A Victoria arcade revamped its business model so game lovers can enjoy classic pinball and video games again despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quazar’s Arcade is ready to welcome back visitors but things will be a little different for the time being. In order to ensure machines are cleaned for the same group of people each time, the arcade is only allowing group bookings to rent out the entire space for a two-hour period.
The games no longer take tokens and are free play for the full two hours instead. Groups of up to 20 people – all in the same contact bubble – have full access to the 3,000 square foot arcade so everyone can enjoy the experience while maintaining physical distance.
“We just really wanted to get people back in there but didn’t feel quite ready to open to the public yet,” said Quazar’s co-owner Steve Webb.
The arcade setting caters to a lot of contact with different surfaces, Webb said, so they had to close their doors pretty quickly out of concern for customers and staff. He said they put a lot of thought into getting the place back up and running.
“The thing about the arcade experience is that it’s a specific experience that has to do with the way it looks and feels in there,” Webb said. “When we thought about opening to the public and putting a bunch of barriers up it started to not look like an arcade anymore.”
In order to preserve the arcade experience for visitors, they decided to stick with private rentals for groups instead. He said the important thing to note is that the group of visitors consists of people who are already in each others’ bubbles, not people who haven’t seen each other in two months. This way, they can have an arcade experience together without the worry of infecting each other.
Every other game can also be turned off so there is more space in between them and customers can maintain physical distance.
“We can do the first hour with 20 games on and the next hour with the other 20 games on,” Webb said.
The arcade is thoroughly disinfected between each rental, including all contact surfaces, bathrooms and games. Staff will also be wearing masks and gloves and it is suggested visitors do so as well. Food and drink will be allowed but visitors must bring their own disposable plates, utilities and napkins. Alcohol is not permitted.
Merchandise like hoodies, T-shirts and hats designed by a famous pinball game designer – Donny Gilles – is also for sale on the Quazar’s website to help support the arcade.
Webb said bookings are open for June and they’ll re-evaluate for July.
Those who would like to reserve a space can do so online at quazarsarcade.checkfront.com/reserve/.