Posted tagged ‘location’

Update on my arcade: Merging and expanding!

December 11, 2008

I haven’t had much to update on my arcade as of late although there is some news I’d like to pass along for any of those who have been keeping track of our progress.

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The lovely parking lot mess outside

First off the bad news – the mall where we are located will be giving us the boot sometime towards the beginning of January to make way for a new mall entrance/sidewalk. It seems as though there are no other locations available at the mall, at least that is what I have been told and it’s pretty frustrating since this is five months before our lease was up. There have been plenty of challenges we’ve had to face at this location, from no AC throughout a majority of the summer, to constant roadwork happening right outside our door (in fact, they have ripped up more holes in front of my store than any other part of the mall which closes the road in front of us – in some cases they have had to go back and rip up the same place more than once which looks to me like very bad planning. Some of the construction handiwork is pictured to the right but that is just the view from the door, it’s even worse when you go outside and look around), not having enough foot traffic in front as I expected, etc. And with this unexpected move it puts a strain on us just as we are really starting to catch some steam but despite all that stuff I think that we have done well, especially for an arcade with only one redemption game.

For the good news, we are going to merge with another arcade and expand greatly on top of what we already have. I cannot divulge any details on the location yet but my new partner has a bit of experience in arcades already and we will be combining our experience, vision and our game collections together to make one arcade that will pack quite a punch. We are going to have some very unique games, a much expanded category of arcade, pinball and redemption games and just an overall larger space. More details will be forthcoming as to the location and the games we’ll have as well as to when this will all take place (naturally we will be keeping all of the games we currently have). After looking through our options with the mall eviction, this was the best way for us to move into what we’ve been wanting to do in creating a larger and even more exciting game experience.

[Discuss on the Forum]

New FEC called Kids Castle opens in Burbank, CA + some other arcade/economic news

December 11, 2008

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(Photo: Alex Collins/Leader)

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While it’s generally been accepted that there is a ‘worldwide economic slowdown’ (although personally I never am quick to believe that it’s always as bad as the news says it is since they have a vested interest in fearmongering for ratings) that isn’t slowing down the news we’re getting of new arcade locations opening up all over the place. This new location comes out of Burbank California where a new FEC called Kids Castle is opening up this Sunday. It looks like quite the amusement facility, with a theme throughout of castles, dragon’s, princesses, etc.; 15,000 sq. ft. of space, indoor amusement rides, a two-story soft playground, a restaurant and an arcade/redemption center. One thing I can relate to with the owner is his attitude about his business. From the Burbank Leader, here is what the owner had to say about the economy and his new business.

“I can care less about the economy,” Daglian said. “This is my dream.”

He could fail, but as long as the amusement center exists, he will be content, Daglian said.

Well he could fail even in a good economy – that’s the nature and risk of business (well, unless you have a lot of money and prestige to throw around in Washington D.C. these days then you can convince anyone that you’re too big to fail but I digress). As long as he has created a good business and he has a good plan to market his idea then he will likely be just fine. But forgetting all that, he is living his dream and that is something to be applauded. The Kids Castle is fourteen months in the making and we wish them good luck in their venture.

[Via Burbank Leader]

Also, Dave & Busters has announced their third quarter results and revenues are down 3.2% for them. However, according to the reporting article, the total revenues over a 39-week period showed an increase of 1.9%, which isn’t much but an increase is an increase. In that 39-week period it showed a slight decrease of the Food and Beverage category while Amusements and Other increased 4.7%.

[D&B News via Market Watch][Discuss on the Forum]

Virtual-Kade opens up in Kentucky with focus on VR and exergaming

December 8, 2008

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We’re happy to report new of yet another new arcade facility opening it’s doors to the public, although this one is a little different as they don’t appear to have any coin-operated arcades (except for the LightSpace floor, a device we talked about a while back but that is on freeplay) and instead are focusing on ‘virtual reality’ and ‘simulation’ type games. That also includes a number of game consoles  that are lined up along the walls that play from a variety of games they can switch out (which I imagine have to be attended constantly to refreshkadeavoid theft or the changing out of a game). It looks  like a couple of those also have a motion seat for the player to get comfy in.  I also think they have one of Trio-Tech’s 3D theaters although they do not mention it by name or show any pictures of the unit, they just say that it’s a 4 person virtual theater.

They also have some exerbikes with a game installed called Game Bike Pro. We’ve discussed something similar to these where an exercise bike is essentially the game controller. I hadn’t seen any amusment facilities pick them up until now so it will be interesting to see how they do outside of a gym.

