Location Watch March 2024: New Arcades Open Up All Around The World

arcadehero March 30, 2024 0

Welcome to Location Watch, our regular series of posts covering recently-launched venues across the world. What new arcade businesses have opened up lately? That question is what these reports are all about. For many years now here at AH, we’ve strived to report on all of the recent grand openings for out-of-home entertainment establishments such as arcades, bar/arcades, retrocades, Family Entertainment Centers (FECs), route arcades and so on.

This particular edition of LW has been in the works for a little while, as it was supposed to come out sometime before Amusement Expo. But news seemed slightly sluggish and the usual boring sidetracks happened. Nevermind – it’s here now, and we have plenty of fresh amusement facilities to talk about.

The last Location Watch from January can be found here; thanks as always to everyone who has reached out to us with news of some of these arcades, including Nsm, Project, S1ckH4nds and Ted on the AH Discord, Michael L. on Facebook, plus the regular updates from the likes of RePlay and InterGame. Once again, if you know of any new openings that you’d like us to cover, please drop the site a line and we’ll try to update this post or feature them in the next one.

And of course, if any of these locations are near you, then do more than just follow them on social media – go out and give them a chance to earn your business!

North America

Perhaps it’s a reflection of it being a safer business model these days, but there’s a lot of admission-based freeplay joints here.

The Dugout Arcade (Baltimore, MD)

First up, a new freeplay location added on to the pre-existing Peabody Heights Brewery bar in Baltimore at the start of March. The Dugout Arcade‘s cabinets come courtesy of Save Point, who of course already have a physical location of their own over in Union Bridge alongside all of their ongoing convention arcade efforts. As a result it stretches across all eras, with a big focus on current rhythm games but also many classics. The full games list can be found at their Instagram and Facebook pages; you have to admit it’s a brilliantly curated bunch.

Pixels Arcade Taproom (San Rafael, CA)

One venue opening as a bar/arcade from the start is this new San Rafael-based example, launched just today as this article goes to press. Pixels are a much more retro-focused proposition, though like The Dugout do also have an additional selection of pinballs, e.g. Star Wars and Ghostbusters Pro from Stern. Check out their official homepage and Facebook here and here.

YESTERCades #4 (Metuchen, NJ)

Though we haven’t covered them on the site for a while, small retro chain YESTERCades in New Jersey have been operating their three existing locations for a while now, and this new one in Metcuhen can now be added to them. Like the others, it operates on time based freeplay charges. For those interested in a full view of its lineup, S1ckH4nds did one of his tours of it:

Balboa Fun Zone Arcade (Newport Beach, CA)

Back to California, and a more traditional location has been refreshed in the Balboa Fun Zone family destination area. Much smaller than all of the above examples and more in the mold of a small game room attraction, it now features a slew of standard redemption machines, plus some recent video pieces including JET’s Big Shot and Adrenaline’s NFS Takedown.

Arcade Replay (Stockton, CA)

Here’s a new spot that opened up in central California, where they have Raw Thrills titles alongside Japanese titles like Initial D Arcade Stage 3, Tekken 7 and several other Vewlix cabs. As you can see from the photos on Facebook, that section of fighting games already has a following.

Game On Pinball (San Jose, CA)

When your pinball obsession reaches a certain point, you look to generate some income from it by opening a location. This appears to be part repair shop, part public play, and they also hold private events. The selection appears to change regularly – as I write this, several titles are mentioned as leaving after tomorrow. Whether its old, new, or rare, it looks like they cover various bases.

Tin Pin Game Bar (Marietta, GA)

Nestled inside of a Tex-Mex restaurant in Marietta is a new spot to enjoy some arcade gaming. Tin Pin boasts the presence of several new pinball machines, including Deadpool, James Bond 007, TMNT, Venom & more (all Stern), while along the opposing wall they have some retro games like Donkey Kong, Galaga, a Street Fighter II and a “multi-Williams” (which came with several Williams classics like Defender on it).

Crowbar Arcade Bar (Binghamton, NY)

For players in the Binghamton area, there’s now a place to eat and play some retro games. Crowbar Arcade has a strong focus on classics (Centipede, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Phoenix, Space Invaders, etc.) but they also have some slightly newer titles too (After Burner Climax, Crazy Taxi, DDR, Time Crisis 4, etc.). I suppose that stuff like Crazy Taxi would be considered a classic now… although that still feels weird to me. They are using a card system as opposed to the common freeplay model that a lot of game bars use. Visit their Facebook page, here.

FEC Openings & Updates

Dave & Busters Reopen A Former GameWorks In Schaumburg, IL – as already covered on here in a recent Newsbytes. Note that despite not housing a location test game – yet – this location does break from the D&B norm and has a selection of pinballs (which makes sense with Stern nearby)

Velocity eSports Also Open In Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg – interestingly Velocity have reopened a couple of old GameWorks too, but in this case have had to settle for a smaller location in the very same mall… wonder if there was a bit of a battle for the GW lease between them and D&B

Round1US Launches At Danbury Fair, CT – for a video tour of this one, S1ckH4nds filmed another

The Cove Bar & Arcade Opens At The Treasure Island Casino In Vegas – Over 7300 sq. ft.

Lucky Strike Comes To Miami, FL – from photos, this is one of those first locations with Godzilla

New Rush Funplex For Shawnee, KS

Spy Ninjas HQ Opens In Las Vegas

New CEC For Culiacan, Mexico

CEC Also Surveying On “Retro Stores”

The Rise Of Adult-Focused FECs

Family Arcade Opens In Glimer, TX – but be warned, Arcade1Ups rear their ugly head again here… these are key words of advice for those who try to place them in a commercial setting, as always.

