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You Can't Run an Arcade Without Ticket Redemption

WARNING: Obvious satire.

In the three years since I started writing this blog, I repeatedly proclaimed to the world that I was adamantly against ticket redemption. I felt that these titles were shallow, brain-dead “kiddie gambling devices” built solely for the purpose of gobbling up money. And I firmly believed that anyone, anywhere, could run an arcade without redemption in today’s day and age.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

You see, I’m very young, and I know nothing about the coin-op market. I’ve been an evil snake oil salesman all this time—and now the jig is up. After listening to industry experts recite the mantra over and over again, I finally must come forward and admit it myself: “You can’t run an arcade without redemption.”

That’s right. I said it. You’d better quote me, too.

And since I’ve admitted this fact to the world, I must now show my readers how positively, irrefutably, undeniably true it is.

Have you heard of the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, Illinois? If not, here’s the scoop. The folks at Galloping Ghost were so bold—so eager to defy God’s will—that they put together an arcade with over 660 machines. You know many of those machines dispense tickets? Zero. And are they reveling this unholy lifestyle?

Oh, it looks like they are. They’re actually doing…really well. It seems, in fact, like there’s no chance they’ll go under any time in the next 20 years.

Well…never mind that. Because, like I said, you can’t run an arcade without ticket redemption—and I’ve got more proof.

How about the Game Galaxy Arcade in Goodlettsville and Smyrna, Tennessee? They sure have a lot of video games and pinball machines…but what about ticket redemption pieces? Do they have any of those? No, they don’t. So how are they are faring? How mighty are they, spitting in the face of what is good and right?

They…are also doing just fine. And people really love the games.

Well, surely you haven’t heard of the Arcade Galactic (formerly known as the Game Grid Arcade) in West Valley City, Utah. You can’t honestly think that a mall arcade in the year 2020 could boast 67 ticketless cabinets. No no, it boggles the mind. And yet, the Game Grid expects us prize-hungry players to interact with their games for nothing more than pure enjoyment. Preposterous. So, how well exactly are they doing?

Hm. They're one of West Valley City’s prime entertainment destinations. And they serve as beacon for small-time arcade operators everywhere.

I’m getting confusing readings here.

After mulling over the cries of naysayers, I was thoroughly convinced there was simply no way to run a successful arcade without offering ticket redemption in the current market. But after analyzing my findings, it appears that anyone can build the arcade of their dreams with enough work ethic and passion. It seems—if you can believe it—that ticket redemption isn’t even a necessary component.

Well…maybe I ought to put this case to rest. You CAN run an arcade without redemption.

End satire.


I want to thank the wonderful people who run these aforementioned arcades—and the many others like them—because what they're doing is truly special. With the Wilcox Arcade blog now entering its third year of existence, I'll continually strive to support their good work.

To all the lovely people of the arcade world: Keep doing what you're doing. Hopefully, I can continue to do what I'm doing, too.


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