news is quite large compared to the usual here, although most of these links come from news that hit in just the past few weeks (both March & April were extremely slow for location news). I keep these separated now as there often isn’t much else to say since they rarely list out what games they have on hand.
Elev8 Fun Opening Within The Week In Tampa, FL – This is so close to opening (they’re saying June), I figure I might as well put it here instead of Coming Soon. This large FEC should have just as sizable arcade as their Sanford location does; Do note that the arcade is being handled by an AH advertiser, PrimeTime Amusements. Most of the stuff is brand new but there is a classic arcade area as well as some games that wouldn’t be new-new but only a few years old. The company also announced new cinema and luxury hotel projects in an email newsletter(can’t find a direct link to that though), so they are really covering their bases as far as a “diverse portfolio” goes. Here’s a drone fly-through of their Sanford facility; They had a Tampa update posted back in August of last year but that was still somewhat early.
Main Event Expands Into Lexington, KY and Little Rock, AR – You might recall that Main Event and Dave & Busters are the same company now, but it seems that they are trying to keep a balance of locations opening between the two. There is also a new D&B open in Queen Creek, AZ and one opening soon in Des Moine, IA.
New Chuck E. Cheeses Opens In Union, NJ / Also Opens A Venue In Brooklyn, NY – Speaking of CEC, I’m not sure if this is a new location or not, but the southern-most Chuck E. Cheeses in the world might also be the southern most arcade in the world. That’s a feather in their cap, for sure!
Peter Piper Pizza Returns To El Paso, TX– The first PPP opened in El Paso back in 1982; I forgot how big of a chain they are. While not as large as CEC, they are owned by CEC and have about the same number of locations out there are Dave & Busters.
Cineplex Junxion Erin Mills Opens In Mississauga, ON With The XSCAPE Arcade – No mention on exactly how big the arcade itself is and what games are there, but I’m sure it’s a video & redemption mix with all-new stuff.
$10 million Game On Social Hub Opens In Kenner, LA – This is being run by the same owner and team who had operated a popular laser tag facility in the area. The arcade looks modern, with a couple of older pieces like Guitar Hero Arcade around.
Press Play 989 Opens In Kochville, MI – Quite heavy on the redemption from the looks of it, but there are some video games around.
Scene 75’s 5 Locations Purchased – Scene75 has long been one to jump into interesting medium scale attractions, like the Valkyrie simulator and some others that you wouldn’t find elsewhere on a common basis. They’ve also been recognized as the #1 FECs multiple times. It doesn’t sound like they were in trouble but the real details as to why won’t ever be published I would think.
Tiger Zone Opens With Brand New Arcade In Jerome, ID – Their website is still a work-in-progress but the news article says it opened last month, with it being a fully renovated bowling alley+arcade under new management.
OutTakes Arcade Added To A B&B Theaters Location In Creve Coeur, MO – Mostly redemption, from the thumbnail
Splitsville Entertainment Opens Facility In Richmond Hill (Tornoto, ON) – 8,000 of the 50,000 total square footage is dedicated to an arcade.
Tilted 10 Now Partially Open in Willow Grove, PA – This makes #13 for this growing FEC chain, with locations between PA and IL, at least. The location does have some titles that should interest some gamers though, such as an OutRun 2 SP SDX (more pics of games on Twitter):
Ryan’s Opens Location #10 In Hanover, MA – Also a growing chain for the NorthEast.
High 5 Brings 2 Locations To Austin, TX – I believe this has been around for a time and might have just opened the second location.
Bounce Bounce In Cypress, TX Gets An Arcade – Most trampoline parks seem to have at least a few games around
Launch Trampoline Park Opens In Leominster, MA – Yep, includes an arcade too
Gamerz Lodge Opening In Fort Scott, KS On June 1st – Close enough to not put into “coming soon” 😉
Level Up Arcade Bar (Limerick, Ireland)
At the beginning of this year, this arcade bar announced that they would be closing but it wasn’t long afterwards that their circumstances changed and back in March, Level Up opened a 2.0 version of the business and from their Twitter feed it appears they’ve been enjoying great success. They have a mix of new and retro titles(40+ total), some of the latter being found in their Namco Noir cabinets; They also have several pinball machines but despite operating a modern arcade, have resisted the temptation of redemption games (that always gets a kudos from me 😀 ). Find their website, here.
Retro Nerds Munsterland (Vreden, Germany)
Historically, Germany has made it difficult, if not impossible, to operate arcades in the country, so it is rare that we get to mention them, although it seems like the rules/regulations/laws/taxes regarding them have relaxed a little in recent times. I believe that these guys have been doing events/pop-up arcades but now have a venue that they call their own, although it might also be limited as to what days/hours they are open. They have a big mix of classics to be found, even some old school electromechanical games and pinball machines from various eras; They also have a strong selection of Sega pieces, including several linked units for Sega Touring Car. Find their website (In German), here.
