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TOPIC: arcade games

arcade games 14 Feb 2005 12:46 #9848

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions, with having arcade games set up as an additional source of revenue in a theatre. How about pinball??? Also wondered about having an ATM machine as well. Thanx
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Re: arcade games 14 Feb 2005 13:44 #9849

  • jimor
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The main thing to remember is that you are NOT an arcade; keep the noisy machines far enough away from the seating that no amount of machine and player's noise can be heard to interfere with the film enjoyment. This means at the other end of an immense lobby, or in some walled-off area to absorb sound.

Be realistic about the games and the 'element' that they may attract. If you are going to have an 'Open Lobby' where one does not present a ticket until up to the auditiorium doors so that the lobby can serve non-movie patrons as an eatery and game room, then you will have the problems of rowdy gangs entering at will, and sometimes boozed enough to assualt the machines, with pinball being the easiest to damage. I know; I used to repair the machines after they were hauled back smashed or damaged from such locations. The owner of the machines had a clause in the rental contract that required the location of the machines to pay for any damage to them, yet we frequently got $5,000 pin balls back with over a thousand dollars worth of damage! Since most pin makers are now out of business, the remaining machines are becoming valuable antiques with repair parts difficult or impossible to find. If you respect artistic games, they must be protected by something more than being in the possible view of the girl behind the concession stand. If you are determined to have pins, then put large moving/panning video cameras right near them but out of reach, with a large sign clearly saying: YOU ARE BEING RECORDED AS BEING AT THESE MACHINES AND LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO THEM. THE POLICE WILL DETAIN YOU AND WE WILL PROSECUTE YOU!

Perhaps videos or less easily damaged games are better for cinemas without direct, visible attendants able to admonish the youngsters (if they aren't likely to get knifed) or at least press the Police call button hidden under the counter, if your municipality allows automated calls for police or fire (many places no longer accept such).
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: arcade games 15 Feb 2005 01:12 #9850

  • Ken Layton
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I've been repairing coin-op games since 1976. Some of the best money-making locations we had on our game route were movie theaters. You need to keep a good eye on the machines to prevent break-ins/vandalism. A good theater manager never lets the games become a 'hang-out' area nor let's the kids walk all over him/her. There should be these signs posted: "Play games at own risk--no refunds", "Anyone causing a disturbance will be ejected/police called", and "Smile you are on video surveilance".

If operated properly and games well located you can have an excellent source of additional revenue. Keep the games clean, lit, and working. Stern Pinball is the only American pinball manufacturer still in business. Their current model is "Elvis Presley". As to finding parts for older machines I have no problem at all. There are several sources for reproduction & upgrade parts. Pinball Resource (www.pbresource.com) and Marco Specialties (www.marcospec.com) are excellent parts sources if you own your own machines.

I just rebuilt "Dr. Who" and a "Mousin' Around" pinballs last week with new parts from Marco Specialties.

[This message has been edited by Ken Layton (edited February 15, 2005).]
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Re: arcade games 15 Feb 2005 10:31 #9851

I definitely would have video surveillance in the game room, as well as a strong management presence.

Has anyone used any special soundproofing for these rooms to cut off noise from the mail lobby??? I was told ceiling panels work well ???
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Re: arcade games 15 Feb 2005 11:17 #9852

  • puzzlegut
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We have arcade games at our 4-screen and they seem to do pretty well for us. One guy owns 4 of the arcade games (one 2-person racer, two 2-person shooters, and one bowling game) and a company owns another game (love tester and grip tester). We split the profits 50/50 with both and if there is a problem with the machines, we call the number and they will take care it (although the guy that owns the 4 arcade games is usually slower to come and fix things).

Some of the people on here already made some good points. One being location of games. We have the games at one end of the lobby and the auditoriums are at the other far end of the lobby. Also the games aren't really noise (if anything the people playing them might be the only noisy thing). Of course if people are being noisy, you just need to keep on eye on them and make sure they keep quite.

Another thing that jimor pointed out was people coming in and making it a hang out spot for kids. We haven't a problem with this thus far. The majority of the people that play the games are those who come to watch the movie.

You also want to make sure that people don't linger around the games even when there are no movies are playing or when it's the end of the night. Usually on the weekends or any night where there are a lot of kids for the last set of movies, we will turn off the arcade games off so that the kids won't linger around after the movie is done and so that the employees can clean the auditoriums and not sit and "babysit" the kids.

Another thing is damage to the equipment. Like I said for us, the people that own the games will repair them if they are damaged. This past weekend, we had one of the seats on the racing game break. Hopefully it won't be too difficult to fix.

We've never had a pinball machine in the theater and I don't think we would want one. They do seem more likely to be broken. If you do get arcade games, I would suggest shooters or racing games. You will need to make sure that these games are appropriate for all ages because you don't want parents complaining that their child is playing a game with lots of blood and violence (i.e. Mortal Kombat). We want to get a crain game eventually and the guy who owns the 4 arcade games was suppose to bring in one for us but he has yet to do so.
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Re: arcade games 15 Feb 2005 12:19 #9853

  • Ken Layton
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If you have a game operator provide the machines you may have to sign a contract. That contract guarantees that the game operator will be the EXCLUSIVE & sole game operator in the location. A game operator needs to protect the investment he has in the game machines. Bringing in another operator in addition to an existing one is not kosher in the amusement game industry and can get you sued.

