Fud's Retro Arcade operates classic games with a modern twist

<p>A classic &quot;Pac-Mania&quot; arcade game sits in Fud&#x27;s Retro Arcade in Muncie. Chris Wallace added an arcade to his business Fud&#x27;s Video Games in November 2019. <strong>Garrett Chorpenning, DN</strong></p>

A classic "Pac-Mania" arcade game sits in Fud's Retro Arcade in Muncie. Chris Wallace added an arcade to his business Fud's Video Games in November 2019. Garrett Chorpenning, DN

Learn more about Fud’s Retro Arcade

Fud’s Retro Arcade is located at 2100 W White River Blvd.

Open Monday–Thursday 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Friday–Saturday 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Wristband passes are available for different prices.

All-day pass: $8 per person

Family pass: $30

The family pass covers up to five people, either two adults and three children under the age of 18 or one adult and four children under the age of 18.

Monthly pass: $30 per person

Source: Fud’s Video Games website

Traditional arcades have all but disappeared. Gone are the days of breaking open the piggy bank and lugging a pocketful of quarters to the shopping mall for a shot at the high score on Space Invaders. Just about everything has gone fully digital and portable, but a few people still crave coin-operated machines, and one local business owner hopes to appeal to that demographic.

Chris Wallace, better known as “Fud,” first opened Fud’s Video Games in 2016. A few years and moves later, he decided to add a retro arcade to his business, which now shares a wall with his current storefront at White River Plaza.

“There’s a lot of people that come in and it brings back a lot of memories and they’re very nostalgic,” Wallace said. “Another cool thing is that, [for] a lot of the 10-year-olds that come in, they’ve never seen an arcade like this. They might have been to Dave & Buster’s or Chuck E. Cheese’s, but they’ve not experienced the original arcade.”

More than 40 years of arcade history resides at Fud’s Retro Arcade, including old-school favorites like “Centipede” and “Galaga,” in addition to more recent hits like “Mario Kart Arcade GP” and “Guitar Hero Arcade.” In total, more than 30 machines line the walls, and that doesn’t include the ones he’s cycling in and out of rotation.

“I’m always looking to buy other machines,” Wallace said. “I’m not here all the time, but I try to pay attention when I do come in — especially on the weekends, that’s definitely when we’re the busiest — and see what machines people are really focused around and which ones aren’t getting played as much.”

To keep his inventory fresh, Wallace swaps machines that aren’t getting played much for those he has in storage.

Jim Widmer, Ball State 2021 educational administration and supervision masters alumnus, described the arcade as “remarkable,” with friendly counter service and excellent machines.

“I’ve been twice,” Widmer said. “It was very reasonably priced … the classic arcade games are all in mint condition.

Fud’s Retro Arcade might be among a minority of arcades that are completely focused on its games. According to Play Meter Magazine’s 2015 state of the [coin-operated entertainment] industry report, just 2,520 of the nearly 167,000 businesses with arcade equipment in the United States operated solely as an arcade. Most are designated as “street” locations, while another segment is dedicated to businesses opting for a hybrid model — where games are paired with entertainment and food or are built as arcade bars, which restrict access to people under the legal drinking age.

Four MarioKart machines sit in a row in Fud's Retro Arcade in Muncie. All games in the arcade are set to free play, with customers paying for wristband passes rather than each individual game play. Garrett Chorpenning, DN

Fud’s Retro Arcade might be traditional in the game sense, but his admission system is unique, using wristbands instead of swipe cards or tokens. The wristbands are available for a flat fee with unlimited same-day entry and all the games are set to free play.

“Being that we’re a small store, we don’t have a huge amount of money for salaries to have multiple people constantly watching if people are here for longer than an hour or anything like that, so we decided to just go with the straight flat fee,” Wallace said. “We did change it a little bit so that the week was a little bit cheaper, because that’s always going to be your less busy time. It’s a great time to come, we actually get a lot of people.”

Because customers don’t enter with a predetermined number of plays based on how much cash they’re carrying, Wallace said the wristband model has helped him modernize the arcade and bring a little extra joy to the Muncie community in the process.

“I really didn’t know how [the arcade] would do,” Wallace said. “I mean, you’ve gotta think, everybody is closing arcades and stuff down. And here I am, going, ‘Let’s open one up!’ I’m very proud that people have grown to like it and appreciate it.”

Traditional arcades might be decreasing in numbers, but Wallace and his customers prove arcades still have some extra life left.

Contact Garrett Chorpenning with comments at gachorpennin@bsu.edu or on Twitter @gachorpenning


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