Location Watch, new arcade venues banner

Welcome to Location Watch, our series of posts at AH that cover recently-launched arcades across the world. If you’re curious to find out which new arcade businesses have opened up lately, this is the place to be. This covers the recent grand openings for out-of-home entertainment establishments such as arcades, bar/arcades, retrocades, Family Entertainment Centers (FECs), route arcades and so on.

The last Location Watch from March can be found here; openings were slow in March/April, thus we had to wait. This is not much of a surprise – I’ve had more than one operator asking me how business has been lately and I’m apparently not alone in seeing a rather sharp downturn. One distributor I talked to said how their US sales lines went silent in May, most of their inquiries coming from overseas. It’s not a good way to start the summer – but its not all bad. FECs like Hollywood Bowl are making bank.

Thanks as always to everyone who has reached out to us with news of some of these arcades, including Nsm, Project, S1ckH4nds and Ted on the AH Discord, Michael L. on Facebook, plus the regular updates from the likes of RePlay and InterGame. Once again, if you know of any new openings that you’d like us to cover, please drop the site a line and we’ll try to update this post or feature them in the next one.

And of course, if any of these locations are near you, then do more than just follow them on social media – go out and give them a chance to earn your business!

North America

F1 Arcade (Boston, MA)

We have a few of unusual arcade concepts leading our story this time, starting with one that had begun in Europe and is now in the States. F1 Arcade is an official Formula 1 venue, providing food & drink with F1 racing simulators. Aside from the F1 license, it’s also unusual in that it has no typical arcade drivers – just their own F1 branded simulators. Granted, we haven’t had any F1 style racer in quite a long time, although it’d be cool if they had a nod with Pole Position II or a Final Lap on hand. That said, they also have something that looks a lot like LAI Games’ Speed of Light and possible some other creations they did to entertain guests for now.

F1 Arcade

Gatcha (Queens, NYC)

Then down in Queens, New York, the flagship location of the newly emerging “Asian barcade” business Gatcha has opened. We’ve had plenty of bar/arcades based on the traditional American concept of an arcade; this adds an Asian flare to the idea – but what does that involve in reality? In a reflection of where the big business is at there these days, Gatcha do have lots and lots of those neon cranes, with nary a candy cabinet in sight. But there are some things that stop it from being completely devoted to them – an interesting selection of rhythm, racing and shooting games out of Japan and China, many of which appear to have been bought directly from Wahlap.

Hasbro Game Room (Rutherford, NJ)

For the other, the big brand IP licensing is in full effect here with this location-based entertainment center based around the concept of a massive Hasbro arcade. Though not everything in it uses their games (there’s some standard Skee Ball and giant crane installations), existing pieces based on the properties they own of course provide the bulk of their game lineup. These naturally include Sega Amusements’ Bop It Arcade, ICE’s Monopoly Roll-N-Go, Bay Tek’s Connect 4 Giant, and Adrenaline’s Hungry Hungry Hippos and Twister Arcade, as well as what appears to be a few bespoke creations (Sorry!, Trivial Pursuit) made just for this location. Read more about the place in this Northjersey.com report from earlier on in May.

Xepher Arcade (Durham, NC)

For more rhythm game action in the Eastern US, there is Xepher Arcade in Durham, North Carolina has officially opened to the public. Xepher Arcade is ran by a eponymous famous ex-YouTuber (if 117k subscribers on a intermittently active channel can be counted as famous 😛). From their official accounts and backstory given it looks like many of these cabinets (Beatmania IDX, Maimai, Pop’n Music, Wacca, Jubeat and more) were originally available to play privately in a owner’s garage before, but now they have been placed on location for all in a place specifically for rhythm gamers, by rhythm gamers. Always good to see these cases, as these machines were always meant for that kind of purpose at the end of the day:

Super Rad Arcade Bar (Lynchburg, VA)

With a name straight out of the 1990s, this two-floored bar/arcade in Lynchburg, Virginia has plenty of games from that decade to boot, as well as a few from the 80s and 2000s to make for a count of around 60 overall. This one has apparently been in the works since earlier in the decade during COVID times, and has fortunately all panned out pretty nicely for the owners now. As well as an Intergame report, local news has a good report and video on it here.

The Warp Zone (Sioux City, IA)

Another new independently-ran bar/arcade, this time in Sioux City, Iowa. Though smaller than Super Rad their games also include a host of retro cabinets and classic pinballs (South Park, Terminator 2 Judgement Day, and Demolition Man, as seen here in this Facebook post and its below attached photo), plus some console setups too. More details are available on The Warp Zone via their own official website and this local Siouxland news site report.

