Dedicated Arcade Game Renovator: Meet Nicholas Arone

Planning to open his own arcade in the future


Standing beside his personal “Dig Dug” cabinet, freshman Nicholas Arone is working towards adding more machines to his collection. He has had an interest in arcade games since five years old. “My dream cabinet is a six player ‘X-Men’ or a dedicated ‘Ghosts and Goblins’ cabinet,” Arone said. “But my favorite game from the old school era is ‘DigDug.’”

Gray Barranco, Staff Writer

Diligently unscrewing his newest arcade cabinet, freshman Nicholas Arone searches for the cause of the issue after buying the cabinet with the intention to repair. Once the problem is fixed, Arone plugs it back in and drops his first quarter into the slot to start playing. After experiencing success, Arone adds it to his collection of fully repaired machines. Arone is constantly adding to his personal collection by getting new cabinets each month.

As a kid, seeing a “Pac-Man” game machine for the first time inspired Arone’s passion.

“I was at a video game museum when I was five years old,” Arone said. “This cool game that I’ve never seen before, this big yellow cabinet with the joystick and the buttons. I wasn’t used to seeing that and I was like ‘Woah, this is pretty interesting.’”

Teaching himself how to repair machines after his first machine gave him trouble, Arone has continued despite the difficulty.

“I had to learn visually,” Arone said. “I’d start with something easy and then see if someone else had a problem online and figure out how they did it. There aren’t usually tutorials for this kind of stuff, but where there is I usually use them for help. In some situations, it’s easy. Sometimes, something is more difficult, like when a monitor goes down, you have to bring it down to someone to repair it. It’s the most difficult when there’s more than one of the major components of the cabinet broken at once.”

While working on games for the past four years, Arone has developed a unique set of skills.

“You need the ability to endure long periods of time to repair one single game,” Arone said. “For a cabinet that isn’t working, you have to do a cabinet inspection so you know exactly what is wrong. That means the monitor, control panel, the board, all the other stuff. It’ll help you figure out what exactly your issue is.”

In hopes of opening his own arcade someday, Arone has a collection of upwards of eighty arcade games kept in both his house and four storage units.

“My favorite part of it all is having this huge collection of games that I can show off to the world someday,” Arone said. “I want to open a business locally in Las Vegas. I want to hopefully shine a light on what revolutionized the gaming industry.”

Because Arone plans to develop his arcade outside of The Strip, he believes his arcade will not have to worry about the Pinball Hall of Fame as potential competition.

“There is no competition,” Arone said. “ We’re probably going to blow them out of the water.”