One of the reasons why we started All You Can Arcade, was because we wanted to make sure that arcade games were around for future generations to be able to play. It’s no secret that the large arcades from the 80’s and 90’s have become an endangered animal. As they’ve slowly disappeared, it’s gotten harder and harder for people to find games, but this scarcity has created a silver lining for our industry.
It’s led to the rise of the pop up arcade.
If you’re lucky enough to have a neighborhood arcade, it will do well when it first opens, but because you have such a good thing going, traffic tends to drop over time. If you don’t have a local arcade, but you find out that there will be a temporary one at an event, people will go out of their way to show up, because they only have a short window to relive the classic arcade experience.
Over the last two years, we’ve seen an incredible amount of interest from conferences, public markets, sporting venues, pop up store fronts and other large events for short term popup arcades. Sometimes, our customers will charge to get into the arcade, sometimes they’ll put them on quarter play, but a lot of times they’ll advertise them on free play and then watch as the masses show up to play Street Fighter 2 and Ms. Pacman. When we started, we didn’t anticipate that there would even be demand for pop-up arcades, but when our customers started asking for them, it became clear that they were a hit.
For us, running the popup arcades has been a lot of fun. Because we’ve focused our company on renting out games by the month, we don’t always get to see people play the games, but when we staff the popup arcades, we get a chance to see how excited the kids (and kids at heart) get when they have a chance to play old school arcade games. If you’d like to keep tabs on our free play events or visit us at one of our pop-ups, check out our Facebook page for events and updates.