To Build and Blog an Arcade

I can’t seem to write quickly enough about all that’s happening with Reclaim Arcade. Not only have we been securing more games since my last post (we got Missile Command last week, yesterday Berserk and Jungle Hunt, and a cocktail version of RallyX —with Donkey Kong Jr is in the wings), but we’ve also been pretty deep into planning what is needed to actually run an arcade.

That means floor plans, space designs, food, drinks, budgets, loans, logos, comps, employees, etc. It’s beginning to pick up momentum quickly, and while there is nothing official just yet—it’s starting to feel that way. What’s more, if you know anything about Tim and I, you’ll understand why this has the potential to move fast, to be supported robustly, and maybe even actually succeed. One of the things that has been pretty illuminating, and quite helpful and enjoyable, is to read about other people’s experience starting an arcade on the Arcade Museum forums (the go-to resource for buying, selling, and learning about games and arcades). Tim pointed me to a couple of threads on KLOV by folks who recently started arcades. One is in Wichita, Kansas (The Arcade Wichita), and they have a pretty bitchin arcade. Two partners went in on it, and they don’t do food or alcohol, just OG arcade, and their game selection is legend. You can see the full walk-through video below and read the thread on KLOV here:

It was encouraging to learn they’re doing well financially, and that folks are flocking in. That’s the dream.

Another recent story of an OG arcade start-up that was shared on KLOV is about Marcade in Dover, New Jersey. This was super useful thread given we got details like electric bill costs monthly, sales figures over first two months, and much more. It was kind of an AMA for folks hoping to start arcades. Like us, the Marcade is in a strip mall, but unlike us they have over 100 arcade games. Wow! And the selection of games is impeccable— here is the list. It’s really cool to learn that the OG arcades can stand alone in this day and age without a bar or some other adjunct business (like a VHS store 🙂 ). You can read the whole forum thread here, and I just want to say how awesome and useful it is when folks share their experience like this. It not only buoys our hopes, but also we learn a ton. 

Marcade in Dover, NJ – Image credit Marc of Marcade

I just love nuggets like the one shared by the NJ arcade. Turns out there were still local ordinances on the books to prevent arcades from opening that were created during the 80s when these spaces were branded as dens of teenage iniquity. Now all those teenagers are on town boards now, and they think the idea is groovy 🙂 But that meant unexpected legal costs on his part, and it was a good reminder there may be a few gotchas to look out for along the way.

So, inspired by these folks, I hope to share what Tim and I learn while going through this odyssey on the bava. Things are still a bit touch and go with official announcements given we need to get the blessing of our landlord, but once the horse is out of the gate the bavarcade blogstorm is on like …. Donkey Kong 🙂

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