I just wanted to talk a bit about, how it would be possible to run an arcade in the NW (well, washington, but i’m sure there’d be some OR love here and there).
I think that, each arcade in Washington has strengths and weaknesses, and I was wondering if you guys could post what you LIKE about each arcade, and also what you dislike, or wish they could do differently. ALSO, welcoming ANY ideas of what YOU would like to see at an arcade, or what you think the public in general would like to see, and if a balance could be struck (because if it was up to me, it’d be like a row of 30 Astro City sitdown cabs and then 10 Wangan Midnight cabs, haha).
Pluses: Ran by Bill, who is a class act and actually cares about what we gamers think. Has SFIV, Wangan and a few other cool machines there, all well maintained. PHO!!! PHO!!! PHO!!!
Minuses: No freeplay for tournies (haven’t been in a minute, correct me if wrong), Kinda ghettoish Japanese/American hybrid layout, Tacoma location is HORRIBLE for the majority of us to drive to. Also, DA WOLF!!! David Alverez is the only Tacoma Native I would like to be seen associating with, honestly Tacoma is grimey as hell.
What I would change: Honestly a lot of those cabinets seem like wastes of space. I have never seen ANYONE play that goofy looking paintball game. The Marvel controls are ass and that cab is RIDICULOUSLY small, no one plays on it, it’s a waste of that board.
Pluses: Decent, centralized location. Comfortable interior, Nate (their tech) is a tourney player so he is ONE OF US. You can get food there (haven’t eaten it myself but it’s a plus).
Minuses: PRICE, it is pretty expensive to play at Gameworks. NO fucking parking, even at like 10:30pm me and Mike parked at fucking PIKE PLACE and walked cus there was nothing closer.
What I would change: There are some shitty filler games I see never getting play there (that ugly graphics taxi driving game…) Also, I fucking HATE the credit card system where you can never tell exactly how much in DOLLARS you are paying for a goddamn game. It feels like they are trying to “cheat” you out of .13047575 of a dollar out of your confusion, which is not how customers should be treated, IMO.
Also, I have a lot of anger towards GW for how I was treated by the employees when I was around 12-14 years old just trying to play games. Mainly, the assumption that I was a criminal not spending any money, and annoying older people who actually mattered. I’ve been kicked out of GW with no explanation whatsoever from the staff. This was about 10 years ago, and now that I am older I am treated with respect by the staff, but I will never forget.
Great little place, also owned by Bill (mvco on SRK), so you know it’s professionally done and classy.
Pros: GREAT GREAT GREAT location. Bajillion parking spaces. CLEAN interior with plenty of staff available, drinks and food. Some good games in there. Very decent prices, you can play a while here, they have the right pricing in that, you are spending money, but not enough to notice. Also I LOVE it when machines run on actual quarters instead of tokens, it means sometimes I can raid my change jar and go to the arcade without having hard cash on hand.
Cons: Not enough redemption games ( I LOVE redemption games), has Blaze Blue but no other fighters worth mentioning, which is too bad, if it had SFIV it would be THE SPOT, I am not SHITTING YOU. I really don’t think Bill is appreciating how much more business he would get from northsiders at Acme if he had an SFIV cab, but I think the Narrows management doesn’t want him to have one there, or something.
Ahhhh, Gametown. A LOT of NW players have a lot of fond memories of this place. There was a lot to like: Marvel, CvS2, ST, and an MVS cabinet. However, the controls were usually useable to borderline shitty as fuck, never, EVER approaching excellent. Also, the owner guy REFUSED, POSITIVELY REFUSED, to slow down the timer on KOF '98. When KOF 98 is on the fastest and second fastest settings, literally EVERY round ends in timeouts, so you never actually “beat” your opponent. When we complained, he said that he didn’t want people sitting on it in 1player mode all day on one credit. I lived literally 4 minutes from Gametown in Seatac and was there all the time, but when he said that I stopped going until he closed down. I literally felt like he decided my enjoyment of the experience was worth less than cheaping people out of a few minutes extra play before they beat 1 player mode during the day.
To their credit, they often would fix shit if you asked nicely, and they treated us pretty well, but the timer issue was inexcuseable, and he lost two regular customers in me and Nate (XTG) because of it. We were ONLY there to play KOF '98.
Pros: Decent location though somewhat Seedy, parking lot was pretty annoying to try to navigate cus of angled slots on a sharp little incline. Good game SELECTION without great cabs. GOOD assortment of food and drinks for marathon sessions, PC access, clean convenient to use bathroom.
