The Rebirth Of The U.S. Arcade?

When one thinks of the traditional video game arcade, they may think of a narrow dimly lit neon room, crowded with an array of playable stand-up units, Skee-Ball, dollar-to-quarter changers, and an overall interior atmosphere that tries to look appealing so that younger audiences will be lured in. You'll occasionally see a crowd gather around a Dance Dance Revolution machine where experienced players will get a few minutes of fame in the shopping mall spotlight. A generic mix of aromas from the adjacent food court and sounds of pumped-in Kenny G mall muzak make their way into the arcade. A look at the arcade game selection makes a visitor ask, "Why aren't there any new games?" or "Can't I play this on my home console?"

Enter the revamped GameWorks, a chain of indoor amusement facilities that was originally founded by Sega, Dreamworks SKG and Universal Studios in 1996. However, the chain was wholly acquired last year by the Sega-Sammy Group, and the company is trying once again to take the stereotypical image of the U.S. arcade and completely change it. GameWorks has taken its seventeen facilities in the U.S. and added millions of dollars worth of new arcade games and expanded food and beverage offerings with its Arena Sports Bar & Grill concept.

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