Lovers of Atari, Nintendo Wii and everything in between, look no further thanLost Ark Video Games, Greensboro’s independent video game store.
Co-owners Asa Cooney and Daniel McMillan grew up playing video games, and have fond memories of the arcade scene.
“We always talked half joking, half seriously, that we’d really like to do something one day that we could share with other people,” McMillan said. “Something where we could recreate a little bit of that arcade scene that we remembered but didn’t really exist anymore.”
The arcade’s retro games and retro pricing seem fitting for its title, named for the 1981 Indiana Jones film “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
“It conjures up images of finding some rare treasure, some lost antiquity you find in a stack of nintendo games, so it just kind of fit,” McMillan said.
The UNC Greensboro graduates wanted to share their collections and believed college students would be most receptive.
“I remember when I was in college, I was flat broke,” Cooney said. “Ninety percent of the time, we have the lowest prices in town on games. So for college students who are gamers, it’s definitely the place to shop if you’re on a budget.”
The store features 10 pinball machines and more than 12 arcade cabinets, and although the owners buy and sell used video games for all platforms, the majority of the collection has been years in the making.
“A lot of it is our personal collections. I’m 27, and I’ve been collecting games since I was five,” Cooney said. “(Dan is) 31 and I’d imagine he started around the same age, so we have about 50 years worth of collections. Some of it we found on Craigslist and the Internet, but most of it is ours and we decided to make a go of it.”
Last week’s grand opening had a successful and encouraging turn out, according to the owners.
“There was a father and son that camped out for a couple of hours before it opened, which blew my mind,” McMillan said. “They saw a flier, they came by just to see if we were open yet, and the son looked through the window and saw the equipment and was so excited he begged his dad to come back and be the ones to open us up.”
After opening the store, McMillan and Cooney said they realized Lost Ark Video Games was a success because it has something for everyone.
“Some people came out because they heard we have pinball machines, some people came out for the arcade equipment, some people came out because they heard we have retro games and they’re really into Nintendo,” Cooney said. “Different things brought different people out, but it seems like everyone had a good time, everyone was really excited.”
For the owners, the love of the game, or games, is what motivates them.
“We’re not doing this just to get rich, although that would be nice,” McMillan said. “We like games, this is what we know and care about, so being able to share that with people and make that our business is really gratifying.”