Video arcade debuts on Main Street

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff

Fresh from another galaxy, the 3rd Rock Arcade opened on Monday on Main Street.

Inside, against the black background, are the fluorescent neon colors of the moon, planets, stars and space ships that come to life under the black lights. Video game screens flash the latest high scorers and cuts from the latest rock cd fill the air.

Designed as a kid’s space, the arcade features more than 15 video games and mainline favorites such as StreetFever basketball.

“We wanted to have a business that was for kids,” said Shawnda Howe, who with her husband, Mathew Howe, have opened the arcade. “There’s really nothing for kids to do here. We wanted to provide a place where they could come and hang out.”

The couple began transforming their rented space in July. And it’s also become a family enterprise, with Wanda Campbell, Howe’s mother, and her in-laws, Pat and Corkey Howe, pitching in to help decorate.

The games come from Amarillo and Albuquerque, with an additional five coming any day. There’s also a snack bar, where soft drinks and chips and candy are sold.
Howe said the space was once a clothing store, and six fitting rooms have been adapted so that each is now a slot for a video game.

“My husband and son really love video games,” she said, adding that they routinely visit video arcades outside of Tucumcari. Some of the games include TrophyHunting, a big game experience, and OffRoad Thunder, an auto racing game that includes a car seat that gives the game player the sensation of racing.

Over the weekend the arcade went through a test run from the youth group at Howe’s church, First Assembly of God, she said.

The kids approved, Howe said, adding that one of the things that the kids thought was cool was the arcade’s bathroom. Inside the bathroom, graffiti is encouraged and there are sticks of street chalk so that the kids can draw or sign their names on the black walls.

Most of the games cost 50 cents. A game of pool is a $1 and air hockey is 75 cents.
The arcade is open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday to Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.