Arcade Club operations manager Jason Rayner has cited the “emotional connection” that classic cabinets generate is the secret to retro gaming’s enduring appeal, as the brand plans a major expansion of its Leeds venue.
The three-floor Abbey Retail Park arcade will add skee-ball machines, pool tables and a widened F&B offer when it extends into a recently-purchased neighbouring unit, enhancing the enduring appeal of the 350 existing cabinets.
“You get some blokes in their 40s who have not seen these games for 20 or 30 years and they get quite emotional,” Raynor told Leeds Live. “They’ve got a bit of a connection to them.”
“It takes people back to a time in their life when people didn’t have any problems and they didn’t have to worry about paying their mortgage and their bills or anything like that. You just played games and had a good time.”
The expansion will convert a former Carphone Warehouse unit into a new gaming floor, allowing the Leeds site to take the title of Europe’s largest arcade from sister venue The Arcade Club Bury.
Despite the stresses of the expansion, Rayner noted the magic of the machines is still not lost on him, adding, “sometimes I walk around and I think ‘this place is incredible’.”