Classic arcade games coming to Halifax universities

Student demand spurs Vintage Arcade expansion

Daniel Baldwin takes his best shot on one of his 14 vintage arcade games
Daniel Baldwin takes his best shot on one of his 14 vintage arcade games. Photo: Matthew Woodman

Dalhousie’s Student Union Building will have some new occupants by the end of today courtesy of Halifax Vintage Arcades. Daniel Baldwin, the founder of Halifax’s only classic arcade, will be moving three classic arcade games into Dal’s Grawood bar. Saint Mary’s, which already has one of Baldwin’s machines in its Student Union Building, will have a new machine to replace the game they are currently housing. NSCC’s Waterfront Campus can expect three machines added to their student lounge in about three weeks.

Halifax Vintage Arcades has shared a space with the convenience store Daily Sweets on Oxford Street since Baldwin opened his arcade in early November.

Every week more arcade fans swarm to Baldwin’s corner of Daily Sweets to get either their first taste of a classic arcade or to recapture the nostalgia of the joysticks, buttons and guns. The popularity has caught on with veteran gamers — who grew up with these arcades — to students, who are more familiar with at-home gaming consoles. First it was Saint Mary’s gaming society calling Baldwin for a game, and now he’s answering Dal’s demand for the games.

“There’s just a culture around them right now,” says Baldwin. “People are interested in them.”

Baldwin started off with three machines in the Daily Sweet’s backroom, but after today he’ll have 14 arcade games between the university campuses and his arcade. Baldwin says he has paid anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for an arcade game, usually depending on the machine’s condition.

“My goal was to expand if it took off, but only if the machines paid for new machines,” says Baldwin. “After my initial opening, anything new is being paid for by the arcade.”

Baldwin isn’t expecting to make a large of profit off of the machines that will be on campuses. The student societies will be taking a portion of the quarters dropped into the machines. The machines also won’t get much use over the summer break.

“It helps the students,” says Baldwin. “They love it and they wanted it.”

Mortal Combat 4 is currently sitting at Saint Mary’s, but Baldwin said that Gauntlet of Legends will be rotated in today. Mortal Combat 4 will join the games Area 51 and Terminator 2 in the Grawood.

“I think they’re great,” says Dal student Andrew Pacman as he pumps quarters into the machine for the first time. “There aren’t many places that you can still play these. It really reminds me of playing these as a kid.”

Baldwin plans to swap games in and out from locations every three months to “help keep things fresh” for students.

Area 51 is one of three games coming to Dal's Grawood.
Gaunlet Legends will take Mortal Kombat 4's spot at SMU.
A couple of Baldwin's newest additions.
Rampage arcade game.
Most machines Baldwin buys need some TLC before they're ready to play.