Pinball wizards, work your magic.
Wizards Arcade is now open inside the Chemainus Public Market, a throwback to the old days for some and a new discovery for the younger generation.
The arcade is equipped with 11 pinball machines, 10 stand-up arcade games, Foosball and basketball games in a partnership with Shawn Orza of Wiffle Games on Willow Street.
“It’s kind of a retro arcade,” said Orza of Crofton. “All coin operated.”
All it takes is a quarter to operate some games and two quarters for others. Many people have been taking advantage of the opportunity to relive their youth or find a new passion for playing games that aren’t connected to a hand-held device since the soft opening.
“One thing we plan to do is be able to host birthday parties for kids,” said Warren Goulding, Chemainus Public Market owner and partner in the project with Tony Van De Mortel of Mortel Developments. “They can have ice cream and food and play in the arcade.
“We’re already finding a lot of people in there – and it’s not just kids. There’s the boomers who like these pinball machines and vintage games.”
There’s even the opportunity in the near future to form a Mid-Island Pinball League, Orza pointed out, to rival a pinball league in Victoria and “start holding tournaments to earn points to go to provincials.
“Big hopes,” he added. “It’s going to constantly evolve, like everything else. It’s very exciting.”
Orza has the expertise in the arcade world through his shop and on-line store as well as continually purchasing games to be refurbished and it’s been an ideal fit for the market.
“It’s been a great partnership,” said Goulding. “It’s so great we were able to find a local supplier to fill the room. These guys are very knowledgeable.”
“The biggest thing to emphasize is we’re still working out the bugs, getting everything in order,” Orza explained.
He expects all the pinball machines to be fully operational by this time next week after some tweaking.
Orza had machines galore at the ready when the market came to him about becoming a partner in the enterprise. He’s been buying games and fixing them for years and has three others in his store – including a 1992 Star Wars game with a theme that never goes out of style.
“When we buy machines, they’re typically not working,” Orza said. “That’s the thing with buying these machines, you have to be your own mechanic.”
He’s more than willing to do that and the result is a fantastic experience for anyone who loves the machines or for kids who’ve never seen one in their lives.
There’s a wide selection of games in the arcade from ’60s machines to Lethal Weapon 3 from the early ’90s.
“A lot of these games haven’t been on site for about 30 years,” Orza noted.
There’s also a children’s area for coin-operated rides outside the arcade.
And you don’t have to worry about the cleanliness part due to COVID-19 because that’s all been addressed.
“We keep an eye on the numbers and we’re constantly wiping it down,” Goulding noted. “You’ve got to be careful.”
It will all tie in nicely with Archie’s Ice Cream Parlour and Diner that’s due to open sometime this weekend in bringing back such a glorious time and memories of a simpler life.
Captain Andy’s Fish and Chips is expected to open around the end of the month.