Europe

Lots of UK action this month, perhaps slightly surprising with how the economy seems to be going there. Less from other countries though – unless we’ve missed anything.

YuMe World #2 (Durham, UK)

Sega Amusements have been front and center with new openings for Europe throughout the last few Location Watch posts, and as they expand their operations empire on the continent further still, this first example is no different. Alongside partnering with the likes of Superbowl UK and Gravity, they also supply YuMe World, who up to now had just the one location in Newcastle since 2019. That’s changed now as they’ve recently opened their second. As well as a selection of SAI’s most recent titles (and a few others), this location also houses a desserts bar.

Arcade Warehouse #4 (Doncaster, UK)

Another small chain of freeplay arcades that has been growing slowly over the past few years. It’s not quite a country-wide takeover yet as Arcade Warehouse’s new opening in Doncaster is only the fourth location of theirs, but nice to see more growth for the little guys. As for the game lineup, it seems an unusual grab-bag – original 90s cabinets (Daytona, Virtua Racing), affordable 2010s releases (Sega Rally 3, MotoGP), and perhaps in the absence of much else easily available on the market, a whole host of Chinese product from more recent years?

Merrivale Model Village (Great Yarmouth, UK)

For those looking for a completely retro affair, this unique location fills that niche. It’s not every day that an arcade opens as part of a miniature village attraction, but this is what a couple of people who own one have done thanks to a big investment made, positioning it as a nice contrast to the more traditional redemption-focused seaside arcades found elsewhere in places like Great Yarmouth. And in an interesting change to the usual articles linked, original reportage of this one comes courtesy of the BBC – nice to see some mainstream media picking them up.

Jod Park Games (Agrinio, Greece)

Here’s a small arcade that opened up in a place that doesn’t frequently pop-up on our radar (Greece). That’s partly due to a certain early 2000s law that effectively banned them from operation and decimated the industry there… though it’s been recovering in more recent years. Among the redemption and sports games, they have several video titles out of China – Zombie Crisis, Speed Track, and Pirate Adventure. Unfortunately there is a common theme of piracy running through some of these; note the discrepancy between the game screens and cabinets on that latter two. They also have an upstairs room with some ping pong tables.

FEC Openings & Updates

Harbour Lights Amusements Closes After 40 Years In Operation – again, we don’t like to focus on closures here, but this and another long-standing family-ran spot on the periphery of this UK location are sadly pretty notable

New Tenpin Location For Chester, UK

Arcade Added To Golf Fang, Sheffield, UK

S’pace Bowling Alley Opens In Malmedy, Belgium – this one was briefly mentioned in a Newsbytes last month in relation to its StepManiaX cabinet

Highscore Kijkduin Opens In Kijkduin, The Netherlands 

Asia/Oceania/Middle East

Less than usual out of these parts of the world too – again, though, it’s possible some have been missed out with the distance involved.

Game Center Betty (Nanao, Japan)

So this one is not a new opening, more a reopening, but they have attracted a lot of attention and I know some will be very pleased to see this.

For those who don’t know, Game Center Betty is a well-known independent location in Japan, just as famous for its family of cats that hang around the place as its varied selection of rhythm games. Tragically, they were hit hard by the New Years earthquakes over in Japan, leading to an outpouring of support from fans all over the world. Although the cats were safe, between the numerous ceiling leakages and damages caused to cabinets it wasn’t fully certain whether they would open sooner than later. But it appears that all the goodwill has helped them to be nearly fully operational again just under three months on from the disaster. Lovely to see:

TimeZone (Quezon City, Las Piñas, Philippines)

Via InterGame, TimeZone are marching on with their expansion as ever. This time, we have a couple of new locations in the Philippines to speak of; specifically SM Southmall, Las Piñas, and SM North EDSA, Quezon City.

FEC Openings & Updates

Round1JP Has Rolled Out Card-Only Payment At A Few Locations – have to wonder whether this concept will take in Japan, it’s been brought over before to no avail there

Bandai Namco Opening Another Taiko-Themed Cross Store

A Brand New Gachapon And Pokemon Card Game Facility Concept

New Sports Bar/Bowling With 50 Arcade Games In Perth, Australia

More Ninja-Themed FEC News… This Time Over In New Zealand

Unsure What It’s Called Or Where In China It Is… But Some Video Games

Youzi #6 Opens In China, With Lots And Lots Of Those Neon Crane Games

A Place Opened Up In Guizhou, China, That Is Also All About Them Cranes

Are any of these locations near you? Then be sure to go out and visit them! Doors can’t stay open on the basis of likes and hashtags.

Coming Soon

F1 Arcade Coming Soon To Boston & Washington D.C.

Up-Down #7 Opening Later This Year In Birmingham, Alabama

AAMA 2024 FEC Of The Year Winner Elev8 Fun Is Coming To Miami

Superbowl UK Finally Opening In Bishop Auckland With A Sega Prize Zone

Another Funbox Arcade And Gravity Max For London In Westfield, Stratford

Butlins Bognor Regis Developing Multi-Million Pound Immersive Entertainment

Funstation Coming To Belfast, Northern Ireland This Summer

Galaxy Park #2 Opening In Malaga, Spain Around Mid-May

New Plaza Capcom Location Coming To Oyabe City, Japan

Futuristic Paradigm Zone Arcade For Adelaide, Australia

TimeZone Opening New Australia FEC Next Month

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