Gameseum officially ‘levels up’ for a March grand opening

By on February 6, 2019

Pre-opening party coming up in downtown Ephrata Feb. 16

A new year means new businesses! And for 20-year-old Steven Van Splinter Jr. and his fiancee Mallorey Reese, their business dream is finally becoming a reality.

Gameseum, the new, old-school arcade and museum that will house over 80 gaming machines, pinball machines and other consoles dating back to the 1940s and beyond, has announced they are planning a March opening — in a new location.

Last year, in the June 13 edition of The Ephrata Review, it was reported that Gameseum would reside somewhere along Route 272, although the specific location was not yet available. Now, according to owners Van Splinter and Reese, it has been revealed that 27 N. State St., which is located in the former Art of Recycle building behind Royer Pharmacy in downtown Ephrata, will be Gameseum’s official home.

“We’re really excited about being downtown. It’s right in the heart of everything. The old location was pretty secluded, so it’s great that we were able to change locations and still keep the business in Ephrata,” said Van Splinter.

Aside from the change in location, Van Splinter and Reese have also acquired some “new” retro arcade games to be played at the arcade-museum, including “Galaxian,” “Shuffle Bowler,” and “Jungle Lord” pinball.

These newly obtained gaming machines join the multitude of other games available to play and learn about at Gameseum. Classic favorites such as “PAC-MAN,” “Ms. PAC-MAN,” “Space Invaders,” “Mario Bros.” and “Galaga” will also take customers on a trip down memory lane. The arcade-museum will operate on a unique system for admission, where gamers can play on a pay-per-hour basis for $10 each hour and pay at the end, or purchase a special all-day-pass for $25. Customers who opt for the all-day-pass will receive a wristband so they can play as long as they want throughout the day.

“With the all-day-pass, you can basically go out for a bite to eat, or go home and take a nap and then come back and play again. It really pays for itself in the end,” said Van Splinter. “The unique admission system allows for novice players to get as much play time as expert gamers because there are absolutely no coins necessary, so people don’t have to feel like they are wasting money trying to beat one game. They can play as many games as they want in their time at Gameseum.”

Gameseum also plans to have a room specifically for birthday parties, which will feature glow lights. Plates, utensils, and tablecloths in neon colors that react to black lights will be available for purchase, if needed. The cost will be $25 per person, which reserves the party room for four hours, although guests can still play games all day, even after the party ends.

Gameseum owners Steven Van Splinter Jr. and Mallorey Reese stand with “Galaxian,” which is only one of the many retro gaming machines that will be available to play at the new arcade-museum opening in March.

Since food is not provided for the birthday parties held at Gameseum, party holders and attendees are welcome to bring their own, although no alcohol is permitted. Van Splinter wants customers to feel accepted and comfortable during their time at Gameseum, so he extends the offer for people to bring their own food so anyone that might have any dietary restrictions or preferences can have something they are able to eat.

“I had a limited diet growing up and it was hard being around places where birthday parties would only have pizza to eat and I couldn’t have that. So, I want people to bring what they can eat,” said Van Splinter.

There will also be a snack bar provided for customers who feel they need a little “refuel” during their all-day gaming spree, which will have an assortment of chips, sodas and other snacks. Van Splinter wants to add hot food in the future.

Although Gameseum is currently focusing on their upcoming March debut, Van Splinter and Reese are already brainstorming ideas for the 2019 Ephrata Fair, where they hope the business will make a great addition to the week’s festivities.

According to Van Splinter, Gameseum plans to have special rates for customers as well as a possible all-week pass during the week of the fair. Gameseum will be open seven days a week in downtown Ephrata, so customers won’t have to spend so much time waiting to relive the nostalgia.

Hours for the arcade-museum will be Sunday through Thursday, from 12 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to midnight. In preparation for their grand opening, Gameseum will be holding a pre-opening party on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Laura the Cookie Lady, LLC, located at 30 E. Main St., Suite A, Ephrata.

The event will feature a select few of Gameseum’s arcade games available to play and there will be special “arcade cookies” for sale. Event entry is completely free, and games will be $1 per play, which benefits Gameseum.

“Gameseum is truly viral and we are very, very grateful. A good amount of challenges are ahead, but we are glad to be backed by such a great and highly active fanbase,” said Van Splinter. “We’re humbly happy and grateful that lots of people are excited for our dream.”

For more information on Gameseum, visit thegameseum.com or check out its official Facebook page.

Emily Jacoby is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. 

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