I learned yesterday that Electric Ave., the arcade/PC cafe in Ventura where I played the lion’s share of DDR and ITG, is closing down this week.
I guess it was inevitable: ever since CalTrans shut down the Johnson Dr. on- and off-ramps last year, the place had been really hurting for business, and had to cut back on a lot of staff in order to meet their bottom line. Still, it’s a shame that such a terrific arcade and tournament venue is closing. I’ve met a lot of really cool people and made quite a few memories in there, and now I won’t have that opportunity anymore. EA had the best layout of any gaming place I’ve seen – totally laid back, with couches and tables for those taking a breather from the pixelated chaos. The staff has all been very friendly and accomodating, especially during the tournaments which I’m pretty sure they knew weren’t really helping them make a profit. The machines were always kept in top shape – a rare find considering how many arcade machines end up neglected and in disrepair at your local mini-golf joint or pizza parlor.
In some ways, it was quite remarkable that EA managed to stay open as long as it did. Not once did I ever see any sort of print, radio, or TV advertising for the place. For an arcade to stay afloat for over four years purely on the basis of word-of-mouth advertising is astounding. But then again, everyone I’ve talked to that’s gone to EA has had nothing but positive things to say about it, and I’m sure that the word got out about how great of a venue EA was.
I’ll be going down there next week to pay my last respects (and it’s clear that many others are planning to do the same). Until then, I just want to thank the proprietors of EA for providing me and dozens of other people years of enjoyment.
As a side note, that makes two arrow-smashing destinations that have gone away (the Galleria got rid of their ITG2 machine two weeks ago). Maybe someone’s trying to tell me something.