This summer, Arnie’s Playland is lighting up Bethany Beach with several new digital games and looking to put the Shore Fun back in the downtown arcade.
Space Invaders Frenzy is the most popular of the new games, according to manager Eric Esterson. The game has an 8-foot LED display, dual cockpit seating and mounted gun cannons.
Another addition is “The Walking Dead” — a game based on the AMC television show — in which players shoot the undead with crossbow controllers.
The arcade’s newest pinball machine is a “Ghostbusters”-themed game.
These changes are all part of the updates put into motion by the arcade’s new owners, Esterson said.
Arnie’s Playland has served up family fun for 34 years. There were once two locations, but now the sole arcade location is on Garfield Parkway in Bethany.
In addition to the new digital games, the arcade also has six new Skee-Ball machines.
“We currently have 15 Skee Ball machines, but we are trying to get down to about eight,” said Esterson, who added that Skee Ball is still popular among customers, even with the more technologically-advanced game options now available.
“We’re trying to keep things new, based on what makes the most money,” said Esterson, “The video games are dying, because people are all about winning tickets and prizes.”
Updating an arcade does not come cheap; new games can cost around $13,000 each.
Along with the new games and new ownership, the arcade is in the process of changing its name from Arnie’s to Shore Fun. The arcade was actually originally named Shore Fun, but the previous owners changed the name to Arnie’s, said Esterson. Arnie’s gets its name from the previous owner’s father.
In addition to new games, the arcade has a new sign and carpeting. “We’re trying to reinvest everything,” Esterson said.
They are looking to extend their hours as well. They started their season during spring break this year, and, even after the summer, they plan to stay open on weekends until New Year’s.
Arnie’s Playland is located at 108 Garfield Parkway in Bethany. For more information, call (302) 402-3077.