High Scores Arcade Museum
BURLINGTON CITY, N.J. - April 5, 2011 (WPVI) -- Shawn and Megan Livernoche turned a storefront in downtown Burlington City into their dream home and then some.
The couple has a consuming passion in common, classic video games.
They bought a "donkey Kong" console after seeing the film "The King of Kong" on DVD.
About a dozen games later, they found their hobby crowding them out of their tiny one-bedroom apartment. So they looked for a place where the games could be set up, arcade-style.
They found a building in Burlington's historic district where they could lay out a ground floor arcade and have the two floors upstairs as their home.City officials were concerned the arcade would become a teen hangout, but, to their surprise, most of the Livernoche's client base is actually middle-aged men, looking to reclaim a piece of their childhood.
Many come with their children who are used to playing today's home video systems.
They're usually surprised to find that, in many respects, the 1980's games are harder.
Shawn says they were programmed to be that way, because you paid by the game to play and the faster you lost, the faster you had to deposit another quarter.
The couple's arcade has a change machine and all the games are coin-operated by individual play, just like 30 years ago. This isn't to say that all customers lose quickly.
There's a chalkboard listing high scores for each game, and some are quite high.
Word got around the gaming community that the Livernoches had a classic arcade, and more than one world record-holder has dropped by to play.
Since these machines haven't been produced in decades, it's typical to find one in non-working order, and have to bring iit back to life.
Circuitry is relatively simple, and you can find programming guides on the internet. But landing a replacement for a broken or missing part can lead to a worldwide adventure.
The Livernoches and a handful of friends just take their time and add a game to the inventory when it's ready.
While gamers prefer stand-alone consoles, there are a number of multi-game boxes out there and the couple prefer these because they can offer more games in less floor space.
They also have a few non-video games, including some pinball machines.
The arcade, High Scores Interactive Arcade Museum, is located at 348 High Street in downtown Burlington City, just steps from the River Line.
They're open Friday evenings from 6:00 to 10:00pm and Saturdays from 2:00 to 10:00pm.
Longer hours are planned once summer arrives and Shawn, a school teacher, will have more time to devote to the business.
For information, you may phone 609-468-3196, or visit their website, http://www.highscoresarcade.blogspot.com
Available games include Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, TRON, Joust, Track and Field, Centipede, Pac Man, Frogger, Burgertime, Star Wars, Galaxian, Mr. Do, Dig Dug, and many more.
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