The amusement arcade, like the shopping mall, is a 20th century relic. Once synonymous with teen idling and coming of age, these hangouts have since been eaten by the internet. But in one New Zealand town, the arcade is biting back, led by a Pac-Man that feeds on bitcoin.
Taking a Bite out of Bitcoin
Namco’s beloved Pac-Man, released in 1980 before spawning a string of sequels and spin-offs, lives on in amusement arcades the world over. The question is, who’s playing? Those kids who grew up chasing aliens around lurid mazes are now adults, and their progeny have no need for the mall now there’s an entire universe nestling in their pocket.
In Blenheim, a quiet wine-producing town of 31,000, the crumbling amusement arcade has been reborn. From the outside, Arcadia looks just like any other arcade: faded; deserted; living off former glories. Step inside, and there’s nothing that would suggest otherwise, the gloom extenuated by a twin row of arcade machines chirping and flashing gaudily.
In almost every single respect this is a run-of-the-mill arcade in an unassuming town, save for one crucial detail – you can pay and play with bitcoin.
A Cash Killer
The future of fiat currency is a matter of some debate, with many bitcoiners predicting its demise. In the here and now, what’s indisputable is that physical cash is on the way out. In an era of contactless payments, administered by card, smartphone, and smartwatch, coins and notes are an inconvenience. Arcades seemed destined to be one of the few places where cash will remain king.
Arcadia’s owner clearly missed the memo however. As New Zealand’s Stuff reports, gamers can now pay with bitcoin using a mobile QR code. It’s an innovative solution which taps into the demographic that arcades should be targeting if they’re to survive – tech-savvy teens.
It was the owner’s son, Adam Scoon, who pressed for BTC to be introduced, enthusing:
[Bitcoin] is getting more and more attention and more people are learning about it and getting into it which pushes its value up even more, we think that eventually everyone will be using it to pay for everything.
After paying in bitcoin at the till, players are issued with tokens which they can use to put the racing games, pinball machines, and shoot-em-ups through their paces. As token use cases go, this one is certainly compelling – a true utility token if ever there was one. So has business boomed since Arcadia began accepting bitcoin? Actually, no. Then again, in a sleepy retirement community of 31,000, that’s not surprising.
The Arcadia story doesn’t constitute evidence that bitcoin adoption is soaring. What it does do is showcase another innovative way in which the cryptocurrency can be purposed. If bitcoin is to take over the world, it needs to capture the imagination of teens and tweens, digital demographics who were born into a world of tech. Anything that can get young people into bitcoin – while introducing them to the wonders of Pac-Man – has got to be welcomed.
What do you think can be done to get more young people into bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia, and Stuff.
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