Here's a great article from The Evening Sun, dated October 29, 2011, about Time Line arcade as they are about to open. Included is an interview with the owner, Brandon Spencer.
Retro arcade to open in Hanover Business owner says it beats playing new games at home. By Tim Stonesifer, The Evening Sun
No doubt about it -- there's a bit of Bart Simpson in Brandon Spencer. Notice the tuft of blonde hair, the toothy smile and an inner kid so clearly ready to come out and play.
Talk a little more to the 32-year-old, though, and you find the connection goes deeper, as just below the surface hides a good-natured but good-and-ingrained anti-establishment streak. Brandon talks about corporate America like Bart bashes Principal Seymour Skinner. Maybe it was all those video games growing up, Spencer said this week.
He'd like to think so.
The Littlestown resident would like to think he's passed that healthy skepticism on to his two children through, among other things, those classic video and pinball games that he played as a kid and that they, too, seem to love. It would be nice if that would translate further still, he said, to other locals looking to go back to a simpler, if slightly more pixilated time.
And they'll have the opportunity, the young and the old, next week, when the kid who grew up at the arcade opens one of his own here in Hanover.
TimeLine Arcade will pull up its metal, mall-front mesh on Nov. 1, offering up 32 classic games to all comers at the North Hanover Mall. The business will be open during regular mall hours, and will largely charge 25 cents per play, just like the good old days.
Spencer -- who recently quit a job with a pest-control company to dip a toe in that ever-shrinking pool of self-employment -- said he and family are fully behind the fledgling project. Spencer's parents will help run the store, he said, and the goal is to make it just like those old arcades you remember, only better.
"We're focusing on making this clean and safe and fun," he said this week, leading a pixel-lit tour past blipping and beeping machines. "This is going to be one of those places -- it's going to be unique, different."
That starts with the games, Spencer said, all too happy to show off those both from his personal collection, and others recently purchased to fill out the large mall space near J.C. Penney. There are 32 to start with, though there could be more soon, as demand becomes clearer and the store grows.
The arcade features a wall full of pinball games dating from the 1950s and running through the end of the millennium, including an early baseball game and popular titles like "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Transformers." Those wishing to mix in a love of Rock 'n' Roll can take a shot at The Who's "Pinball Wizard" game.
And there are plenty of video games to choose from as well, including Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede and even Big Buck Hunter, a blaze-orange rifle waiting there in the holster.
The games are organized and identified by era and will use electronic card-readers instead of coins, Spencer explained, and a display on one wall charts the history of pinball and video games, listing the milestones.
For instance, 1966 marked the first digital pinball game, "Rally Girl," and the 1970s brought us not only larger bell-bottom pants, but bigger pinball flippers, too.
For the 30-something, it should be a nice trip down memory lane, Spencer said, and of course game aficionados will love it. But even for the younger crowd, a retro arcade will offer plenty of entertainment, he said, and the chance to see how it was done in the days before the proliferation of home-gaming systems.
And in a way, Spencer said, an arcade full of classic games in Hanover will allow for a social experience kids often don't get today. Back in the 1980s, he said, the arcade was a social outlet, a button-banging way to connect and compete with other kids, and to learn to interact.
Today we're more segmented, Spencer said. We sit at home alone and play games made by big corporations, he said, then grow up and into a cubicle at one of those same corporations.
In a way, the public arcade used to be the front porch of town for kids. And Spencer said that's something a generation growing up locked away and isolated at home could sorely use.
"I just don't want to see all this disappear," he said, waving a hand past video game history. "And I mean come on, who wants to sit at home in front of the computer all day."