Games from the defunct Avalon Mall arcade find new life in Mount Pearl
When the Avalon Mall Starcade closed its doors last month, many thought it was game over for arcades in Newfoundland.
But one local business owner is giving those doubters cause for pause.
Walter Matena is co-owner of the GForce Funderdome in Mount Pearl, a family entertainment centre.
“Our main attraction is the go-karts,” said Matena. “We have everything from miniature golf to redemption gaming and classic arcade games.”
Although the Funderdome boasts a sizeable indoor go-kart track as well as an arcade and multiple party rooms, Matena and co-owner Kieley Hickey want to expand. There are currently plans for miniature golf, a liquor license and an adult lounge.
After hearing about the Starcade’s closure, he purchased many of the games to bolster his own business.
According to Matena, there’s a misconception of why the Starcade closed. He says that while public interest and revenue existed for the owners, the mall wanted to revitalize the space.
“That happening left the Starcade with no place to go,” said Matena. “It was part of what we were planning on adding into our attractions anyway, so we gave them a new home.”
The closure of the Starcade means that the Funderdome is the only arcade in the metro region.
With nowhere else for arcade enthusiasts to go, Matena says some regular customers of the Starcade have found their way to the Funderdome.
“A lot of them did come in here saying that they used to go and play games all the time at the Starrcade,” said Matena. “It’s something that they’re happy that isn’t lost in Newfoundland.”
Jeremy Noftle used to play games regularly at the Starcade. He hasn’t been to the Funderdome yet, but after hearing about the arcade his curiosity has piqued.
“I have a lot of memories of the old arcade,” said Noftle. “I might have to spend a few bucks at the new spot.”
There is one noticeable change to the games at the Funderdome. Instead of accepting coins such as loonies and toonies, the machines have been modified to accept tokens.
One dollar is equivalent to three tokens, which can be used to play any game at the arcade.
Some gamers might notice their favorite game is currently missing from the Funderdome lineup, but Matena says not to worry. Many games from the Starcade will be featured as part of the glow-in-the-dark mini golf expansion.
These games will reward players with tickets that can be exchanged for prizes, much like at their old home. Matena says he expects these games to be a big hit with families.
“We’ve had a lot of families coming in to play video games,” said Matena. “They’re looking forward to the redemption games.”