Mark and Mia Guenther do not believe that arcade games are throwaway, outdated technology.
They’re also much more than games. They’re history. So, the couple opened Neon Retro Arcade, which features games from the 1990s to the 2000s, on Raymond Avenue in Old Pasadena.
“We have always wanted to open a business together, something that was our own, a creation of our own,” Mia said.
Neon Retro Arcade opened in January 2015, and over the years it collected arcade games through auctions and online sales and restored them. Business owners and game fanatics were tossing their games in the trash.
“They weren’t making money at arcades anymore, and Mark thought it was really sad that nobody was preserving these and treating them like the pieces of American history that they were,” she said.
The couple fell in love over arcade games. Mark had a pinball machine in his dorm and sparks flew after they played together.
With Neon Retro Arcade, they wanted to “recreate the excitement and fun of the classic arcade, minus the pizza grease and sticky floors. Neon is a clean, welcoming environment for gamers of all ages to enjoy these classic games.”
Everything vintage is in again and gamers are appreciating the history behind these pieces — so much so that it is difficult to acquire games.
Stepping into the Neon Retro Arcade feels like entering a 1980s dream; an arcade that would perfectly fit into the world of “Stranger Things.” With bright and colorful lights surrounding the room and joy from all ages, the Neon Retro Arcade is a must see this summer.
Many classic games are offered here including icons like Donkey Kong and Street Fighter. The beauty of the arcade is that it introduces the love of gaming to newer generations, allowing them to immerse themselves into a sliver of what their parents’ lives might have been like. There are even modern games for those who prefer them.
“With some young kids, they haven’t had access to old school games so they might be intimidated by them or think they’re boring,” she said.
“They can always start with a modern game and then venture into the other games once they get more comfortable.”
Though there are many games, most people have a favorite — including Mia.
“Right now, I would say a pinball machine called Funhouse,” she said. “It’s not a flashy game. Most people don’t know about it. It’s from the ’90s. It’s just one of those games that I could play anytime, any day.”
Visitors can pay $15 for an hour of game play or $25 for the entire day, leaving room for times to come in and out of the arcade. Reservations are accepted. All games are set to free play, so no need to worry about having enough quarters or buying a game pass.
Neon Retro Arcade
28 S. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena