‘Arcade 92’ gives modern twist to retro atmosphere

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Click the photo above to start a slideshow with captions full of information about “Arcade 92,” a restaurant, bar, and arcade located in “Historic Downtown Mckinney” that takes you back in time to the evolution of video games. Access to the arcade costs $12 per person and has no age restrictions, (until 9 p.m. when 18 and older hours begin)  or time limit. Due to COVID-19, safety precautions are implemented, with hand-sanitizer stations placed throughout the establishment, socially distanced game consoles and masks are required at all times. For more information, check out their website here.

Arcade game machines glow beneath the Arcade 92 logo. The restaurant, located in “Historic Downtown McKinney,” includes more than 100 different games, ranging from machines to modern consoles. “The ’92’ is a reference to 1992, and that’s the golden age of video games,” owner Michael Lepsch said. “In the early ’80s, there was a golden age of arcades, but ‘92 was the golden age of all video game consoles.” (Emma Hutchinson)
Games line the floor from left to right toward the entrance of the restaurant. The layout is designed to have the oldest games in the front and slowly shift to the newest games in the back. “It’s designed to be a living museum, so as you walk in, you go from oldest to newest (games),” owner Michael Lepsch said. “This entire (front) section right here is from the first golden age of the arcades, from 1979 to 1983.” (Emma Hutchinson)
Pinball machines await their next player on the lower floor. Users pay an upfront fee of $12 and get access to every game, new or old, with no limit to how much time they spend in the arcade. No age restrictions exist until 9 p.m., when the arcade shifts to ages 18 and up only. (Emma Hutchinson)
In the back of the lower floor, more recent games, such as “MarioKart 8” and “Fortnite,” are set up for users along with gaming recliners. Arcade 92 holds tournaments every month in the modern gaming lounge to allow players to test their skills and compete for a prize. Schedules for tournaments are posted on the restaurant’s website. (Emma Hutchinson)
The “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” pinball machine displays its bright colors and intimidating graphics. Arcade 92 owner Michael Lepsch describes his establishment as the result of a “mid-life crisis” and his prior hobby of collecting. “I started collecting as a hobby, and then it took over a bedroom, and then it took over an office, and then it took over the garage.” Lepsch said. “I realized this was bigger than me, so we dialed up the collection from a couple dozen games to about 100 in here right now.” (Emma Hutchinson)
The original “Super Mario Brothers” machine stands at the front of the arcade. Its location marks that it was one of the earlier arcade games, established in 1985. “The first game I ever played was ‘Super Mario Brothers’ at a gas station outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1986,” owner Michael Lepsch said. “That’s my favorite game just because it has the most meaning.” (Emma Hutchinson)
More arcade machines crowd each other with their retro designs and array of buttons. The machines and consoles in the middle of the floor represent the late 80s era. “This (middle section) is what’s called the quiet periods of the arcade, so it’s the late 80s,” owner Michael Lepsch said. “The reason why arcades went down from so many to so few is because of the home systems like Nintendo and Sega Genesis.” (Emma Hutchinson)
The action buttons of “Mortal Kombat 3″ shine in the sunlight. During the late 80s and early 90s, machines began to incorporate multiplayer features that brought people together. “The whole arcade had their own culture,” owner Michael Lepsch said. “You would literally go there to meet people, to have a community, and that’s what we’re trying to emulate and recreate is that whole culture from the mid 90s.” (Emma Hutchinson)