If the 12-year-old version of yourself still exists somewhere inside your body, it’s going to freak out the first time it walks into Arkadia Retrocade, a vintage video game arcade set to open later this month in Fayetteville.
Owner Shea Mathis has spent the past year scouring Craigslist, eBay and area auctions to collect nearly 75 vintage arcade games. Now, he has enough to line the walls of a large space a few doors down from Ozark Natural Foods at 1478 N. College Ave. in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center.
And if you’re someone who played vintage arcade games as a kid, you won’t believe how many old games he’s found.
Titles include: Burgertime, Vs. Excitebike, Gauntlet, Ms. Pacman, Tiger-Heli, Karate Champ, Caliber Fifty, Galaxian, Frogger, Final Blow, The Simpsons, Galaga, Rastan, Double Dragon, Double Dragon II, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, Mario Bros, Astyanax, Zaxxon, Championship Sprint, Lock-On, Asteroids, Time-Pilot, Buggy Challenge, Mr. Do, Gondomania, Silkworm, Rampage, Tempest, Shooting Master, WWF Superstars, Operation Thunderbolt, Sunset Riders, Konami, X-Men, Spiderman, Quarterback, Ironman, Super Offroad, Tetris, Toobin, Skull & Crossbones, Digdug, Hangon, Pengo, Streetfighter II, Track & Field, Gore, Willow, Jungle King, Thunder Blade, Invaders, Crazy Kong and Battletoads. And those are just the ones we were able to write down during our visit last week.
In addition to the above stand-alone arcade games, Mathis said the center of the space will have an elevated deck with at least a half dozen cocktail table games, plus a couch and bean bag area with a console TV for playing a rotation of vintage video game systems.
“That area will be set up kind of like your dad’s living room, and you’re rocking out on some vintage system, hogging the TV,” he said. “Also, we’ll have a featured console, so it might be Atari 2600, or it might be Intellivision, or maybe it’s the Sega Master System.”
The arcade will also have a monthly featured game complete with a scoreboard to track high scores on several of the popular games.
Mathis said his business model is pretty simple. A $5 charge at the door will get you into to the arcade, and includes unlimited gameplay for the rest of the day. He said he’ll even stamp your hand if you need to leave to grab lunch, so you won’t have to pay again when you return. The arcade will also have two party rooms available for rent, and while there are no plans to serve alcohol, a snack bar stocked with candy, chips, drinks, and other game-playing fuel will be available.
Operating hours for the arcade haven’t yet been determined, but the plan is to be open Wednesday through Sunday each week.
Mathis said he hopes to be officially open for business in a matter of weeks.
“We’re going to try our darndest to be open by the 18th (of October), maybe the 21st,” Mathis said. “We can’t wait for people to see this place.”