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ID a late-'80s arcade near Chicago?


mikey.shake
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Hi all...

 

I've been searching for years for any info on the arcade that in my head is cemented as "the Arcade" from my peak years of '87-'90 or so. The thing is, I was a kid, and the mists of time have moved in and whatnot. I was hoping maybe somebody could give me a lead on finding more info about this place.

 

My family was living in Hoffman Estates then, just north of Schaumburg. I can't imagine all the kids in the neighborhood would have gone too far for their parties, so I'm imagining it was there.

 

All my friends and I would have our birthday parties at (what I could have sworn was) a nearby Little Caesar's (though that could be incorrect). It was the first place I played Donkey Kong Jr, Joust, and I still remember how enormous the Gauntlet machine seemed when they installed it.

 

The place had three big rooms -- one for little kids, one with a big two-story playhouse set into the far wall and picnic tables for pizza time, and then another with a few dozen arcade cabinets. I feel like there were windows between the arcade room and the "main" playhouse room.

 

I think that the playhouse was covered with anthropomorphic pizza toppings (mushrooms, tomatoes, etc). It was a two-story thing with windows and seemed "indoors", and had poles and slides down from the upper level. I'm almost certain it wasn't a Chuck E. Cheese (at the time) or Showbiz, but who knows. I've tried a bunch of web and forum searches, but I think without enough constant factors, I just keep coming up empty handed.

 

Anyone have any suggestions? Even knowing the name of the joint and the approximate location might help me put out other feelers for photos, but if anybody has any info, I sure would appreciate the help. I'd just love to see it again and be able to show my wife and nephews.

 

Thanks in advance!

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Hmmm... thanks for the info. Aladdin's looked great, I almost wish it'd been there.

 

racerx might be onto something. a little digging turned up this article from 3/89, about Hoffman Estates banning coin-operated games (boo!). Apparently, neighboring Schaumburg already had that ban, so it probably would never have been there. Anyway, this article says that there was only one place in Hoffman Estates with "more than 10 games", which was a Little Caesars that had 62 (seems about right to what I remember). However, the article doesn't appear to give an address for that location:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-03-08/news/8903250013_1_arcades-game-machines-video-games

 

BUT, on a forum, I found a member who says that they used to work at the Little Caesars arcade (briefly), and says that it was a LC location that had previously been a Showbiz Pizza, but had converted the theme. Which would make sense as to why everywhere else I ever lived, people looked at me crazy for suggesting that a Little Caesars had a whole "funland" inside. (They were usually just takeout places.) I definitely remember playing Operation Wolf there for the first time, and it cemented a lifelong love of Shinobi.

http://forums.arcade-museum.com/archive/index.php/t-297127.html

 

So then matching up with what racerx suggested, it looks like that Little Caesars was on Roselle, used to be a Showbiz Pizza, and prior to that was part of (or next to) a local favorite called Fireside Roll-Arena -- a skating rink. Which actually matches the interior architecture: a big "main room" playroom (the former rink), framed by arcade/gaming areas. (Though, memories are fuzzy.)

http://forums.arcade-museum.com/archive/index.php/t-277874.html

 

So, it looks like it WAS a Little Caesars, on Roselle in Hoffman Estates, which used to be (or be next to) the Fireside Roll-Arena. Which is now apparently a grocery store. Thanks for helping me narrow it down!

 

Now, anybody got any pictures of that particular arcade from that era? :-D

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  • 9 months later...

Hi Mikey, I came across this forum doing a similar search recently. Infact, I also had come across the guy that said he worked there back in the day. It's definitely the Little Caesars in Hoffman Estates. I work pretty close to the now grocery store. I think it started as Showbiz pizza, that turned into Little Caesars, that turned into Chuck E Cheese and eventually went out of business. It's crazy, that place made an impact with my memory, fun times. The play area where they had a stobe light room and an area to run up and down a ramp sticks out with me. It's also the first place I played Joust, Rampage, and Popeye. I have photos that you might like to see from one of the trips that my parents took me and my friends. Here ya go! https://flic.kr/s/aHskg4dXdL

 

Also, just recently I had emailed the guy with the Youtube channel and he does a little segment on those old photos which I thought was cool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww2ldiX-4TM around the 1:16:40 mark.

 

Hope you dig the pics and glad to see someone else has the memory burns I have from being a child!

 

-Steve

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