austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Another factory's been knocked down but nobody ever complains

We'd overheard at our first league ominous rumors about the Arcade, which hosts our second pinball league. The place might be in danger financially, and I hate to say but I understand why. It makes sense the Arcade might be doomed, or at least need to do some major revisions in the near future.

The core problem is the place has that air of a place that's run as the owner's hobby, rather than a business. The big, obvious thing is the floor space has been taken over --- more each time --- with out-of-service machines. It's not that the pinball machines and vintage video games are out of service more than one might expected; these look to be new games that are coming in, or are being restored, or might otherwise be put on the playing floor. A few of them is good for a vintage arcade, as they tease what might be coming next, but at the most recent league night, and I am not exaggerating, we could not get all the players together for the introductory announcements and instructions. I am honestly unsure whether it was not a fire hazard.

But there's subtler things too, for example, that there's no food or drinks. They have some canned sodas, and used to turn on a popcorn machine but that's far too buried behind disconnected Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator or Smash TV to use anymore. Apparently it's possible to order pizza, by which they mean you go to the counter and they have pizza delivered, but that's the sort of hack you resort to the first month you're in business, not when you've been around a year-plus.

What's wonderful about it is wonderful, not least there's a huge number of pinball machines in good shape, and another floor of vintage video games I'm incompetent to play. But try to imagine being a parent looking for a place for their kid's ninth birthday party. It just doesn't make sense, and that's such a shame, because I really want the place to thrive.

Trivia: Profit-sharing plans amounted to more than 20 percent of Hershey company employees' pay in 1923. It would increase to 35 percent by 1924. Source: Hershey: Milton S Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams, Michael D'Antonio.

Currently Reading: New Jersey: A History of the Garden State, Editors Maxine N Lurie, Richard Veit.

Tags: pinball

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