The arcade's sign in Brookfield, Illinois. [credit: Nate Anderson ]
If you're anything like us, you're itching for a return to physical gaming experiences like expos and arcades. The next best thing this week is a new 30-minute mini-documentary (embedded below) about the history of Galloping Ghost, a Chicago mega-arcade whose massive collection, full of rarities, was given the Ars Technica spotlight years ago.
The story is told primarily by arcade co-founder Doc Mack, who sits in his arcade's main office and recalls how the idea for an arcade began in part when he was a lowly clerk at a Babbage's in the '90s. Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon came into his shop to buy video games, and Mack worked up the nerve to ask how he got into the game industry. A terse interaction followed, and Mack read between the lines: "Wow, Ed Boon didn't want to hear anything I had to say." Mack took the meeting as motivation to realize he'd have to change gears entirely to pursue his games-industry dream and start his own business.
The documentary skips over Mack's exact path from Babbage's to his own arcade, merely hinting at "business ideas" he had along the way, before jumping ahead to a friend prompting him to co-found and open an arcade in 2010. While trying to score classic arcade machines in the run-up, he was stunned to discover that out of 80 venues he visited, none had a working cabinet for Mortal Kombat 2 (one of his admitted favorites) for sale. "That motivated me," he says.