Five years ago, a bunch of my buddies and I drove for hours – some for quite a few hours – to invade a retro arcade in Springfield, Missouri. It was quite a unique destination at the time – an old-school arcade, complete with pinball machines and nostalgic items all over the place, where you could get in for five bucks and play to your heart’s content. It’s not a bad business model: once inside, they have a concession stand to keep you there (and keep draining your wallet), and they’re probably counting on their patrons only sticking around for an hour or two. Which, with the three-hour one-way drive time to Springfield, was a bit enforced in our case – we had real lives and crap to get back to.
If I had a buck for everyone I’ve ever heard in the arcade collecting hobby talking about how they’re going to start their own version of 1984, I’d be able to start my own version of 1984. Fortunately, some local collectors have beaten me to it and opened up shop last weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and it’s gotta be said, the 40-minute drive (instead of a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour) may just make Arkadia Retrocade the happeist place on Earth for me and mine.