No Name Bar & Games (Colchester, UK)
This new bar/arcade in the UK does not appear to have any video arcade games nor pinball, but they do have some other arcade staples to enjoy such as skeeball, shuffleboard& billiards. They also have Sega’s new augmented reality darts system…maybe they’ll grab a Sega game or two at one point. Find them here.
Barcadia (Norwich, UK)
If you hadn’t noticed by now, bar/arcades are the theme of the day for Europe postings, while FECs continue to dominate in the US. This particular venue is focused on retro games from the 80s & 90s, including Dig Dug, R-Type and Daytona USA. One of the partners in the business is a YouTuber known as The Nostalgia Nerd, where he focuses on all sorts of retro game subjects, including technology. For Barcadia itself, you can visit the website here but it’s still a little barren; This news article offers up more details.
NQ64 (Shoreditch district, London, UK)
I’ve been mentioning the chain NQ64 a bit since last year, as they have been enjoying some explosive growth to operating now 10 locations. The 10th comes to Shoreditch (East London), bringing NQ64’sdistinctive neon flare and retro arcade gaming vibe to that area of the city. Note that at the moment the location is not listed on their website but I’ve been told from some people in the know that they’ve done a soft opening with testers, with a full opening taking place this week. They are also developing a location in Bristol.
Base Arcade (Belfast, Ireland)
This venue operating out of Ireland is currently operating on a “pop-up event” business model, opening a site with games for a few days or specific events. Their next announced event is in July, you can follow them on Twitter for announcements/details. One of the games they have is a coveted Atari Star Wars cockpit cab…
Leveltap Opens In Liverpool, UK – They have a single multi-game arcade cabinet, otherwise it’s more of a LAN center/gamer lounge with a bar than an arcade-arcade.
Namco Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan)
When people talk about Japanese arcades, they often seem to forget that Namco is one of those companies who operates locations there, although I have a feeling that with this new flagship that they just opened, Namco might pop up more frequently in those discussions. The venue fuses amusement, food, events, shopping and music into one, making for what I would call an FEC. Arcade games are certainly apart of that equation, although I’m not sure what the full games list entails for non-crane stuff(they do have Taiko No Tatsujin and Mario Kart Arcade GP DX). They have also repurposed some of Bandai Namco’s VR Zone equipment there. Here’s a story about them from Famitsu and one from 4Gamer, the latter having many more photos to enjoy.
GiGo in an airport (Kumamoto, Japan) – PRTimes has a story on Genda’s new airport location, although it’s mostly cranes. They do have an old Landing High Japan by Taito there though, and a Taiko No Tatsujin, so it’s not a complete wash.
Speaking of Genda GiGO, they’ve been busy working on other locations, particularly a revamp of the old Sega Akihabara Building No. 2 that opened last month, and a few other locations, touting that 4 sites will open this year. These have a strong focus on cranes that I get thatthey aren’t the same as the Sega locations that they are replacing but the kernel of it all is that if players would put more money into video games than they would the claw games, then you’d see the game mix reflect that. The same concept goes for the States – if you want more video games in arcades, play them more. But since redemption rakes in most of the earnings, that’s what operators tend to do, unless they’re a crazy zealot like myself.
Round 1 Stadium Tokorozawa store – (Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan) – A new Round 1 facility has opened in Saitama, bringing R1’s brand of fun to the area. This means a lot of cranes since that’s what’s hot right now in Japan, but there are many video games to be found as well. Another tweet has more info.
New Masti Zone Locations (India)
Earlier in the year I mentioned an FEC chain by the name of Masti Zone (also written as Mastiii Zone), but that’s been working to become a dominant force of India’s amusement landscape, and to that goal they’ve opened at least three new venues in the country since the last Location Watch: one at the East Delhi Mall, one at Chennai, and one in Ludhiana.
Two more TimeZones For India; Another For Singapore And The Philippines
The story reporting this is rather confusing in the way it is written but in talking with someone who knows TimeZone, what it should have said is that two new TimeZone facilities have opened their doors in India, joining the 60+ existing TimeZones that are already in the country. I’m also not sure if one of these might be the “largest TimeZone [facility] yet” that InterGame reported on opening in New Delhi. Also, Intergame reports a new TZ for Singapore, which is claiming to be “the biggest arcade in South East Asia,” while they just opened another in the Philippines, that being the largest TZ in that country so far.
Archie Brothers (Melbourne, Australia)
As a part of a $70 million investment into the Chadstone shopping centre, Australia’s biggest shopping mall now boasts more entertainment options, which includes the Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq arcade. We’ve mentioned them before and they’ve been growing since then, bringing their circus-themed arcade to this renovated mall. I’m not sure how large the arcade is for this new spot however, nor what the mix of video vs. redemption happens to be.
Finally for this section, here’s a “famous local supermarket” in China that recently added a huge crane gaming space…looks like it’s all cranes though so not what most of us would call a real arcade.
Neon Dreams Arcade Coming T0 Tampa – Projected opening for this classic arcade is July/August