Finally they have a game called Makoto – you stand in this area with up to two friends and there are these polls that have sensors which will light up and you’re supposed to hit it with a soft bat, competing for the high score. It’s an interesting game that I hadn’t seen before but in the brief appearance this game makes in the video below it looks like the sensors weren’t lighting up very fast.

With a refreshment area, golf simulator leagues, GLO Wii Bowling and a pretty cool environment at night they will easily reach their target market of college age kids. It would be cool if they got a couple of proper arcade machines   in there too but for now it certainly looks like they have enough to keep people quite entertained.

BTW – VirtualKade is located in Murray Kentucky.

[VirtualKade website] [News article about VirtualKade via Kentucky State & Regional wire] [Discuss on the Forum]

NY Arcade with SFIV and Tekken 6

November 27, 2008

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While arcades in the US with some of the most desired fighters in one place might be rare, they are out there. Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report stopped by an arcade in New York that has Street Fighter IV and Tekken 6 along with a number of other games.  Called the Chinatown Fair (thanks for fubarduck in the comments for clearing that up), they have four SFIV cabinets on location, all of which appear to be homebrew cabinets although they don’t look bad. It looks like they did the same thing with Tekken 6 and we are also told that they have a BlazBlue cabinet there to boot.  Click on the thumbnails below to get a full view

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[Discuss on the Forum]

The risk of doing business and dealing with sudden problems (arcade related)

October 25, 2008

One thing that is on the mind of most everyone in many countries is the state of the economy. It’s been quite a roller coaster in the States where I am; I know the other day the UK announced that it’s officially in a recession. Fortunately arcades historically do well in recessions – things were pretty bad at the end of the 70′s in the US yet that is considered the ‘Golden Age’ of arcades. People still need entertainment so we just need to provide them that for a good price.

In my case, running my arcade has been an adventure – the location I am at hasn’t done as well as I had hoped (I should have gone inside the mall instead of outside so I could capture more foot traffic) but things have done well enough for us to get by and that’s with a complete focus on video. I fully believe that an arcade with nothing but video can thrive, as long as it has the right game selection and it gets the word out.

But that might change with my location, which is where I pull the ‘risk’ part from in my title. When I took this location, I knew that the mall was going to begin reconstruction – adding new stores, bringing in bigger business, etc. I was assured that where my location was would not be touched until 2009, after my agreement had ended. Unfortunately, that appears to not be the case as yesterday while checking out PC games at a retailer in the mall, I overheard that a clothing store retailer called Ross is making their way into the mall and a lot of us little guys have an uncertain future ahead. I’ve heard a lot of rumors and I can’t get a hold of the mall management until Monday but according to a map of the renovation, my location is set to become a walkway/entrance to the mall. Strangely, most of the other tenants seem to know what is going on and the one behind us says they have until next Saturday to get out but we have heard nothing official so far.

So I’m not sure what will happen at this point, if I will have a place within the mall to move to or if I’ll have to find a new place elsewhere (which I’ve begun doing, just in case). This can be a blessing and a curse – a curse because I have a number of regulars who I might loose in the process a blessing because it’s chance to find a higher traffic location and perhaps with better internet access than what we have. I just didn’t expect to have to deal with this until next May when my contract was up and it just doesn’t seem like a good time to have to move around. Whatever happens I’ll make the most of it.

UPDATE: I talked with the mall today and I can rest easy for now – at least until January. The construction of the new store won’t affect me until then and they are going to see if I can move to a new location within the mall. That depends on certain factors of course but at least I’ll have mroe time to weigh my options.

[Discuss on the Forum]

Arcade Hunters check out Tokyo Game Action

September 18, 2008

The guys from PressStartComic.com have made many arcade-related videos over the past little while and I realyl like their latest idea – “Arcade Hunters” where they go around and tour arcades. It’s a great way to help some arcades get attention and in the first episode they visit an arcade that we have discussed here before – Tokyo Game Action. I would post the videos to the blog here but the particular video site they use is not yet supported by WordPress. So here are direct links from part 1 to 6. Enjoy!

Arcade Hunters – Tokyo Game Action: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

[Discuss on the Forum]

A look at the Big Bear Arcade in California

July 9, 2008

It’s been a little while since I had the time to do an arcade location review but hopefully soon I’ll be able to get back onto that. In the meantime it’s great to see papers covering some of the arcades in their area, as is the instance with The Press Enterprise in California. They take a general look at the arcade scene and how it has declined since the 80′s but also at a local arcade business that has been running since 1952 called the Big Bear Arcade. It looks pretty cool there and they have a lot of classics to go around including some great skeeball games too. Overall it’s a great article and it does point out the effect that die-hard fans have on keeping arcades alive, albeit it does focus a lot on how things aren’t like they were in the 80′s anymore but that is always common to do since that is still when things were best for arcades. On top of the article they also have a video but I couldn’t upload it to the site so here is the link.

