I recently spent some quality time in the Chicagoland suburbs visiting various FEC locations with Bay Tek’s new President Jim Keane. Jim is new to the industry so this was an educational trip for him. For me, it was an exciting trip down memory lane. It was thrilling walking through some of the finest FECs in the country. We visited not only the larger FECs like Dave & Buster’s, Main Event, Level 257, Round 1, and GameWorks, but also one of the best family-owned FEC locations in the Chicago area – Enchanted Castle.
At my youthful age of 64, I still get excited to see new game developments and evolutions that have occurred over the past 38 years of working in the amusement industry. However, seeing the true classics like Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Defender, Stargate, Robotron, and Pole Position being a part of the modern FEC game room is also exciting. Not only are they part of the game lineup, but they’re popular across multiple generations! The vast number of classic Pinballs (old and new) brings back fond memories of playing Pinball in college with my friends for hours. I still love playing Pinball today like many other crazed Pinball junkies across the globe. Watching new generations of players continue to enjoy the classics with their friends (and now they’re children!) brings back nostalgic memories when the video craze was in full swing back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The new versions of these all-time favorites are bigger than life and loved by players of all ages.
It’s clear to me that generations of players continue to evolve and become more sophisticated as technology advances. However, players still want to go out socialize and have fun with one another. Even though they can play games on their home consoles, computers, and phones, the they still love to go out to their favorite FEC and play the classics. Everyone has an all-time favorite game they learned to play at some time in their life. When I walk into a FEC and see my favorite game calling my name it brings me back to some of my best memories. Moments like these make me truly thankful to serve an industry that brings joy to so many people; an industry that I love.