Sounds of explosions and crashes combined with wildly flashing lights to fill a dark, cavernous room crowded with laughing and talking people.

That's the arcade experience graying children of the '80s and '90s remember when they think of video games. But to today's generation, sitting by themselves on living room couches while playing others via the Internet, arcades are just something they see in old movies.

James Aarke and Branden Strong want to change that, as well as feed the nostalgia of their peers.

The two hobbyists have created their own Machine Shed arcade by rebuilding old games and putting together "multicade" cabinets, each containing hundreds of classic games like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Asteroids, Centipede, Joust and much more.

They now have 32 game cabinets running in a converted garage at 11 Second St. NE, near Rochester's downtown. Eighties music videos are projected on the walls as players crowd around the revived arcade games.

No quarters are needed. A flat $10 fee allows you to play as long as they are open.

The informal operation announces to its almost 600 fans when it is open on its Facebook group, The Machine Shed Game Collective. The call brings out players of all ages.

"It's all about the love the games," said Strong, 39, of why he spends time tracking down old parts to bring old games back to life.

While the old games are the focus, the Machine Shed is also about re-creating a group experience of the past.

Erik Derby, 18, of Mantorville had never been in an arcade until he walked into The Machine Shed on a recent Sunday afternoon.

"This place is pretty different and very awesome. It's kind of like of what the adults of our time used to do when they were kids," Derby said as he waited his turn to play Street Fighter. "We're trying it now, and we're loving it, too."

Harrison Heppelman, 17, was first exposed to The Machine Shed games, when he played some at Kasson's Festival in the Park. The Machine Shed rents out machines for special events, like the upcoming Rochester On Tap at the Mayo Civic Center and company holiday parties.

"Next time we should bring our dads," Heppelman told Derby as they moved on to another game.

Aarke is pleased to see teenagers experiencing something he believes is missing from today's isolated, logged on culture.

"Society as a whole is so detached from this world. If you can bring them back down to a 4-bit or 8-bit game, they have to play against a friend who's right next to them. Or they have to make friends, because they have to play against somebody who is better than them," he said. "It's a win-win, I think."

Of course, it's not all about life lessons as players drive tanks on Battle Zone or try to survive the flames of Dragon's Lair II.

Strong remembers when he first restored a game at his house. While it was fun to play, it wasn't the same as playing at an arcade. He believes that the arcade amplifies the fun as gamers play shoulder to shoulder.

"There's something about people laughing and the game noise," agreed 42-year-old Jaime Odiet as he played Golden Tee Golf. "I think the laughter and noises make up about one-third of the experience at an arcade."

The Machine Shed is part of a national resurgence of arcades. While the number of arcades dropped dramatically at the end of the 1990s, their numbers have been slowly growing the past few years. Industry sources say that about 1,620 arcades were operating in the 2014. Growth in "barcades," a combo of a bar and an arcade, is driving those numbers even higher.

Strong and Aarke hope to one day to move to a larger spot. They have crammed as many games into the garage space as possible.

As a business, they do more than run the arcade. They restore old games and do custom builds for customers as well as rent out machines. Aarke's Protech Services, a technology repair and installation firm that works with small businesses, is based out of the office behind the arcade.

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Business Reporter

Jeff has worked at newspapers as a reporter, columnist, editor, photographer and copy editor since 1992. He started at the Post Bulletin in 1999. Kiger is the PB's business reporter and writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street."