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Shell Factory opens revamped game room

By Staff | Aug 23, 2016

The days of using tokens and playing “vintage” video games is now a thing of the past at the Shell Factory.

The venue has spent nearly $300,000 to completely revamp its game room with state-of-the-art games that no longer need tokens or strips of tickets.

The game room opened Saturday and featured nearly 30 of the hottest video games, new Skee-Ball, basketball, and even a few pinball machines.

They ripped out the walls and refreshed the area with bright coats of paint. Also, the old Betty Boop restaurant has been completely refurbished to give the parents a great place to watch their kids.

Rick Tupper, marketing director and CFO for the Shell Factory, said the work done continues the historic attraction’s commitment to reinvest in the company.

“We got rid of all the old games. Everything is digital now. You use a money card now and there’s a new redemption area,” Tupper said. “It’s a new addition to our tag as the No. 1 family destination.”

The Shell Factory recently finished an enlargement of the Holiday House and has made significant improvements to the Nature Park. It has also taken over the weekly classic car Cruise-Ins on Monday nights, which has proven to be a bonanza.

Tupper said the Shell Factory found its opportunity when several local arcades went out of business and decided it wanted to fill the niche.

“Those were stand-alone areas, where we have the luxury of being attached to other venues. We think it’s a great place for birthday parties and for families to come to where they know the kids will be safe,” Tupper said.

Workers were busy Wednesday removing the old games and replacing them with brand new ones, along with a new machine that doles out cards that you can swipe to gain access to the games and credits you for the coupons you earn to be redeemed at the new redemption center.

Tom George, owner of All Florida Amusements, said the old game room was out of date, with many of the games out of order. He said the Cronins didn’t want to own the equipment, but rent it so they can trade out games that fall out of favor or break down.

“There was run-down equipment that was 30 years old and none of it worked. We came down and found 80 percent of the games were broken,” George said. “We’ll use a debit card system so we have no more ticket or coin jams. You load up the card and swipe it for all the games.”

George said he expects the investment to be well worth it, by as much as 20 to 30 percent right off the bat because of the easy access.

Dead Storm Pirates and Keymasters are among the new games, with perhaps a new version of Ms. Pacman and other classics still available, George said.

“This should do really well. There are a lot of bells and whistles it didn’t have before,” George said.