What began as a storage cleanout business has morphed into a one-of-a-kind arcade in Rio Rancho.
The Battle House, located at 1542 Stephanie Road SE #113, is a video gaming arcade that hosts live retro and modern video game tournaments for prizes and offers open arcade play featuring more than 500 games on 20 consoles.
Beverly Goodrow decided to change direction after not seeing enough success with the cleanout business, and her son, Jarrod Lowrey, suggested she use the space to open a retro gaming arcade. Roughly six months later, The Battle House opened its doors last week to bring a sense of nostalgia to people who grew up on Super Mario Bros., Sonic and Mortal Kombat and camaraderie to the young gamers who mostly play online and alone.
“We thought, ‘Hey, let’s just open up a retro video game arcade with the mission statement of “Let’s bring people back together gaming,”‘” Lowrey said. “The intention when we first started gaming in the ’80s and ’90s was to bring people together. The way that things in the world have gone with the pandemic, I think people are retreating to dark closets and playing games online. There’s no social aspect; you don’t get anything socially out of that. Basically in gaming, we’ve gotten away from the original idea that Nintendo and Sega had to game together locally. So with the internet gaming, people are now gaming and having negative interactions. We wanted to make a place called The Battle House. And so that’s what she’s done. And so we encourage people to get together to game.”
The Battle House offers open arcade play for $9.99 per hour with specials, including free hours, the longer you play. The Battle House is tucked away on Stephanie Road but has had rave reviews so far.
“Wow, WWE 2K 19, that takes me back,” one young gamer said on Friday. “Ah, the nostalgia.”
“We want to bring that nostalgia back, that quality of gaming,” Lowrey said. “People have just had a blast so far. They always leave with a huge smile. They’re high-fiving each other, like man, this is awesome. We’re getting repeat customers already.”
Goodrow spent months accumulating the consoles and games online to make sure The Battle House offers as many options as possible.
“We’ve got over 20 consoles. We’ve got backup consoles for every console,” Lowrey said. “You can’t just have one, you have to have two just in case one goes out. So we’ve got two Nintendo 64s. We’ve got two GameCubes. We’ve got two Xboxes. We’ve got five Xbox 360s. It just took a little time to put all these pieces together. But she did a really good job ordering it, and I helped her set it all up. It took some time, but it’s really awesome.”
The Battle House is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. In addition to the open arcade play, tournaments will soon be featured at The Battle House, including weekly Madden tournaments during football season. There’s plenty of TVs and couches set up allowing customers to “console hop” and play as many games as they can.
“We’re selling some different things here. But you’re not gonna walk out here with the product; you’re gonna walk out of here with a good memory,” Lowrey said. “We’re selling nostalgia. When we were first starting, we were thinking, ‘This is going to be great for you know, 30- and 40-year-olds, 50-year old, maybe the boomer generation,’ because we thought it’d be nostalgic. What we realized is a lot of parents want to bring their kids in. So we totally had to reshape our thinking here.”
The Battle House is family friendly with no drugs or alcohol and is designed to create a sense of community for the young and old gamers in Rio Rancho.
“What we want to encourage is people playing against strangers,” Lowrey said. “It’s gonna have a great vibe.”