Saturday, November 24, 2007
We drove all day through Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri to land in Springfield. Here are some quick impressions of the town. It must be the strip mall capital of the world. That is all there is, strip malls with blazing bright signs attempting to draw customers in. The signs are getting better, or at least more annoying. We drove past a couple of sleepy properties which had fancy LED full video screens promoting their stores. Also, downtown is indistinguishable from the rest of Springfield. Their downtown, surprisingly, looks much like most major urban centers, however, in that half of the businesses are up for lease, and it looks tired and run down, with a scattering of condos for sale. Yes, even Springfield didn't pass up the condo craze.
The 1984 Arcade was busy, very busy. At any given time, there were maybe 10 to 15 games free out of around 50. It was pretty easy to play what you wanted though, as there weren't too many people who stuck to one game. Because it's Springfield, the lease must not be that bad for the place, and the business model seems solid. Just charge at the door, and let people go nuts. Arcade games are pretty durable, even the old games, but you have to watch for the moving parts, like buttons and joysticks. So, I think it wouldn't be so bad for this model to expand elsewhere. The traditional arcade model fails because people have games at home which offer a more personal experience. I've never thought that an emulation, or even a classic game on a different platform was quite as good as the original. I think people would flock to a place where they could play older games, which have quality game play and spend a few hours mashing buttons. Of course, I'd like to see a 1992 arcade, with TMNG games, or various Simpsons games in addition to classics from the 80's.
If you are anywhere near Springfield, the 1984 Arcade is worth it.