Finding My Place in the Gaming World: Is There a Place for an Arcade Today?

Posted on Friday, June 26, 2009 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

This is sort of the journal entry of a soul searching individual. You see, I have no idea what I should do with the rest of my life as far as a job goes. I'm happily married, and have a beautiful daughter, but keeping the bills paid has become more and more an exercise in repetition. It's come to the point that I've decided I need to find something I enjoy doing, instead of just doing whatever comes along. My only jumping off point in this search, is my love of video games.

The world of video games is a big beast though, so where do I fit? Since I was little, I loved writing. I would create characters and tell stories of their adventures, I would even plot out and write sequels to my favorite games (not the perverted kinds). Around high school that all died down, but now I wonder if I could find a place in the struggling video game journalism field. It's the reason this whole website exists actually, so that I can get as much practice writing as possible and maybe get noticed while doing so.

Whether or not that pans out, there's another side of games that I want to explore. My family has the small business owner spark running all through it. From my fathers athletic store, to my uncles men's clothing store, to their fathers painting business, the Young's have always tried their hand at owning businesses. I definitely have that spark, and in searching for a business that I would want to run, I thought of video games.

My small town has very little to do in it, in fact most Saturday nights during high school were spent hanging out in 24 hour gas stations for my friends and I. If you weren't uncool like us though, you drank somewhere, or did worse. I would love to combine my fondness for video games, with a business that might give kids in my town a place to hangout, and an arcade is my best idea to do that. The only question is, can an arcade thrive in this day and age?

Before I got married and my income was still expendable, I got right to work achieving this dream. I hopped on eBay and before long I had a coin-op pool table and 4 arcades, Space Invaders Part II housed in a Space Invaders Deluxe machine, Captain America stuffed into a generic 2 player cabinet, a 1970's OXO pinball, and the unique but failed experiment that was Hyperball, a blend of video game and pinball that I can't get enough of.

But now I'm forced to pay bills instead of buy new machines, so the next step is a much harder one to make. I need to go back to school, as well as start searching for a better paying job that affords me some amount of extra income, and once I have that to fall back on, dive in head first by getting a loan to get a ton more machines and a building for them to go. I'm just not sure if I can take that step with the sinking feeling that it will ultimately fail.

I could bail out now and just sell Captain America on eBay and OXO to my dad (he's a nut for pinball machines of that era), and then keep the others for myself, but I'll always kick myself for not trying. So its do or die time. I don't know how it will work out, but I have to at least try. Let's just hope my town appreciates me trying to keep their kids out of trouble, and supports it.

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