Arts & Culture

Arcade appreciation

Arcade appreciation
Daniel Baldwin, reviving the coin-op (photo by Mel Hattie)
written by Vaughn Pearson
October 3, 2013 6:00 pm
Daniel Baldwin, reviving the coin-op (photo by Mel Hattie)

Daniel Baldwin, reviving the coin-op (Photo by Mel Hattie)

Halifax has a distinct lack of arcade appreciation, and Daniel Baldwin is fighting to fix that. Operator and founder of the small vintage arcade located in the back of the Daily Sweets Convenience Store on Oxford Street, Baldwin has bigger aspirations than a simple corner store arcade. With the help of his ongoing Kickstarter campaign, Baldwin aims to open an arcade museum here in Halifax.

Baldwin has hosted arcade events at Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s University in the past, and he holds regular events at the arcade. Still, he feels much more could be done.

“We’re really trying to preserve the games, because we really want to focus on the ones from the ‘60s, through the ‘70s, through the ‘80s, and the museum motif just fit,” Baldwin said outside his arcade as the monthly Free Play Wednesday event came to a close.

“You can’t just have games in a big building somewhere and hope to make money… it has to be event-driven. It’s got to be like a community, like a hub for video game culture,” he says.

Baldwin pictures the museum as not only a place to experience arcade games from all decades, but a central feature of the community, offering everything from summer camps to classes where you learn how to build your own arcade machine. Baldwin hopes to even have a small store where enthusiasts can pick up parts and supplies for their own home arcade projects. Visitors will not only be treated to a wealth of cabinets and machines, but will walk away educated about the history of arcades and the people who made them.

With an impressive assortment of even the rarest of arcade machines waiting to be rolled out, the aim of this Kickstarter is to supply Baldwin and his associates with enough float to pay the first several months’ rent.

With a slow start to the campaign, Baldwin has high hopes that a Pac Man-themed stunt, involving a team of costumed performers romping around the city, will draw attention to the cause. Beyond that, word of mouth and goodwill are all he’s looking for. With adequate support, Baldwin hopes to complete the Kickstarter and accomplish by next summer what “would organically take roughly four years to accomplish.”

With reward tiers of the Kickstarter ranging from bumper stickers to hoodies, or even your own hand-picked arcade cabinet, your generosity won’t leave you empty-handed. But it’s not the short-term rewards that need be looked at here—it’s the long-term benefit to the community, and the preservation of the birth, life, and death of a unique period in entertainment history.

Now go—tell your friends, Romans and countrymen to cough up some quarters for a good cause.

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