Keeper of the Plans

Changes coming to popular Old Town arcade

The Arcade is about to get an upgrade.

The popular retro-game arcade, which opened at 139 N. Mead last December, is making some improvements to coincide with its one-year anniversary.

The Arcade, which currently has 15 pinball cabinets, is adding 15 32-inch television screens to be mounted vertically above every cabinet. Each TV will be connected to a camera providing a live feed of the playing field for that pinball machine.

Derek Sorrells, co-owner of The Arcade, said the screens allow people to watch pinball gamers “without actually looking over their shoulder.”

“There are very serious pinball players here in Wichita — there are about 50 of them,” Sorrells said. “One of the things they like to do is watch each other to see what types of tips and tricks they can actually get from watching other players that are better.”

Sorrells said he hopes the screens might also attract younger gamers, as pinball has typically been a game to attract older players.

“We’re looking to get that younger generation, who are used to playing Xbox or PlayStation games, and trying to get them to play pinball,” he said. “They’ll see what they’re missing when it comes to a mechanical game over an electronic game.”

In addition to the screens, the arcade’s concrete floor is being covered with a retro black-and-neon carpet, which glows under blacklight.

The layout of the arcade is also being switched up as part of these renovations, he said.

The Arcade, which started with 63 retro game cabinets, now has 77 of them — including popular titles like “Pac-Man,” “Galaga” and “Donkey Kong,” to lesser-known cabinets.

Sorrells said the business has been more successful than he’d imagined in its first year, though he doesn’t plan on expanding anytime soon.

“We’re very thankful to the people of Wichita that have come out and made us that (successful),” he said. “While I wish we had more space — we get asked all the time for Skee-Ball, basketball and some hoops games — there are so many things we could have, but space, unfortunately, is the one thing we don’t.”

The Arcade will open in its new configuration on Thursday.

For more information on The Arcade, visit www.thearcadewichita.com or its Facebook page.

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