A hidden gem of a small business lies at 1701 Spring Garden St. While you will not need a strategy guide to get there, you could certainly pick one up when you visit. Lost Ark Video Games opened its doors Aug. 27, 2011, and is cel- ebrating eight years of business this month. Not just your run-of-the-mill gaming store, Lost Ark sells retro and modern games and has a flat rate admission arcade full of imported Japanese cabinets loaded with hours’ worth of games to play.
Daniel McMillan, owner and founder of the store, was working on a Ph.D. in English literature at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) when he decided to step away from academics in pursuit of his passion.
“Academia became very tiresome for me,” McMillan said. “When I decided to step away, I started working at McKay’s and sort of dipped my toes in the video game market. I had been collecting arcade equipment and inventory for some time and when I saw there was interest and room for a game store in the market, I decided to take the jump.”
McMillan recalled an early interest in gaming and Japanese media.
“I was born in 1979. My first console was an Atari 2600 and the early Nintendo era was huge for me, as well as anime,” he said. “It was surreal and dark and was very much everything American animation was not at the time. It was hard to get a hold of, but it was worth it.”
Lost Ark Video Games is in a strategic location for its market, as it is only blocks away from Greensboro College and UNCG, but that is not to say that the shop’s main audience is entirely young adults and college students.
I moved here for UNCG,” McMillan stated, “but our audience is varied among all sorts of demographics.” Collecting has become popular as retro games become older, and many gamers seek preservation of those old titles that are becoming harder and harder to come by.
Lost Ark is unique in its ability to provide gamers of all ages old and new experiences, and the community aspect of a local arcade is attractive to many gamers.
When asked about the future of the store, McMillan only had a few words.
“Who can say? I think we provide something unique to the community, and we strive to continue to do that.”
During September, wearing a Lost Ark Video Games T-shirt to the store got you free arcade admission. With charismatic and kind staff, a great arcade and a swath of great consoles and games, Lost Ark has a bright future ahead of it.
By Amos “Z-Train” Brady