["Die-hard fans keep handful of Inland-Area arcades aline - The Press Enterprise"] (Image credit: Greg Vojtko) [Discuss on the Forum]

Location Review: Bowlplex, Basingstoke

June 1, 2008

As you might imagine, Rambo wasn’t the only thing I played on my trip to Basingstoke’s Bowlplex last week. Having spent something like £20 on the return train ticket, there was no way I was ever going to do that. In fact, it wasn’t just the train journey – as I found out, the Bowlplex is located in a busy leisure district, and walking there from the train station was ever so slightly ambitious. Bang goes another £5 on a taxi. Being in a leisure district, the Bowlplex is surrounded by a variety of other things, including a swimming pool, an ice rink, a bingo hall, an Odeon cinema (which contained a Time Crisis 3 cabinet) and two food outlets, a McDonalds and a KFC (which is where myself and Overlord chose to eat).

Upon arriving in the Bowlplex, you’ll immediately see all the arcade machines contained within. At the time of visitng, this one contained Time Crisis 4, Mario Kart Arcade GP, an OutRun 2 cabinet which appeared to have been upgraded to OutRun 2 SP, Rambo (which was on test and will soon be gone), The Fast and the Furious Superbikes, House of the Dead 4, two Dancing Stage machines of forgotten version, and a Grand Prix pinball table from Stern (which was a pleasant surprise). Additionally, there was a pool table and an air hockey table. It’s a good variety of games, as you’ll see that the games cater for all ages and levels of interest in gaming. The machines were clean and seemed to be maintained well, which is always crucial. The one unexpected twist was the use of tokens rather than regular coins for payment, which is something that I’ve never seen in the UK. Each token is worth 50p (unused tokens are non-refundable) and every machine took two tokens per game, with the exception of Rambo which took two tokens to start and one to continue. There is only one token dispenser and this results in the occasional small queue. However, at one point the machine seemed to run out of tokens and though the problem was quickly rectified, this does call the use of tokens into question – the credits follow standard pricing and using regular currency would have required no extra outlay as the token machine already gives change.

In terms of other activities available on site, the name of the site makes it obvious that 10-pin bowling is the primary activity taking place in the building, and there’s a large number of lanes available. The site also offers a bar and grill, and while we didn’t sample the food due to the KFC consumption earlier, the bar was nice (if somewhat expensive – £1.50 for a large coke). The seating area for the bar has a large projector system for showing sporting events, and the League One playoff between Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United was on at the time we visited. The diverse range of activities on offer attracts a wide selection of people, ranging from families on the arcade machines to men who were there for the football, and the atmosphere was pleasant at all times.

The Bowlplex in Basingstoke is open seven days a week and has long opening hours. It’s a great place to visit when you’re on a family day out, and the leisure park location makes it very easy to slot in some time after seeing a film or going swimming. However, with the location being relatively out of the way, it may not be somewhere that you’ll visit regularly.

[Basingstoke Bowlplex] [Discuss on the Forum]

Location Review : Phoenix Arcade @ The Summit

May 27, 2008

Here in Niagara Falls, NY there is a mall called The Summit and in addition to the Krow’s Nest with the bowling machines there is another arcade called Phoenix arcade. They have 2 storefronts in the mall. They have a wide variety of games between both their storefronts including the original Outrun simulator, classic games, some modern games, prize cranes, foosball, air hockey and much more. Their newly opened arcade is decorated very nicely on the outside. Here is a video of the newly opened arcade.

Overall the location is very clean, the games are priced cheaply at 25 and 50 cents per play, however this location suffers from many of the problems that classic arcades suffer from such as dead games and lots of monitor problems on the games. The phoenix arcade has quite a few games though and keeping up with them must not be that easy.

A video of their other storefront in the mall will follow in a short while.

New Asian venue with focus on “Eatertainment”

May 12, 2008

It’s no secret that the idea of “Eatertainment” – a restaurant venue that also seeks to entertain it’s clientèle with aspects other than just food, which may include arcade games. – is a valid idea that has worked for many different companies over the years including Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Busters. Now here is a new venue opening up in Asia with a similar concept although it looks like their main coin-op focus will be crane games. The cranes look a lot like the cranes that Sega recently released for the UFO Catcher but whether or not these are just modified UFO Catcher cranes is unknown. The venue will also feature live performances and has a lot of attention focusing on sweets – some of them look pretty mouth watering. Click on the link below to check it all out.

[One on One Amusement Complex] [Discuss on the Forum]


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