Arcade takes downtown corner to next level

Arcade takes downtown corner to next level

EUGENE, Ore. - The corner of 13th and Oak streets had seen its fair share of trouble when a nightclub reopened as a video game arcade.

A year later, Level Up arcade is finding success as a family friendly arcade and bar.

"We haven't had one fight, we haven't had one OLCC violation," said Joshua Docherty, co-owner of Level Up.

Minors are welcome until 9 p.m. After that, the 21 and over crowd have the arcade to themselves.

The arcade - full of vintage video games like Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers, plus a hall full of nothing but pinball machines - traces its origins to Docherty's garage.

"I always had 20 or 30 games in my garage," he said. "My wife was kind of mad at me I took over the garage."

Level Up gives Docherty a place to put his passion for repairing vintage games on display.

"We kind of went crazy and now we have over 91 games in here," he said.

Bringing back the classics is about more than just video games.

"When we see somebody's eyes light up at getting to play something new or getting that high score on pinball, that's what its all about. That's awesome," Docherty said.

In an age when you can play video games on a cell phone, he thinks the arcade still has a place in our society.

"We've been so inundated with media and, you know, just having access to gaming platforms and computers, we have completely taken the social aspect out of it and some of the excitement out of it," Docherty said.

And at 25 centers per game, inflation has made arcades an even better bargain for entertainment.

"You know, a quarter is not what it was worth in 1980 when Pac-Man came out," Docherty said.