Former Barn owners Aran and Shaun made a fantastic job of re-creating the look and feel of an amusement arcade from the 80s, but the massive overheads and lack of regular income forced the duo to call time on their risky but exciting venture earlier in the year.
Now it would seem that a couple of other arcade machine collectors are keen to pick up the baton from where Aran and Shaun left off, and are investigating setting up their own retro amusement arcade that would be open to the public.
Here's Luke Wells' recent post on the JAMMA Plus Forum;
"Myself + RGP are discussing renting a significantly large unit/warehouse to re-locate both our entire collections of machines (90-100 machines?) plus plenty of space to expand or share with others.
The location will be North West England, the location will have good transport links, with Blackpool being a good possibility. (You know, its like Blackpool is the daddy of retro arcades - plus rent is currently very reasonable due to volumes of empty property)
We have no intentions of trying to make a profit, or even to break even. We are happy to put our own money towards this venture, both for our benefit, and for the benefit of other arcade enthusiasts , however, it would not be sustainable for us to foot 100% of the costs all of the time. We need support from other enthusiasts to invest a small monthly fee, in exchange for semi-regular access to play games hang out for meets.
We are initially throwing around a figure of £10 per month per person to help support the arcade. (Hey if you can afford to reliably pledge more then please say so)
Machines will be a mix of Videogames, Pinball machines, Electro-mechanical and Mechanical arcade games.
Between us we have most of the "top" Atari and Sega titles as well as various other Taito/Konami etc in dedicated cabs, plus several Jamma cabs and several hundred working pcb's. I also have a handful of the "top" pinball titles as well as a good range of pins from all ages.
There would be regular small meetups for local members as well as annual / twice annaul BIG events like a Jamma+ birthday bash / uk pinball meet? etc probably quarterly 'big meets'"
Luke and RGP (Retro Games Party) are now looking for people to come forward with regular subscription-like donations to put towards the overheads of running a non profit retro amusement arcade. Currently, the monthly donations stand at a very respectable £200 per month, but more will no doubt be appreciated.
For more information on this project, you can find a lengthy discussion thread over on the JAMMA Plus Forum, which you get to by clicking HERE. The first post also shows those who have come forward with offers of donations, and how much they're willing to stump-up.
To get some idea of what this new arcade would look like, here's some footage I took last year, during one of the meets at the brilliant Arcade Barn.
It would be fantastic if Luke and RGP's plans come to fruition, and the UK finally got itself a permanent retro amusement arcade. There are a number scattered across the United States, and these seem to be extremely popular. Surely us Brits can accommodate and support at least one.
Please show your interest and get donating!