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Childs started unjamming coins in arcades owned by his father when he was just in first grade. At his store, he customizes games for the rich and famous, and guys who own pizza joints. Childs also co-owns King of Kong Arcade in Orlando International Airport with Billy Mitchell, close friend and business partner, restauranteur and star of The King of Kong.
Once he even received a rare and costly request from a sports guy to redesign a pinball machine. "We had to strip the whole machine, all of the artwork," he said, all because the dude wanted his face featured on the game's playfield. The machine loses all of its vintage value when stripped, but it remains a novelty item. Kleisath added, "It's like tattooing someone's name on your body, and when it doesn't work out, it's worthless." Their semi-monthly arcade night is unique in that, Childs says, "Arcades don't exist anymore. The classic games, there's only a couple left," citing one in New Hampshire and another in Oregon. "There's only a few in the country, and I did this here because I sell machines and I had it all set up. I don't worry about making or losing money."
The games most popular with the public are Pac-Man, Galaga, and Donkey Kong. But Childs creates his own multi-games. He can make a machine with a 1,000 games in it, but normally they'll have a motherboard with 300 games. The two are thinking of hosting another game night in November with a competitive edge. Kleisath is in the top ten highest scoring players of original Mario Bros. So the plan is, after he returns from the FSF tour in October, he'll try to beat his score, and Childs will play to reign supreme in Tempest. Definitely something worth peeping. And you never know, you might just catch a glimpse of the Bawse at his favorite spot to snag a Galaga arcade.Retro Arcade Night.6:30 to 11:30 p.m., Saturday, September 29, at Arcade Game Sales, 829 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. $10 allows access to unlimited games and a discount at Radio-Active Records. Call 954-270-6949, or visit arcadegamesales.net.