Vagabond Arcade brings back childhood games
RIVER FALLS — A year into opening, Vagabond Arcade has continued to grow, filling its space at 136 Riverwalk Road with classic arcade games.
What started as a collection of old games for nostalgia's sake turned into something more for Seegar Mason, Russell Mason and Ryan Fullmer.
"We didn't really mean to do this when we first started," Seegar Mason said. "It just kind of turned into an obsession."
The three had often talked about how they wished they had a nearby arcade like the ones they loved as kids.
"And realizing that there was the possibility with us as adults that we could do that," Russell Mason said.
So they decided they should turn their passion into a business. They opened Vagabond in October last year, with the games they had taking up storage and office space in their own homes.
"If an arcade isn't in your town, you don't get to see these things," Fullmer said.
They find their games through online ads and auctions, sometimes driving all over Wisconsin and Minnesota to get them.
"We've gone on some pretty big adventures," Russell Mason said.
Vagabond currently has about 35 arcade games.
"There's always more games coming," Russell Mason said.
Fullmer said the games, though somewhat older, are still relevant.
"Old video games are still fun," he said.
The trio's personal favorites include Ms. Pacman, Shinobi and Riven, though picking one isn't easy.
In addition to the games, Vagabond has events, competitions and tournaments centered around the games, as well as being open for parties.
The three enjoy all aspects of the arcade business, from hunting down new games to repairing them and seeing them ready to play.
"Seeing one of these things go from sitting in someone's dingy basement for the last 20 years to finally having human beings around it that care about it and want to work on it and just seeing them coming back to life," Fullmer said.
Watching guests come in and play the games they've loved for years is one of the best parts of the job, Russell Mason said.
"It just brings me back to being at an arcade when I was a kid," he said.
As River Falls natives, it made sense for them to open Vagabond here in town. They hope the arcade provides a new type of place for friends and family members of all ages to spend time any time of the year.
"A place for people to have fun and just to be," Seegar Mason said.
Vagabond Arcade will continue to expand, with plans for concessions and potentially a larger building in the future.
"We intend to keep going," Russell Mason said.