Free game tokens among perks for startup contributors
Remember the days of the arcade, where kids carried handfuls of quarters to each machine, competing for the high score on Donkey Kong, Centipede or Galaga? David DiDomenico does, and he’s working to launch a local classic-style arcade, with video games, skeeball, pool and possibly a restaurant and bar.
“Growing up every kid wants to do something,” said DiDomenico. “I wanted to work in an arcade. We don’t have an old-fashioned classic arcade in town anywhere.”
DiDomenico, who’s also director of the Waters Park Renewal Society in North Akron, has started an Indiegogo page to try to raise startup money for the Rubber City Arcade, which could serve as a meeting place and offer young people and families a fun alternative for local entertainment.
While Gen Xers and older generations hold fond memories of hanging out at the arcade, it’s no secret that today’s youth are attached to console and computer gaming. When asked about what would motivate local youth to leave their home consoles in favor of a public arcade, DiDomenico said, “You can play your video games at home, but I want to draw people out of their homes. Not only are you going out and having a good time for cheap, but you can meet new people. You can hold contests for events, rent the place out, have parties. There’s only so much you can do at home.”
Traditional style arcades are experiencing a resurgence in many cities across the U.S., and companies like Dave and Busters may be found as close as the Cleveland area. But there are no longer any arcades in the Akron area, something DiDomenico hopes to change. He describes his proposal as a less commercial and more localized version of the popular national chain.
The project’s Indiegogo page offers some unique perks to contributions, all of which include free game tokens. Those who donate $10 will receive two tokens per visit for an entire year, and those who give $1,000 will receive such amenities as 15 tokens per visit for life and discounted food, beverage and party reservations.
DiDomenico is trying to raise $20,000, which he said could secure a venue and at least half of the machines needed (each machine costs between $500 and $1,000).
For location, he said he’d like to set up the arcade in North Hill, Elizabeth Park or the Chapel Hill area, but most importantly, he wants the business to launch in Akron.
“Not only are we keeping the money local, there are two businesses in town that fix and sell these machines,” he said.
Another boost to the profile of classic arcade games is the upcoming release of the Disney movie “Wreck It Ralph,” which centers around a video game character, who abandons his role as the villain in an arcade game.
To get more information or to make a contribution, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/203513.