The Daytona Arcade Museum

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Thought I’d share some details of this place I stumbled across late last year after visiting the Free Play Florida event in Orlando.

I’ve not seen Daytona Arcade Museum mentioned before on any collector forums, so after finding out about the place, figured a visit would be in order. Despite calling itself a museum, it is for all intents and purposes an arcade. Pay a fee at the door, and you are then free to play pretty much everything that’s on display. There’s no time limits either, so if you want to spend the whole day there, you are free to do so.

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Daytona Arcade Museum’s impressive frontage

What is impressive on arrival is the building itself. A former theatre built in the late 40s, with quite a salubrious past (there is still evidence of cages that once housed erotic dancers!), the museum cuts an impressive sight when you walk through the door.

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The main floor at Daytona Arcade Museum

Machines are spread out across the main floor, with some higher up on a stage area. I was allowed to visit the VIP area high up on a balcony to get some of these shots.

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Not the biggest arcade I’ve visited, but there’s plenty here to keep you busy for a few hours

Adding to the ambience of the place is a huge screen that shows 80s music videos on a loop, and evening visitors are treated to what is called “twilight gaming” after 6.00pm when the lights are lowered to give a true classic arcade experience. The atmosphere is great, and there’s a good range of cabinets to admire and of course play.

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After 6.00pm, the lights go down. Twilight Gaming!

Owner Brian French, bought the building a couple of years back, after it was a nightclub for several years throughout the 90s and early 2,000s. French sought to improve the reputation of the building and create a business with broad appeal. I’d say he’s certainly achieved that. My visit was really enjoyable, and the atmosphere in the place was excellent.

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Machines are laid out in a broad chronological order. More modern titles along this row
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There’s plenty of room to walk around and watch other players
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Several classic along this row. Taito Zookeeper always good fun

Pinball is pretty well represented at Daytona Arcade Museum. There’s not a huge range of titles, but enough variety across all eras to get a good fix:

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Being able to shuffle along this row of pins was great
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Notice the cards sat atop each machine giving a description of the game, estimates on numbers released and approximate date of manufacture
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The pinball area came into its own when the lights were dimmed

The music volume wasn’t too intrusive, so you are able to hear the machines as you play.

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Being able to play a slew of classic 80s arcade titles, with David Lee Roth looking on from the big screen is a win in anyone’s book I’d say

Plenty of common games were on display – the meat and veg of classic arcade gaming were all there as you’d expect. But I picked out a few cool titles to share here:

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A Taito Battle Shark complete with periscope controls
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Atari Space Duel with wood grain sides
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Escape from the Robot Monsters. Rare Atari title
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This Baby Pac-Man was beautiful and fully restored
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Sadly down during our visit, but this Space Duel cocktail was great to see in person. Not many around today
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Death Race. Fully working and great fun
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This was the find of the day I’d say. An original Space Zap by Game-A-Tron. Eventually licensed to Midway, finding the original in such stunning condition made my trip!

The area to the right was particularly cool. A selection of cockpit cabs occupied the space there:

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Atari Hard Drivin’, Pole Position and Star Wars. Sega Space Turbo had some great art to it

I stumbled across a handful of older amusement machines out on display:

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Enjoyed these classic electro-mechanical games

There was also various items on display in cabinets to view. Old consoles and video game collectables were a good distraction from the main arcade floor:

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An Atari 2600 ET cartridge from the infamous dig at Alamagordo, New Mexico. Neat!
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An original Magnavox Odyssey 2 home computer

So, Daytona Arcade Museum. Worth a visit? For sure. If you’re in the area, there’s enough rare stuff on display to keep collectors happy, and a volume of titles to keep curious adults and kids occupied for a good few hours too.

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Who doesn’t like a row of cabaret arcade machines? That Tron mini was really nice to play

So if you find yourself in the Daytona Beach area looking for an authentic 80s arcade experience, I’d say this place delivers in spades. It’s a real easy drive from Orlando too.

Daytona Arcade Museum gets a thumbs up here on Arcade Blogger. I’ll certainly be back when I’m in Florida again!

Thanks for reading this week.

Tony

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt Bryant says:

    Looks great, but I take issue with the display card for the O2. 1974?

    Like

  2. joe stokes says:

    Awesome!! I don’t know if this email will get to tony temple, but I have a question for him. How long did it take you to become as good as you are at missile command. How many hours would you recommend for someone to practice a day to become a world champion at an retro arcade game? Also, have you ever hit slumps in your gameplay and what did you do to get out of them?

    Thanks, Joe Stokes

    >

    Like

  3. Tony says:

    hey Joe – I’ve sent you an email.

    Like

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