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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Entertainment

A little Chaos: New arcade and cafe on Francis offers food, fun and virtual-reality games

By Kris Kilduff For The Spokesman-Review

Gone are the days of digitally shooting up rows of invading aliens with a pocket full of quarters. Gaming, which once ruled the commercial entertainment landscape in the form of arcades, slowly turned home-based with the popularity of consoles and personal computers.

Where once we obliged all challengers in air hockey and button-mashed with all our might to save the Earthly realm with an uppercut, we now save our share of woe-begotten princesses from our Laz-E-Boy.

Beverly Lee, who recently moved to Spokane from Denver, is looking to change that narrative. “I moved to Spokane with my husband, and we found there was little to do in town for adults, especially since we are not bar people,” Lee said.

“I’m a huge gamer, and I wanted to create a space for people to just game and have fun and hopefully make new friends.”

Chaos Arcade, the space Lee has opened, has become a 13,000-square-foot gaming spot on Francis Avenue on the North Side. Though any iteration of an arcade is going to be fun, what makes Chaos Arcade stand out is its dedication to diversity.

This is not your typical arcade where kids go and adults tolerate; it is a playground for all ages with games to challenge and entertain many age groups and interest levels.

Younger children have tons of options from popular mobile games turned arcade like Crossy Road and Flappy Bird to carnival-style challenges like Ring Toss.

Adults can take a trip down memory lane of arcade classics like Pac-Man, Pinball or a giant-sized Space Invaders, or they can gear up the competition and put the pedal to the metal in life-sized Mario Kart.

Chaos Arcade recently added four-player co-op Minecraft Dungeons, which I was told has been a huge hit. “I once saw some kids begging their dad to leave because they were tired and he wasn’t done playing,” Lee said.

One of Chaos Arcade’s biggest draws is it has one of Spokane’s highest-tech virtual-reality stations. There are eight stations with top-of-the-line equipment that allow participants to do anything from solving puzzles to fighting ninjas.

Chaos Arcaded hosted a VR tournament sponsored by Monster Energy on Saturday that featured a first-place prize of $5,000. But making an arcade work takes a lot more than great games.

Chaos Arcade is made complete with a fully decorated private party room and a great menu that offers everything from gourmet sandwiches and pizza to boba, espresso and beer/wine. And what arcade isn’t complete without prizes?

This is another standout quality of Chaos Arcade. A typical modern arcade’s prize wall is generic, throwaway trash. Chaos Arcade brings something fresh and new with prizes curated so that gamers end their night with awesome loot.

“Besides a really diverse selection of candy and snacks, we have things like bacon lollipops, pickle cotton candy and craft hot sauces,” Lee said.

“We’ve got dozens of different Funko Pops, collectible acrylic pins and hundreds of novelty items like gunpowder-scented candles and Bob Ross Chia Pets. We even have a great selection of high-value items.”

Chaos Arcade is about creating an environment that everyone can enjoy, a space where you aren’t being roped into anything political or worrying about college debt.

In an arcade, everyone is on the same playing field. Walking around an arcade, everyone is smiling. Having fun is contagious, and when you’re immersed in Chaos Arcade, it is the easiest thing to do to blow off steam while making new friends.

Kris Kilduff can be reached at kris.kilduff56@gmail.com.

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