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Arcade stocks classic games along with new
In the age of iPods, Wiis and plasma televisions,
Patrick O'Malley still knows a classic electronic when he sees
O'Malley, owner of Star Worlds Arcade in DeKalb,
has been an arcade video game collector for more than two decades
and has shared his enthusiasm for the game with DeKalb for three
years at his Lincoln Highway location.
As a boy, O'Malley
loved video games so much that he talked his parents into allowing
him to own several arcade games and keep them at their
As the collection grew, his parents' patience
“They wanted all my friends out of their house, so I
decided to open a business,” O'Malley said.
With arcade games dating as far back as 1977 and
stretching in price to $5,500, O'Malley not only has a shop filled
with games, but also restores, repairs and supplies arcade games to
local businesses. As the years pass, O'Malley is sad to see the face
of video gaming change.
“Being in the arcade business is not
as profitable because the home systems have taken over and there are
so many other forms of entertainment,” O'Malley said. “There are so
many things competing at once now.”
O'Malley keeps his stock
on a regularly rotating basis to keep inventory fresh and customers
coming back to check out new games. Because of the store's proximity
to Northern Illinois University, O'Malley sees a lot of college
students coming to Star Worlds Arcade to relive their
“We have been very successful with the college
kids who come to this side of town wanting to remember these games
from the '80s,” O'Malley said. “Even their parents see games that
they used to play.”
Classic is the name of the game at this
store, even when it comes to purchasing tickets to play. Token
prices have stayed the same since the 1980s: one token costs 25
cents, five cost $1 and 30 cost $5. Star Worlds Arcade is also
available for birthday parties, where attendees receive free play
for any of the games at the shop.
Video game enthusiast Sara Hansford, 15, held a
small birthday party at the arcade Saturday and, because she is a
regular, was happy to get the chance to play the games she loves as
much as she wanted. Compared to popular home game consoles, Hansford
sees the classic arcade games as a different kind of
“There are just more games to choose from,” Hansford
She also enjoys playing the older video games to catch
a glimpse at what kids played decades ago.
No matter the age,
the favored game at Star Worlds Arcade seemed to be the timeless Ms.
Pac-Man. No computer graphics or 3-D effects to be found, the little
yellow dot with the perfect pink bow still looks - and eats - great
after all these years.
Photographer Kate Weber can be
contacted at email@example.com.
Birthday girl Sara Hansford, 15, focuses on a
game of Ms. Pac-Man Saturday afternoon during her party at DeKalb’s
Star Worlds Arcade on Lincoln Highway. Hansford has been a video
game fan since she was little, but still enjoys the simplicity of
the original arcade games. “It’s challenging and it’s fun,” she
said. Chronicle photo KATE WEBER
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