Side Quest Arcades (Garland, TX)

Thanks to the great Arcade Random Posting and one of their followers for the tip on these guys. Dallas has got a new arcade at the Firewheel Town Center mall. Side Quest continue the trend of a location name referencing video game ubiquity, and have a pretty expansive lineup. What looks neat is that they’ve put thought into the both the layout and selection, placing rare flight cockpit games like Konami’s Solar Assault and Sega Strike Fighter together:

Leaderboard Arcade #2 (Jacksonville, FL)

Jacksonville is becoming a hotter spot for arcades (see also a giant new FEC announcing they’ll open there down in the Coming Soon section), with this bar/arcade joining the fray. Aside from the art and a bunch of TVs lining the walls, the game selection is certainly unique. It mixes retro American games (Tapper, Q*Bert, etc.) with recent indie games (Cosmotrons & Enter The Gungeon: House of the Gundead), then a ton of imported Japanese games, including a row of Japanese sit-down cabs all setup VS style (I think APM3s?). It feels like they are looking to recreate what Round1 USA has, just with a more mom & pop kind of atmosphere.

Fun Zone Arcade (Vacaville, CA)

Three fresh joints in California to finish us off here for the US. This new Fun Zone Arcade location is an interesting one of these; like in Gatcha, there seems to be a lot of contemporary Asian influence in the game selections. One that immediately grabs your attention is the massive old Pikachu kiddie ride by the window, though I guess the Mario and Luigi mascots on the StepManiaX are also vying for that attention from children in the below video, heh:

City Fun Center (Poway, CA)

City Fun Center over in Poway has got a much more standard current arcade selection adhering more to D&Bs than most of the above locations, but that’s fine sometimes (and definitely the safer bet business-wise). Besides all the ticket redemption, their video options seem to feature the usual big games from Raw Thrills (Walking Dead, Fast & Furious, Minecraft etc), but also a Let’s Go Island! deluxe from Sega and a small but sweet retro alley:

Level Up by Bandai Namco (Los Angeles, CA)

Lastly, we have got something of a slight surprise. You may recall that around the peak of pandemic instability a few years back, Bandai Namco sold off their operations business in North America to a few different companies (the former Level 257 in Schaumburg, IL went to Genda, other locations were picked up by NEN and At The Pier). Since then it seems that they’ve slightly regretted this, and have been making tentative moves back into locations by partnering with Japanese supermarkets for game corners and opening Gachapon franchises. This is bigger than those though – at The Fields LA in the BMO Stadium, they have furnished a new branded Pac-Man arcade. Check it out in this video from Bamco themselves.

FEC Openings & Updates

D&B Cementing International Presence More – Good news for their expansion plans. Have to wonder if they’ll make another attempt at places they tried and failed in many moons ago, like the UK

D&B Opens Back Home In Port St. Lucie, FL – and Scranton, PA

D&B Also Hitting Snags With That Betting Plan – On the other hand, some bad news for them. Not particularly surprising though.

Round1USA Opens At The South Premium Outlets In Las Vegas, NV – Only arcade games, no added bowling or food facilities. Sounds like more of these locations will be coming from R1US soon

Round1USA Closes Their Jefferson Mall Location In Louisville, KY – For the sake of some balance on R1USA too, an unfortunate closure

New Chuck E. Cheeses Opens in Las Vegas, NV

CEC Confirms All Their Animatronics Are GoingOr Are They?

Family Entertainment Group Opens Carousel Arcade In Lake Huron, MI

Ultimate Arena Opens In Magnolia, TX

Queen And Rook In Philadelphia Reopens With More Arcades

Circus Park Official, Mexico City, MX

CastleCade Madison Moves To A Bigger Space – I might have missed when they added the MT5DX+… they also have an exA and some other Japanese imports

Europe

Continue Arcades (Plymouth, UK)

From compiling these Location Watch posts, it’s often seemed that there have always been sleepier parts of the UK for new arcades in recent years, like the Midlands (where AH helper Ted unfortunately hails from…) and the South Coast. The latter at least gets somethin to shout about now though, with this new freeplay location in Plymouth, Continue Arcades. It appears to have a focus on big newer experience games (Electrocoin’s Skill Shooter, StepManiaX, Time Crisis 5) but also a few older pieces in the same vein (Manx TT, Alpine Racer 2, Star Wars Trilogy), in addition to some joystick classics and a console setup area. Their official website and Facebook are here and here to view if any of our UK readers are interested.

Funbox (Gravity Max Westfield Stratford, UK)

A rising urban entertainment center chain in Europe right now is Gravity, who have just launched their third Max location in the UK after openings for Wandsworth and Liverpool. Since 2022 their Funbox arcade areas have been under the same ownership as Sega Amusements, and this is borne out in their biggest installation yet, as alongside select product by UNIS, Bandai Namco and others, most of the recent games we’ve seen out of SAI (Apex Rebels, VR Agent, Storm Rider 2 etc) are there. Fittingly for a big location, there is also Sega’s big SDX versions of Mission: Impossible Arcade, House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, and best of all, the huge four car OutRun 2 SP. Both Toby and Level Up Arcade snapped some good photos.

La Tête Dans Les Nuages (Paris, France)

It’s not every day that we hear about new locations out of France, yet one of their longest-standing arcade chains has been busy recently. If you haven’t heard of La Tête Dans Les Nuages, they got their start in the mid 1990s with some very lucrative backing from the likes of Formula 1 driver Alain Prost and Sega Amusements France (yes, such a company just for that country once existed at Sega). They expanded quickly across France, but that soon came at a cost in the late 90s/early 00s industry turmoil. Despite several closing during that time and the loss of their big name partners, the business hung in there, and has been opening some new branches lately. This latest one in a Paris shopping center is now their eighth.

The House Of Fun (Geel, Belgium)

To France’s neighbors in Belgium now, where there is surprisingly not just one but two new arcades to speak of. Information on these comes courtesy of Arcade Belgium, of course 🙂 The first of these, The House of Fun in Geel, has a few Raw Thrills games in Super Bikes 3, NERF and Space Invaders Frenzy, alongside the omnipresent Mario Kart GP DX from Bandai Namco and Adrenaline’s NFS Heat Takedown for more, slightly newer racing fun.

Smash Arcade (Brussels, Belgium)

This second Belgian location hasn’t been named after LAI Games’ recent release, nor does it have it, but there is a lot of other product out of China instead. Smash seem to like their UNIS games as they have those in abundance (e.g. Fantasy Soccer, Space Invaders Counter Attack, Ultra Moto VR) but also a few Ace Amusement pieces. They even have a couple of InJoy Motion’s games, though not sure if those have came from a certain Chinese pirate…

FEC Openings & Updates

Namco Funscape Romford Gets An Upgrade

King Pins Opening Second Manchester Location

New Pizza And Arcades In Golf Fang, Cardiff, Wales

Funstation Milton Keynes Hold Charity Event With UDC

Chinese DanceRush Stardom At Game-INN, Belgium – Slightly late and also via Arcade Belgium, but interesting to see one of the legitimate Chinese cabinets of it get imported instead of the clones

Disneyland Paris Closes Their Old Disney Village Arcade – Noteworthy for the long-standing association it once had with Sega Amusements, being the first location they ever opened in Europe

Asia/Middle East/Oceania

World Game Circus – Club EXA2 (Tachikawa, Tokyo)

This one over in Japan is not exactly a wholly new opening, but is worth some special attention. One of the biggest deals in independent game centers on the periphery of Tokyo is World Game Circus in Tachikawa, best known for those who keep track of the scene there for its sprawling size across several buildings in one area, with different games within them. They already had an exA-Arcadia-branded space by the name of Club EXA, and as the title of this new one suggests, they now have a second with some relocated games. It’s not just exA news on their front either, as they have also recently acquired a new APM3 cabinet and the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure battle royale game, but it’s cool to see the representation for them most:

GiGO Bandai City (Niigata, Japan)

Away from Tokyo the regional arcade scenes in Japan aren’t as big now, despite some very notable exceptions keeping the flame burning. In places like Niigata there are few enough that any new opening is huge news for them, as this new GiGO location must be. From the sounds of things they are doing something that Sega hadn’t done for years by opening there soon; though Sega did have one or two places in Niigata when they still ran the operations side, like Joypolis, they all appear to have closed many years back due to harsh conditions. So it’s apparently a bit of achievement for Genda GiGO now to re-enter this area (and this is one of their locations which isn’t just completely cranes, as exterior murals show):

FEC Openings & Updates

Taito Station Kashiwa Reopens As SUPER WAVE – This marks another entry by pachinko parlor operator Maruhan into this industry (they had opened a crane-only location before). Nice promotional artwork on it too

GiGO Reopens The Second Floor Of Their Shinjuku West Exit Location

Crowdfunding To Rebuild Secret Base After The Fire

TimeZone Opens THREE New Locations In Singapore – And here I thought that Singapore was already packed with arcades. Might they have the highest arcade location density on Earth?

The Game Palacio (India)

Masti Zone (Mohali, India) – Bonus video. From what I’ve observed, this is their nicest looking location yet

TimeZone Philippines Gateway Mall 2

Cool Space Play Opens In China

Are any of these locations near you? Then be sure to go out and visit them! Doors can’t stay open on the basis of likes and hashtags.

Coming Soon

River City Arcade Comes To Danville, VA

Second Round1USA For Phoenix, AZ

Third F1 Arcade Bar Coming For The USA

‘Epic’ Entertainment Arcade For Lehigh Valley

Elev8 Fun Announces 5th Location, Coming To Jacksonville, FL

Free Play Arcade #3 Coming To Taunton, MA

Emoji Planet Concept Coming Soon From UNIS

Firework Shop Becoming Arcade In Totton, UK

Arcade Opposite Holiday Park For Brean, UK

Hollywood Bowl In Colchester, UK

An “Entertainment City” In India

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