The Rise in Popularity for Pop Up Arcades

Arcade Game Room Rental

Phoenix Amusements has been around before arcade games were even invented. We watched and participated in the growth and evolution of the amusement industry into what it has become today. That is why we want to make sure that arcade games were around for future generations to be able to play. It’s no secret that the large arcades from the 80’s and 90’s have become an endangered animal. As they’ve slowly disappeared, it’s gotten harder and harder for people to find arcade games, but this scarcity has created a silver lining for our industry. It’s led to the rise of the pop up arcade for special events.

Popup Arcade with Retro Arcades

If you were lucky enough to have a neighborhood arcade as in a traditional arcade like in the 2nd season of Stranger Things, you’re one of the few.
An arcade with only arcade games will do well when it first opens, but traffic tends to drop over time usually because food and liquor are not served. If you don’t have a local arcade, there are other options.

In your search for classic arcades, you find out that there will be a temporary one at an event. People will go out of their way to show up, because they only have a short window to relive the classic arcade experience.


Strange Saturday Flyer for Aug 10th Event

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an incredible amount of interest from conferences, public markets, sporting venues, pop up store fronts and other large events for short term popup arcades.  One such event is being held this Saturday, August 10th at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  Tying into their “Georgia on my Screen Exhibit”, they have created their own popup arcade with our classic games from the 80s with a few of our pinballs!  All arcade games set to free-play.

In other situations, our clients use the pop up arcade to enhance the customer experience so they’ll set them on free play and then watch as the masses show up to play Street Fighter 2, Ms. Pacman and pinballs.  Since our beginnings, there has always been requests for pop-up arcades, but when our customers started asking for them more often, it became clear that they were a hit.  So we increased our inventory of retro games to offer a wide variety for event game rental.

For us, providing the popup arcades has been a lot of fun. Since our company began offering to rent out games for events or by the month, we don’t always get to see people play the arcade games.  But when we staff the popup arcades, we get a chance to see how excited all (and kids at heart) get when they have a chance to play old school arcade games.

One of the perks of running an arcade rental company is that we get invited to a lot of parties. Whether you’re having a wedding or an employee appreciation event, arcade games are a good way to entertain large number of guests.

Whenever we provide games to an event, I always like to find out which ones are the favorites.  Considering how many games that we offer, and that most have been all, but abandoned, it warms my heart to see people play them.  When we do get ahold of a true classic, we “shop them” or we finish restoring them.  We try to keep the games as true to the original for that retro arcade feel.  Its one of the reasons we’re sought after for movies and tv productions requiring true 80s classics or 90s retro games.

Sometimes it warms my heart more than others. Recently, we provided 10 arcade games for a school event.  After the event, I talked with the student who organized the event and she absolutely loved all the arcade games.  She was amazed at how many students showed up and stayed to play all the games.


Photo of Guest watching other playing Cruisin World at College event

Like some teenagers and young adults, a long attention span or social interaction sometimes is limited.  At some point during our conversation, she explained that she wasn’t sure if the event would be a hit especially with the freshmen.  She explained that as the night progressed, more and more students arrived and dived into playing the arcade games.

She said once the event started, the students played the games and then while they waited, they watched others play. It was then they were able to meet new students.  She said this was the main purpose of the event, “to get students out of their rooms, meeting and talking with other students.” I know that some people do really well in social situations, but a big chunk of people need to warm up before they can start talking to a stranger. Whether you’re two co-workers bonding over who can beat who at Street Fighter or a new student, arcade games are a great way to bring people together. While we marvel at the meteoric pace of our technological advancement as a society, many recognize a need to connect and interact with others. What better way than to retro game.