Negatives: C- grade controls, never any NEW latest and greatest games or “deluxe” games. Not the most appreciative customer service.
Now closed arcades, just for discussion’s sake:
As Mandel will Attest…FUNPLEX WAS THE FUCKING SHIT. I remember every saturday, going there. They had a TON of space. I never bothered with mini golf or lazer tag after the first time, but it was there. Lots of parking space, TONS AND TONS of games, from deluxe Sega stuff that probably costed more than a Lexus, to classics like Punch Out! and Karate Champ. Also TONS of fighters with AMAZING controls, and REALLY NICE attendants who would RUSH to fix any problems. Only place I knew where if a machine ate your quarter and you were 8 years old, the attendant would smile and give you a credit or two on the machine, instead of give you a cold stare like you were trying to steal a porkchop from his dinner plate. Great, great memories of this place, and the only reason why I am on this site at all.
Cons: That it doesn’t exist anymore. One day showed up and the front door had a piece of paper taped to it that said “We’ve moved to tacoma!” as far as I know, they never did? edit: I forgot, since Funplex was at the trainyard, you could often smell diesel fumes, but who cared when Marvel Super Heroes vs SF was new??
IMO this is the type of arcade I would emulate should I make one. This was a small place in Renton, right off of Ranier (right next to the Panda Express in front of Fred Meyers). Had MORE FIGHTERS THAN YOU COULD IMAGINE COULD FIT IN AN ARCADE THE SIZE OF A RICH WOMAN’S CLOSET. VF2, KI 1 and 2, MVS w/ random SNK fighters, MSH, COTA, XvSF, HOLLOSEUM (If any of you remember this RARE GAME!!!) The owner was a kinda crazy looking old white guy, but super nice and would run to fix any problems or give credits or put more quarters in the change machine. This place also had a lot of kewl non-fighters too. Not enough room for any deluxe cabs though.
Pros: CHEAP to play, “homie” location (I hate lots of space in my arcades, it’s an arcade not a minimalist modern highrise apartment).
Cons: Not enough big racing games or WOW 3-D type titles. Was around for some time though.
This place was right down the hill from Preppy’s place, where the Taco Del Mar and a few other businesses are now, they split Quarters’ property into a couple different businesses.
Pros: SHITLOAD of room and games. LOTS of deluxe cabinets, as well as multiple HUGE projection SF2 cabs around 1992 and LONG LINES for each of them. Good amount of pinball, redemption, and lightgun and racing games. Short lived “Virtual Reality” game that costed 5$ for 5 minutes and had an human operator there who would tell you how to play. (BAD IDEA haha)
Cons: None, this was IMO the perfect arcade along with Funplex.
The heart of Seattle Marvel. A place where people would get their faces smashed into the monitor for winning too much.
Pros: Good management (?) who supported the tourney scene. Random ass DBZ fighting game, LOL. Good controls generally, nice looking clean cabinets.
Cons: NO VENTILATION, literally smelled like ass half the time. And I like “homey” arcades but this shit was WAY too small for their player base.
Thoughts on what a good arcade needs:
I don’t see why EVERY arcade doesn’t just invest in an MVS 6-slot. It’s the ULTIMATE in economical hardware, there is pretty much NO chance that you won’t have people playing on it constantly if you have a good supply of KOF’s in there, should your arcade location have enough Mexicans around. I even think an MVS dedicated for fighters, and one for random other SNK games is a super economical use of floorspace to profitability. No idea why more American arcades don’t do this.
I also wonder what you guys think about japanese cabinets and controls. IMO they are great, but I wonder if they would turn off “casual” gamers that you would need to survive?
Obviously, this is Seattle so a marvel stand up cab with P360’s and Happ convex in a straight alignment is a MUST.
What about DDR, do you guys think DDR still attracts people and keeps arcades open like it was claimed to a few years ago? What versions?
Anything else you guys can think of pertaining to the business side of arcades, I would love to see. Portland guys, please let me know what you guys think as well. :tup:
edit: Another idea I had. Arcade Ops constantly have more working games then are out on the floor. I am wondering why you couldn’t have a little placard next to your MVS and CPS2 and Naomi dedicated cabs that says “Also available, games X,Y, and Z. Just ask us!” or something, so if on a slow day, a person sees say, ST on the CPS2 cab, but they don’t like ST, and they would LOVE to play Aliens vs Predator Beat 'em up, why can’t the Op take five minutes to switch out a board and make some money??