Arcades are in decline in America for one reason or another, and there are many theories as to why.
However, there is already a thread by someone and an article about that by ponder. **So, this thread is here to discuss your strategies to bring back arcades in America, especially in small, local towns.
My 2 cents:
For one thing, the old concept of an arcade doesn’tAl really fly anymore.
An old dingy hole in the wall with really good games simply isn’t a good business strategy anymore, because games can now be offered at home. Simply placing games in a building won’t really do anything unless it’s at a kids’ arcade or a center run by a large company, or a place with something else to offer. Also, the old arcades didn’t have gamers as owners/operators or even on staff, and machines were usually pretty beaten up and broke down often, and an outside source had to be called, which cost money. On top of that they were usually extremely dirty, with concrete floors and 20 year old coke stains on said. It was just a complete mess.

Therefore, modern arcades have to tale some initiative and be the complete opposite of this. This means clean, well lit areas run by friendly, knowledgeable gamers with an s grade janitor on staff. It also means that the people there have at least be able to identify and lightly, at the very least lightly, troubleshoot arcade cabinet problems. The staff would ideally be gamers that not only played games but specialized in certain (or even multiple) genres and could actually aid customers in getting better at their games.

But furthermore, the center would aslo have to pack variety. Just fighters alone would not really do, the place would have to have something for everybody, from Ms. Pac-Man to DDR to pinball.
After all, everyone has a favorite. These sections would be neatly organized in rows with signs clearly stating what kind of games that are in each row. An 'expert" on staff would be assigned to each row for assistance.

Also, events, events, events. (Ponder mentioned this too.) The place would most definitely have some sort of tournaments in their games, with regular fliers sent out to customers and passer-byes. This would not only break up the daily monotony but also bring in new clientele- and more importantly, their money. A membership would not be a bad idea either, since people tend to like playing a game more than five minutes before dying. For a fee, a customer could buy a membership to the arcade that would last a set amount of time. This card could also act as a save card for various games, making sure that nobody leaves the joint with their character dead and their psyche dissatisfied. The ideal Arcade would offer tiered cards for different prices. For example, bronze would allow you about an hours worth of default playtime with extra fees associated with extra time spent. Silver would afford two hours, the ability to split your time up with a friend and a newsletter. Gold, being the best, would get you three hours, discounts on amenities, and an advanced newsletter.

In addition the center would also have to pack variety. Just fighters alone would not really do, the place would have to have something for everybody, from Ms. Pac-Man to DDR to pinball.
After all, everyone has a favorite. These sections would be neatly organized in rows with signs clearly stating what kind of games that are in each row. An 'expert" on staff would be assigned to each row for assistance.

So yeah. got anything else?
Also, at the time of this thread’s writing I had been up for thirteen hours, so I was very, very tired. I will edit it eventually so it makes more sense.

Arcade operator here.

Regardless of what anybody might think is a good idea for an arcade, it probably won’t work. I’ve been trying for years to get business to the levels of the '90s and I have yet to come close. People just don’t feel like paying for games outside of their house anymore. Times are rough, money is tight, and a limited number of new releases is keeping arcades from really becoming a major force again.


its gonna take alot more money than the .04 cents in this thread.

its about money, and there is no money in it.

which SUCKS

Can we end the thread now?


I don’t know if yall know this, but traveling arcades are the way to go. Be like the icecream truck and set up your route at peak hours (park by schools when schools out, or drive your asses downtown when/where all the urban kids take public transportion to get home). Send out surveys to find out areas that have the most interest in gaming. Basically, instead of making the gamers come to you, you go to them.

Most people don’t even fucking know about tournaments or that they can make a few bucks off some game they’d usually play for fun.

The internet has the kids nowadays and unless you go to them and get them interested, they aren’t going to change their habits. Also, you fucks didn’t fix your damn machines and took out my favorite games to put in some crap or fifa shit and you wondered why I stopped going to your shitty arcades. Not to mention the fat fuck running the usually arcade I’d go to after school back in the day. No bitches would ever walk into there after they see this rapist looking dude. I don’t like to talk bad about people, but still… man.

Arcades as individual entities are dead. Get yourself a restaurant, game store, bar, strip club, or whatever and stick some arcade machines of your choice in there.

Ground Kontrol

This arcade is also a bar, with over 30+ games and 15 pinball machines. All of them Retro. Their most expensive machine there is a six player classic Xmen machine. None of the games are over a quarter per play except for the DDR Extreme machine. Alcohol served after 5pm. No children. No ticket machines. They have no liqour license, only beer. The place is packed every night. Live music occasionally, with pinball tournaments. The only fighting games are SFA3 and Third Strike and Hyper Fighting. Their newest machine in the entire establishment is probably the Third Strike machine. They just got Tron in a few months ago.

