Millcreek arcade brings video game classics to kids of all ages

Published: Tuesday, July 17 2012 9:53 a.m. MDT

Chris Wright, who owns the Atomic Arcade, has been collecting the machines for years. His arcade specializes in old video games Monday, July 16, 2012, in Millcreek.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

MILLCREEK — "Pac-Man," "Donkey Kong" and "Pong." They are video games played at the arcade before Xbox and PlayStations were in every home.

Now, kids of all ages can experience playing arcade games in Millcreek. The Atomic Arcade, 3939 Highland Drive, specializes in bringing back the classics and getting kids out of the house.

The arcade doesn’t have a fancy marketing campaign, but it is stirring up plenty of nostalgia.

It resides in a modest building on Highland Drive. But inside of the business opened just this spring, it's not just the games that will keep people coming back, it's the sounds that will make anyone feel like a kid again.

The beeps, whirs and dings are reminiscent of the heyday of arcades.

Chris Wright, who owns the arcade, has been collecting the machines for years. "In my garage and in my basement, and in my, just pretty much crammed into my house like crazy," he said of storing the games.

He has all the classics — like "Galaga," "Pac-Man," "Mario Brothers" and "Donkey Kong" — but he also has dozens of others, including the game that started it all: Atari's "Pong."

People who grew up with arcades frequent the Atomic Arcade, but today's youths find it to be a refreshing change from the games they play from their couches or computer desks.

"All these games are new to them like they were to us when they came out," Wright said. "They are just as excited to see them as I was when they came out."

Whether people come through the doors for a piece of nostalgia or to experience these classics for the first time, the enthusiasm is tangible, Wright said.

"I need to put a punching bag in there for them, I think, because they get so excited about it," he said.

Wright's family helps him run the arcade. He has another job, and his family keeps the doors open by working as game attendants. It stays open late, until midnight most nights and 1 a.m. on Saturday nights.

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