No ar­chaic ar­cade

New­est ten­ant of Denver Pavil­ions of­fer­ing “lat­est and great­est games”

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Em­i­lie Rusch

It was still quiet Thurs­day in­side the new­est ten­ant of the Denver Pavil­ions, but come 6 p.m. Fri­day, it should be full of the whir of ar­cade games, mu­sic and vic­tory cel­e­bra­tions.

FTW, a new ar­cade-gas­tropub con­cept from the com­pany be­hind Lucky Strike, will un­wrap its third U.S. lo­ca­tion Fri­day, a 15,000-square-foot gam­ing des­ti­na­tion con­nected to the bowl­ing al­ley on the down­town shop­ping cen­ter’s third level.

Short for “For the Win,” you won’t find sticky floors, reels of pa­per tick­ets or an­ti­quated ar­cade ma­chines here.

FTW boasts 195 player sta­tions with the “lat­est and great­est games, tech­nolo­gies and at­trac­tions” in a steam­punk-in­spired en­vi­ron­ment, said Jim Ben­ning­ton, na­tional man­ager of games and re­demp­tion. Bal­ances and win­nings are tracked via a cardswipe sys­tem, elim­i­nat­ing the need for cash.

“Think about ar­cades in the 1980s — they were dark, dingy, no re­turns, play at your own risk,” Ben­ning­ton said. “This is the ar­cade re-imag­ined. This isn’t 8-bit any­more.”

Among the maze of games packed into the space are clas­sics such as Skee­ball, Popa-Shot and the “World’s Largest Pac­man” — as well as first-to-mar­ket at­trac­tions in­clud­ing Sega Show­down, a four-player, mo­tion-based de­mo­li­tion derby game dis­played on 80-inch 4K Ul­tra HD mon­i­tors.

Another game, Lost Land Ad­ven­ture, boasts a “per­sonal in­ter­ac­tive spher­i­cal dis­play,” es­sen­tially your own lit­tle IMAX screen for game play. A two-player air hockey ta­ble — there’s also a four-player ver­sion called QuadAir — comes equipped with slo-mo re­play cam­eras to catch your op­po­nent’s re­ac­tions.

“You will al­ways win some­thing when you come in to play,” Ben­ning­ton said. “We cre­ate a win­ning en­vi­ron­ment.”

In­side The Pay­off, an 850-square-foot re­tail store that re­places the tra­di­tional prize counter, prizes in­clude candy and nov­el­ties, as well as high-end elec­tron­ics such as the Ap­ple Watch and hand­made steam­punk top hats and jew­elry.

The ar­cade shares a bar and kitchen with Lucky Strike, and servers will de­liver the gas­tropub-style eats and drinks wher­ever guests are in the com­plex.

The bowl­ing al­ley also un­der­went a com­pre­hen­sive re­model as part of the FTW project, with new fur­ni­ture, light­ing, au­dio­vi­sual equip­ment and decor.

For the Denver Pavil­ions, FTW marks a win of the first-to-mar­ket va­ri­ety, join­ing Uniqlo, Henry’s Tav­ern and H&M’s Home col­lec­tion in just the last year or so, Gart Prop­er­ties pres­i­dent Mark Sidell said.

Ten­ants such as FTW are part of a grow­ing trend in re­tail as con­sumers’ shop­ping habits change, he said — the trend to­ward ex­pe­ri­ences.

“These ex­pe­ri­ences can only be had in per­son,” Sidell said. “The an­chor of the shop­ping cen­ter used to be just the big­gest ten­ant. To­day, the an­chor is the one who draws the peo­ple.”

Pho­tos by John Leyba, The Denver Post

The com­pany be­hind Lucky Strike bowl­ing al­leys will de­but an ar­cade-gas­tropub con­cept on the third level of the Denver Pavil­ions on Fri­day af­ter work­ers put the fi­nal touches on get­ting the games ready.

FTW, short for “For the Win,” will un­wrap its third U.S. lo­ca­tion Fri­day in Denver. “This is the ar­cade reimag­ined,” says a com­pany ex­ec­u­tive.

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