Vintage arcade center opens in Mesa

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

MESA, Ariz. -- Step back in time to when you used to have to go to an actual arcade to play video games! We're talking classics like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, even the original Asteroids. Those games and more are all at Starfighters Arcade to play.

“There's a very large underground cult, community, that really loves these games,” said Mike Lovato, who joined with Steve Thomas to open the vintage arcade in Mesa. The men are big time collectors and players, and between the two of them, they've collected 107 games.

Calling it their passion is an understatement.

“More of an obsession. Steve and I met a couple of years ago at an event, and talked about how we thought it would be really cool to start our own arcade with a lot of the vintage stuff we've both collected. One thing led to another and over time this is the combination of those efforts,” said Lovato.

They wanted to share their love of 80's video games with the public, so they opened the largest vintage arcade center in the valley near Higley and Brown in east Mesa.

“The games we have set to free play, so you come into our club and pay a club membership to be able to play our games. They used to be money making machines, but they're getting older, so we have to do what we can to keep them in perfect working order,” said Steve Thomas.

Starfighters Arcade is open Friday and Saturday nights, starting at 7.

StarFighters Arcade
4811 E. Julep Street, Suite #124, Mesa