KMC Crusade

Arcade Comes to Old Town

Located+at+139+N.+Mead%2C+The+Arcade+is+home+to+more+than+70+arcade+cabinets.+photos+by+Isaac+Caire
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Arcade Comes to Old Town

Located at 139 N. Mead, The Arcade is home to more than 70 arcade cabinets. photos by Isaac Caire

Located at 139 N. Mead, The Arcade is home to more than 70 arcade cabinets. photos by Isaac Caire

Located at 139 N. Mead, The Arcade is home to more than 70 arcade cabinets. photos by Isaac Caire

Located at 139 N. Mead, The Arcade is home to more than 70 arcade cabinets. photos by Isaac Caire

Isaac Caire, Staff Writer

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Old Town is home to many businesses and attractions, among them the Museum of World Treasures, Warren Theatre, and City Arts. In December 2017, Derek Sorrells and Michael Jenson brought a new attraction to Old Town when they opened an arcade on the bottom floor of 139 N. Mead, called simply The Arcade.
This nostalgic 3,750-square-foot throwback is filled with 70 game cabinets. Sorrells and Jensen have both collected arcade game cabinets for a long time and decided that they would bring them to the public.
“When I was a kid you got a dollar or two from your mom or dad, you rode your bike down to the local arcade with your buddies and you played games for hours,” Sorrells said.
Arcade games were very popular during the Golden Age of Arcade Games. This time period from about the late ‘70s to mid-’80s was the peak of arcade games in the world. The revenue of the industry tripled to 2.8 million and the number of arcades doubled between 1980 and 1983. Games had simple graphics and technology and the games were part of the advancement in technology trend. Games began to have a storyline and plot, such as in Mario Bros. when two plumbers, Mario and Luigi, go inspect pipes and stumble upon strange creatures. Other developments include advancement in graphics, color, audio and new types of controls like trackballs, buttons and joysticks. These games became part of popular culture in movies and TV shows, merchandise, and more and are coming back into popular culture.
Sorrells started his arcade cabinet collection in 2010, when he bought one off Ebay. Later he bought another, and another, and finally ended up with 48. Sorrells collects ‘80s arcade games, while Jenson collects more ‘90s games. They are astonished at how popular the arcade has been so far.
All Sorrells and Jenson wanted was to share what they love with everyone.
“So this, in a way, this is reliving our childhood,” Sorrells said.
According to Sorrells, the major thing that separates the attraction from anything else is the nostalgic factor. People walk in and relive their youth. Sorrells said he has seen parents walk into the arcade with their children and turn to them and say “This is what it was like to be in an arcade in the ‘80s.” He even sees parents teaching their children how to play games they played when they were kids.
“You can go places that have a Pac-man and a Ms. Pac-man, a Galaga, and a couple of pinball machines but you are not going to find a place that has 70 of them all in one place,” Sorrells said.
In the arcade there are newer games such as Maximum Force, Area 51, and CarnEvil and older games like Pac-Man and Galaga. The most popular games, according to Sorrells, are the drivers and shooters.
The arcade serves refreshments and snacks and is considering adding alcohol to the menu. Instead of paying quarters to play a machine, all machines are set on a free-play mode. People choose to pay $8 per hour or $10 for an unlimited pass that will last a day.
The retro hangout can be rented for hosting parties and events and is open four days a week: 6-10 p.m. Thursdays, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays, 1 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays and 1-8 p.m. on Sundays.

 

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