i could save the arcade if i'd just get a business plan and some investors together.
* arcades are not for kids anymore, and not for mall food-courts anymore. The average gamer as they say is 20+, and the tastes of 20-30yrolds is the most design-driving factor.
- the location should be in an area walking distance from bars/latenite-eats
- couches, couches, couches. lounge coffeeshops have come out of nowhere in the last 10 years, and now have a presence in just about every small town in America. Videogames can be VERY social, and there's a need to be filled by providing a surrogate greater-living-room.
- nice tvs, this is where the place really should establish itself as worth the extra money over playing @ home. most ppl don't have HDTV, but most modern videogames take advantage of it, certainly more than tv does with only a few channels.
- computers are not the focus, there are already LAN places, they're a pretty expensive up-front investment, and need a constant attention to maintain. That is not to say they should be excluded, the place should provide network ports and a wireless LAN, but the hardware-focus would be consoles.
- advertize by doing contests / tournaments / month-long rankings
- a small kitchen/snackbar/maybecoffee
- i'd like to see a MAME cabinet or two too. honestly, i think i'd have to get a legitimate quarter-taking one instead of MAME in order to satisfy liscensing. i've seen legit ones in different places already. it WOULD be possible to simply have a stand-up xbox/playstation in a cabinet though, and that's fine, all the good fighting games you want joysticks for are released on console.
* major obstacles (besides my inaction)
- #1 LISCENSING LISCENSING LISCENSING LISCENSING LISCENSING
videogames come with onload frikkin warnings that they're for home use. that means technically you can't make a business that offers paid useage of the game. you can cheat it by making the game technically free and instead charge for something else very material.. like a 5$ cookie + hour of gaming free.. admission isn't an option. i've gone so far as to contact microsoft about how to pursue commercial game liscenses, but they've never even responded.
- #2 an awesome pricing scheme. i know i mentioned this above because it depends on how the liscensing goes, but presuming all options, videogames are still fairly immatterial.. it's tough to estimate ahead of time all the costs to determine what pricing would keep the business financially afloat.. I think the easiest way would be paid hourly on admission, but i'd prefer a way to include reasonable loitering until successful enough so that space is at a premium. designing a hardware solution so that playing requited a card, or hiring a bouncer to keep track both seem expensive and unpleasant. my best idea so far is to make a pin similar to the LED coasters resteraunts give you when you're aiting for a table. you must have a pin while there to play, (thereby allowing loiterers) and flashies go off on timing.
*OTHER POTENTIAL ADVANTAGES
-hacked consoles. if there ever would be a legitimate useage of our govt-given right to back up our purchased media, such a business's wear and tear on gameDVDs would be it. I'd rather circumvent the process entirely, and host games, both xbox and playstation, on the harddrives so the only possible wear and tear would be on controllers. plus, if liscensing could be arranged conductively, i could picture needing purchase only one disc/commercial-liscense and distributing it ourselves through the in-store network to each console capable of playing. there is no reason this couldn't extend should there ever be a chain of stores.. release-day, 40 machines in 4 stores in 4 states could play the game with very little effort to arrange.
-with a little extra programming, potentially even a tie-in with an id card, accounting of who, what game, how long, whatever else could easily be aggregated. should the store ever be a chain, i imagine it wouldn't be hard to defray much of the cost to the customer by selling that information to game companies. picture a nation-wide customer-feedback network.
-potential partnership with other local retailers. i would most especially like to see one with HDTV retailers. If such a store would lend a rotation of floor models, I would most happily put a HUGE poster above each explaining it's features, price, and where to buy it.
i've got more to this idea yet, but i'm a lil tired o writing right now..