In many theater locations a pinball (no matter how old just so long as it works properly) will outgross video game (or several video games).

The reason your game operator may be slow to fix anything is that he's probably not happy with the fact you brought in another operator. Of course there's always the option of buying & operating all your own equipment (and Licenses!).

Many theaters turn off the games after the last movie(s) of the business day have started to keep kids from hanging around.

Regarding "crane" games. Here in Washington state they are considered a gambling device and as such are strictly regulated by the gambling commision. There are expensive and strict licenses required for them. If the crane game is owned by an amusement machine operator then the operator must pay a $500 a year (per machine) license fee AND the location must also pay a $500 a year license fee. If the location owns the machine outright (no game operator involved) then the location must pay a $1,000 a year license fee! This is in addition to to background checks of the game operator AND location owners. It is such a hassle to operate cranes here in Washington state that now only large national companies like SUGARLOAF can afford to run them.

[This message has been edited by Ken Layton (edited February 15, 2005).]
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Re: arcade games 15 Feb 2005 12:59 #9854

  • rodeojack
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I've had games in my business for probably 15 years, and having them here has been a positive experience for me with few negatives.

The company Ken Layton manages repair services for owns the games I have in my place(s). I used to own my own, but never had enough time to keep them working. Ken & company did such a great job for me that I eventually sold them the games I had & let them worry about maintenance, rotation, etc.

I did not put pinball games in my indoor theatre... mainly because of concerns about mechanical noise, the space they take up and frequent customer "overexuberance". In my particular location, the "standup" games worked best.

I used a pinball game at my drive-in however, and it was extremely popular.

I don't know exactly what to think about how important the age of a game should be to a theatre operator. In my case, the customer has paid for admission before he gets to where the games are. My games are there more to keep people occupied while they wait for their food... or their companions/kids to use the facilities. So, the games are an attractive diversion, and the age of them doesn't seem to matter.

However, if your setup is such that people can just walk in and spend money on your games, newer models might attract more of them.

Perhaps starting with a combination of newer, recent and classic versions would be a good way to evaluate what works well for you. An amusement company with a good rotation system should be able to set you up with a suitable combination that can be adjusted down the road.

Finally, if you decide to have an outside company manage your games, consider the percentage split that they initially offer you. Arcade games are expensive... it takes a lot of quarters to pay them off & keep them going. By the time they're paid off, the maintenance curve might make them somewhat more costly to keep going... and the original owner might also see this period as when he makes his return on investment. Still, there might be some wiggle room available for you here, and you might negotiate a better split if you find you don't need the latest models. Don't get greedy though. Everyone needs to be happy to make these arrangements work.
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Re: arcade games 15 Feb 2005 13:18 #9855

  • jimor
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Are ceiling panels good SOUNDPROOFING? No, because they are NOT soundproofing. They are anti-sound-REFLECTING panels, and therefore do little to stop sound TRANSMISSION. You do want to stop too much sound reflection within an area (reverberation), but more importantly you want to stop sound TRANSMISSION through walls and ceiling plenums to other areas, and the only thing that stops sound transmission is mass = weight proportionate to the highest levels of the sound expected. If the sounds are only tinkling, then heavy drapery may be enough, but if the sound is booming or screaming, you will need mass such as concrete block or brick. Poured concrete is best of all, but expensive. HEAVY doors with good edge seals are also necessary if it is a room opening to the lobby. It must also not have common air ducts to the auditorium since these transmit sound easily and would bypass all your heavy walls and doors.

People are always going to be somewhat noisy around games, so games are not always a good mix unless you have the room to segregate them far from the cinemas, but then will there be anyone there to really watch them moment by moment? Fights around games are common and can start up in an instant; do you have the means to stop them before someone is hurt and/or damage done? Be realistic.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: arcade games 15 Feb 2005 14:35 #9856

the walls are concrete on all side adjacent to the lobby entrance. Could put a door on the inside that swings into the game room but was considering leaving it open for view. Maybe installing 1 inch acoustic panels would absorb some of the sound fron the games by putting them on the wall facing the lobby entrance...
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Re: arcade games 16 Feb 2005 00:02 #9857

  • trackfood
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Remember too, the games have a volume control on them. If they are too loud turn them down. I am all for games. Get them from a reputable vending company in your area, they will put them there, service them, and you'll get half the revenue. You make money for no investment, and you keep people happy giving them something to do in your lobby.
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Re: arcade games 18 Feb 2005 23:00 #9858

  • jacker5
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I was talking to a friend who has a twin and he said the best thing to do is lower the volume and keep the games on a time limit with minimum loitering.
He also was lucky enough to have the store next to him go up for sale and he bough out the space and added tit to the theatre.He turned it into a separate arcade and did very well. So the games were separate from the theater and offered tickets for prizes. Did very well on weekends and all summer long.
He found this answer solved all problems and kids love to spend money at arcades especially when you collect tickets for prizes.
But not everyone has the luxury of the extra space as a I described so will have to follow the valid points made here!

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