New arcade will be a blast from the past

By on June 13, 2018

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Keep the change in the piggy banks, folks, because Ephrata has a brand new arcade and museum coming later this year, and there are no coins required for optimal all-day game play!

Yes, you did read that correctly.

Gameseum, a hands-on arcade and museum, will make its debut in the Ephrata area by late 2018 and will only be a few minutes from both Complete in Box and the Record Connection.

Due to security reasons, the specific location of the Gameseum is not available at this time, but its home will reside somewhere along Route 272, according to their website, for those itching for a hint.

Owned and operated by 20-year-old Steven Van Splinter Jr., Gameseum will feature over 100 gaming machines that can be touched and played at an hourly rate, rather than wasting a pocket full of coins on a single game.

Since the age of 16, Van Splinter has collected each machine himself, working condition or not, and completely fixed them in order to make the games playable once again. And after his first gaming machine purchase through Craigslist in 2014, one simply led to another, and another…

“I consider the concept for this business my ‘brain child’,” said Van Splinter. “I’ve collected so many machines over the years that I can’t reasonably keep them to myself, so I want to be able to share all of them with people and the community.”

Gameseum will house retro game machines including, but not limited to “PAC-MAN,” “Ms. PAC-MAN,” “Galaga,” “Donkey Kong,” “Vs. Excitebike,” “Space Invaders,” and “Millipede.” They will also have over 40 pinball machines that date back to the 1940s, and newer arcade games such as “House of the Dead 3.”

Recent gaming consoles including the Nintendo Switch and Sony PlayStation 4 will also be available to play, as well as the classic Nintendo 64 for those who want to test their ultimate button-mashing skills with a game of Super Smash Bros.

And perhaps for the first time, residents can experience a museum atmosphere, but not be scolded for touching the nostalgia.

“The machines will have signs displayed that tell a little history of the machine and fun facts about the game, so although it is set up like a museum, everything can be touched and played,” Van Splinter said.

Gameseum is designed to be a family-friendly arcade, setting or modifying each machine for continuous play time. Since admission is a $10 pay-by-hour rate, residents only have to push start, begin playing, and pay at the end.

“We’re opening the doors to everyone, and Ephrata was a great location where we could be noticed and be supported by the community,” said Van Splinter.

Last week, Van Splinter released a 14-minute trailer through YouTube, emphasizing the details for Gameseum in order to raise donations for his $6,000 fundraising goal to help with start-up expenses, interior construction changes and town permits.

A preliminary diagram of the Gameseum’s interior can be viewed within the trailer, which further specifies everything the arcade will have to offer, such as a snack bar, rare retail gaming kiosks and air hockey tables.

The video also features Spenser Brossman, owner of Ephrata’s Complete in Box, and Record Connection’s own Nathaniel Kinsey endorsing the arrival of the upcoming arcade-museum.

“This arcade is making Ephrata an entertaining place to be in,” stated Kinsey in the trailer.

A second in-person fundraiser is currently in the works as well. Details for this can be found and followed through the Gameseum’s Facebook page.

“It’s going to be something really special for the town, and Ephrata’s a great place. Even if you just donate $10, or even $100, you are being a big help in bringing something really, really cool to Ephrata,” said Van Splinter.

To view the trailer or to donate to the fundraiser, visit Gameseum’s GoFundMe page. More information about Gameseum’s vision can also be found at thegameseum.com.

Emily Jacoby is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. She welcomes your comments and questions at 717-721-4434 or ejacoby@lnpnews.com.

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