PINE ISLAND — From the clunk of the Skee Ball machine to the digital soundtrack of the classic arcade games, Homemade Arcade is like stepping into a quarter-eating piece of the '80s.
Despite it's throwback appeal and nod to early gaming culture, owner Omar Garcia said he didn't really play video games until he got into high school.
"I was always outside playing," he said. "It was in high school when I found a love for retro games."
Garcia hopes other gamers in the area find their way to Homemade Arcade, 200 S. Main St., Pine Island.
There are standup console versions of Ms. Pacman and Frogger among other video games and a pinball machine, and electronic dartboard. The Skee Ball machine uses a basketball theme, and dispenses tickets that can be redeemed for prizes.
He'd like to get a second ticket-dispensing game, he said. In the meantime, he offers a few free tickets to customers when they come in, and 15 tickets to anyone who can beat his daily high score on Ms. Pacman.
There are also board games for rent by the hour, classics like Sorry! and Battleship, and newer games like Apples to Apples. Tables both inside and outside are available for board games, he said.
The business is Garcia's first, but business is part of his family heritage.
Garcia's mother, Carmen, owns Let's Go Tacos a couple of doors down the street from his arcade.
Garcia said he never considered himself an entrepreneur, but he learned how to run a business watching his mom run her restaurant, where he also works part time.
But right before the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, Garcia got the idea for his arcade, but when it was impossible to open a business that would simply be shuttered due to the pandemic, he put the idea on hold until about three months ago.
"I was looking for something that I would enjoy, that the town could enjoy," Garcia said.
A big part of that is offering a fun place for kids to safely hang out either after school or, in the summer, where they can find a refuge from a hot summer day.
While he's only been open a few days, Garcia said he's already getting interested in his space being used for special events such as Dungeons & Dragons nights, late-night hours for adults, and party events.
Right now, the arcade is open from 3-8 p.m. daily, so some of those ideas might go to get scheduled around those hours.
In addition to special events, Garcia said he's planning to fix up the kitchen in the back. Right now, he offers chips and soda for snacks, but is looking forward to adding pizza.
While Pine Island is a small town, Garcia said he'd rather be there than Rochester or a big city.
"I felt like in a small town it was possible because of how small it is," he said. "And right now, it's perfect timing because everyone wants to get back out."