All the machines are in working order too. Beer coasters on the sides of the cabinets hold your drink so people don’t put them on the cabs and ruin the vintage artwork.

Perhaps it’s the location. Maybe Portland just really loves retro games. But I remember arcades supposedly going out of business because people didn’t want to play out of their homes. Half of these titles can be emulated or gotten on Wiiware. I know someone who would travel to Portland an hour away to play Dr.Mario on a cabinet, standing up or sitting on a bar stool even though I can set it up on the PC right now. It’s a dark, dingy little hole in the wall where you have to brush by people just to get to the Double Dragon cab in the back next to the restroom. You’ll have to, because the Final Fight machine has three people on it and they’re wedged in there against the guy playing Dig Dug.

I honestly couldn’t believe it. I’m sure these people worked hard to get where they’re at, and once again, location could be everything. But I see all ages come to this place. College kids, older pinball geniuses and people who just like enjoying listening to fresh new music from DJ’s mixing stuff from hiphop to chiptunes and 8-bit remixes and Sidmetal. I never thought I’d see people actually line up to play Gauntlet Legends and TMNT: Turtles in Time, but it’s here. Like every night. It’s nice to go to a place and know I could spend quarters on all sorts of machines as the hours flew by. Ironically, I end up spending FAR more money here at a quarter a game than arcades that do 50 cents or more. It’s psychological. I would easily spend three or four dollars on a Virtua Cop 2 Machine while a dollar play per Time Crisis 4 would net me one game and no more as a passing leisure. Mindgames.

The people who went to arcades in the 80’s and 90’s aren’t kids anymore, but we all still love them. Be in a place where people want to relax, to give them what they need at a good price, they’ll go long and far to enjoy themselves. Yes, Arcades by themselves are probably gone like Effenhoog said. This doesn’t mean it died. It just means it grew up in my eyes.

sounds good to me

@Inverse: Looking at their website it appears that they also have Tekken Tag, VS, and MvC2.

I’m glad that Game Galaxy’s sort of nearby, at least. But even then it’s a 3 hour drive to there and another 3 hours back. Not exactly convenient, but at least I know it’s there.

Sounds even better

I wish more movies theaters and stuff would buy fight games instead of DDR.

There isn’t a single fight cabinet within 150 miles of me but I can find countless DDR machines everywhere I go.

Yes, I like this.


Arcades as sole entities in the US will only work if there is already an arcade scene there, I’m sure the US has some especially in the metropolitan cities.

A cafe style hookah bar or something aimed towards a college audience would be a perfect place to hold some cabinets across the country.

A place called Rocky’s Replay in Orlando Florida is/was a good example of this. Last time i checked a couple years ago (I’ve moved since then) It had the latest fighters, including KOF XI and Capcom/Namco fighters and a lot of other arcade games.

Jees, I am so sorry. I missed MVC2 and Tekken Tag. The Tag machine is Inop at the moment but they’re going to fix it. But yes I see people do MVC2 all the time there. Amazingly, everyone there is pretty casual. I beat people at Third Strike easily, and I’m not that good. But I’m also good at shaking hands and letting the guy next to me beat me once in awhile. It’s only a quarter, why take it so super serious against them? If only to get the crowd going I’ll occasionally let it get close you know? This is the kind of place that cheers when they see a super move come out. Casual, walking traffic.

The Third Strike machine is set to 2/3 against the PC, and best 3/5 against other players at a quarter play.

I’m telling you. There is a method to the madness, and although Ground Kontrol wasn’t some overnight success, it is a living symbol of how these things can still work. When I walked in there, it rekindled my dream of owning my own arcade. Nobody said it would be easy, but it’s worth the effort I think.

Oh, they also sell a ton of SNES/Genesis/PS1/Saturn games there next to the bar. They have some NES zappers and consoles for sale and the bar is lined up with Pacman symbols. It’s wild.


I wish all those that brave this hard path to make arcades the best of luck, because I don’t want to give up on the idea that this can work. I know it can. It’s all around us. Much respect to those that tried.

I appreciate OP’s passion, but he’s talking out of his ass.

Much like the 10,000 other people who have made this exact same thread.

Move to Toronto. I have 3 arcades nearby, all with Vanilla. Two with MVC2/CVS2/multiple 3S machines. At least one is guaranteed to get Super.


With the amount of infractions/warnings that kid got…I’m not surprised.

He’s just desperately trying to get a high traffic thread. He’s tried a bunch of shit in GD and none of it worked.

Bring arcades back to uk.

So you can get banned for making shitty posts now or what?