GREENVILLE — It’s a dream of Doug Barger’s to set up an arcade business in Greenville.
“I want to create an arcade, not based on gambling,” he said. “I have no venue yet.”
He wants to have an entertainment center in the Greenville area to give the community more to do and hopes to help Greenville in economical development.
Barger, who has more than 30 years of experience in electronics and repair, has operated his pinball repair business for more than five years.
Despite the fact that there are smart phones and other high-tech gadgets people can use these days to play games, he is even more passionate about getting this business up and running.
“With all the games available today, they’re pretty shallow, not innovative,” Barger said. “The game laws were much tougher in the ’70s. Older machines and some new ones are very intriguing and we’ve lost that. I want to make it family fun environment to show what arcades used to be like. I still want families to go out and and have a night on the town.”
Of all arcade games he said the 1969 Super Circus is his personal favorite.
“You couldn’t make one of these,” he said, pointing to that machine in his friend’s garage. “They are very expensive. Kids today have never seen this and they don’t get to see this cool stuff. Most arcades are video screens like iPads or cell phones. They’re not real like this.”
His plans for his arcade business, Barger said, is to charge a set fee to get in and let those who pay play for free for that day.
“I use to be a TV repairman,” said Barger. I want to bring this to this generation. It is a vision worth merit. There is one in Cincinnati that only has video games. People lose their sense on how these things were. I enjoyed pinball as a kid and, as I got older, I started going on crazes looking for one. I found a Hang Glider for $100 in Kentucky totally ruined and I restored it. That’s when I started repairing machines.”
Another game a friend has is a 1967 World Cup soccer machine, which he said is unique, and a 1950 one called Knockout, which he described as “awesome.” Another machine found in his friend’s collection is a Nip-It machine, which was featured in the television series, “Happy Days.”
“I would like to find another one of them,” Barger said.
He proposed arcade, which he would like to open this time next year, will have pinball machines as well as other arcade games featuring guns shooting at targets in addition to a bowling machine.
“The gun games are hard to find,” he said.
His dream arcade will have a concession stand and a place for birthday parties.
Barger has just started a Go-Fund-Me account in an effort to try to raise money to make his dream a reality. That website is http://www.gofundme.com/paq8pc and his repair website is http://www.dougspinball.com/
“Every machine that I get for the arcade will be posted on the website,” Barger said. “And, I will be bringing arcade machines to the Coffee Pot [in the old Palace store on South Broadway in Greenville] in September during the Rolling 50s Cruise-In, and will be offering free play that night.”
He said if people want to donate to Go-Fund-Me, they will get something in return, such as free admission.
“There are all kinds of levels to donate,” he said. “This is a business, not a charity.”
He said the repairs of these machines are more complicated than modern ones, but he’s up for the challenge.
“This is not a one-day kind of thing,” he said. “I work on them two to four days solid. I have a 3-D printer and you can get parts out of it. I design it in CAD and print it out on the printer. It actually prints in plastic. It’s all the craze.”“
Barger has lived in Wayne Lakes all of his life. He said he helps out in his community a lot.
The son of Bernice Barger, he and his wife, the former Tammy Helm, have three children, Amy, Lisa and Adam.
Linda Moody can be reached by calling direct at 569-4315. Be her friend on Facebook by searching her name. For more features online, go to advocate360.org or “like” The Daily Advocate on Facebook by searching Advocate360