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Orlando, FL, USA for The History and Resurgence of The Arcade in Honor of Flip Flop’s Grand Opening

history of arcades

For as long as humans have existed, play has always been a part of life. There’s something completely natural and curious within us that drives us to create games, laugh, interact with each other and our environment. Play is known to help stir creative juices, to bring us joy, and to help us bond with each other.


One form of play that has been popular for decades is arcade games. Arcade games have been around for over a hundred years now, which for the youngsters may be hard to imagine, but the rest of us can think back to the importance quarters used to hold.

The History of Arcades

The First Known Game

Timeline speaking, the first known arcade game was Skee Ball, created by Joseph Simpson in the early 1900’s, or according to other resources J.D. Estes, in Philadelphia. The earliest found patent credits Simpson with the invention, but the accounts have been muddled throughout history. The game got it’s start all around the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Not sure what Skee Ball is? It’s that, seemingly, timeless game where one rolls a ball up the alley to get it into one of the circles, each circle offering a different amount of points.

The Beginning of Coin Operated Machines

Part of what has become so iconic about arcades is the need for coins to operate the games. Coin operated games did not get their start until 1931 when Baffle Ball was created in Chicago. Initially, coin-operated games were labeled as gambling and were banned by many states.

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history of arcades - pinball machine

Pinball Debuts

Pinball may be one of the most famous games of them all, and it was created in 1933. Oddly enough, this game was considered a game of chance and was also labeled as gambling. It took pinball more than a decade to finally make its way into establishments, most of which were bars.

Coin Operated Video Games

Once the 1970s rolled around, the technology was ripe for games to evolve, and evolve they did. Coin operated video games were invented, with the first being Galaxy Game at Stanford University.

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1980: Pacman, The Pinnacle of Arcade Games

There isn’t a soul alive who hasn’t heard of or played Pacman. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but the fame of Pacman is quite real! Known as the most famous and successful arcade game of all time, there have been more than 350,000 Pacman cabinets sold and over 2 billion in profit has been made.

The End of an Era and The Rebirth of a Cultural Phenomenon

The 70s and 80s are known as the Golden Age of arcades, but by the early 90s the popularity began to fade as individual and home consoles were being invented and popularized. The 90s onwards saw a steep decline in arcade traffic, but recently arcades have been making an impressive resurgence. Now sought after for the social and interactive aspect, arcades serve as the perfect playground for kids and adults to play and laugh together.

history of arcades - driving game

Introducing The Grove Resort & Spa’s New Arcade – Flip Flop’s

Here at The Grove Resort & Spa, exciting things on the entertainment front are happening. In just a few days,  Flip Flop’s Family Fun Center is finally opening to the public! In honor of the glory of the arcade days, a few of the classic games will be available including Pinball, Skee-Ball, Pacman, and Galaga.

In honor of the future of the video game world, Flip Flop’s will also be very state-of-the-art with virtual reality games. Curious which VR games are coming to the resort? You’ll have to come and visit to find out! Not even all of the resort staff knows yet, but we are all waiting on the edge of our seat’s to find out!

We seriously cannot wait for Flip Flop’s new and massive space to be open to the public finally! It’s a family fun center unlike any other. With over 7,000 square feet of entertainment, including a Glow-In-The-Dark indoor Mini Golf Course, exciting challenges, prizes, and more, you’ll be hard=pressed to tear your kids, or your parents, away!

Plan your trip to Orlando, book your stay at The Grove, and spend all day every day playing all around the world’s entertainment capital!

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