Old Town goes old-school with new arcade


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Everything old in Old Town is new again.

The Arcade has dozens of video games from the 80s and 90s. They have tables that are rubik’s cubes and longer tables that are large video game controls. And a TV in the front lobby is playing old movies from the 80s.

Will the concept work in Wichita?

“I’ve got friends in Oklahoma, Cincinnati and outside San Francisco and they’re doing this exact thing and it’s very popular,” says Derek Sorrells, with The Arcade of Old Town. “Because we grew up with this, this gives you the opportunity to bring your kids in and show them what we grew up with. And it’s amazing.”

Sorrells hopes the business model works. Ten bucks for a day pass and you can play all the games. He and his business partner, Michael Jensen, are open for business this week with more than 60 old-school, stand-up arcade games. It’s in Old Town on Mead Street.

“And it’s very simplistic technology. You have a power supply that powers the game board and the hard drive,” says self-professed tech-geek, Jensen. ” And it interfaces with the actual arcade monitor, and that’s about it.”

Jensen works the games. He knows how to fix and maintain all of them. And, there’s a lot that goes into maintaining tech that is three decades old.

On the business side, there’s Sorrells. He had 48 of the old video games in his basement. Now, they’re in his new business.

“I told everybody that I didn’t have a problem that I could stop at any time. But 48 was about all I could get down there,” says Sorrells. “My girls think I’m a little crazy… and they think it’s a little nuts. But they enjoy it as well.”

Sorrells says he is considering applying for a liquor license, given the fact his business is in the heart of Old Town. But, he says, his target demographic is more than just adults looking for some nostalgia.

“There’s always challenges when you do something like this. Michael and I both have day jobs. But we really enjoy people playing games so if we make a little money, it’s icing on the cake,” says Sorrells. “It’s going to be people like me that remember riding their bicycle down to the arcade and playing and having a good time with their friends. And it’s also going to be people who bring their kids. It’s also possible it will be people who are the younger set. You have people used to playing the PS4 and used to playing XBox but they want the opportunity to actually stand at an arcade and do what their parents did and enjoy some of those games. That is just not the same playing on your TV at home.”

The Arcade is on North Mead Street, and it opens Friday.

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