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Meet Rachel Bess of Electric Bat Arcade in Tempe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Bess.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I began collecting pinball machines around 2010. I saved up money for what seemed like a year while I kept my eyes on Craig’s List looking for local deals. My first purchase was an Addam’s Family pinball. This was the machine I remembered playing the most when I was younger and I really wanted to own one so as soon as I saw it pop up, I called and scrambled to be the first one there to buy it. For most people pinball machines are like great chips or popcorn, you can’t have just one. I kept filling my home arcade with pinballs and other arcade games, met lots of other collectors and co-founded Zapcon, Phoenix’s local arcade and pinball convention. At Zapcon a couple years back, the owners of one of Arizona’s legendary bars, Yucca Tap Room, came up to me and asked me to help them put an arcade in the bar. We talked about it for a bit and decided it would be a good idea for me to run with it and we opened up Electric Bat Arcade.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
People underestimate how much work goes into keeping the machines maintained. Something breaks in the arcade daily, and being able to keep that machine on the floor often depends on whether or not you already have the parts needed to fix it. Some of those parts are no longer manufactured so you have to find a workaround, and with the arcade open every day from 6am to 2am, you’re always working on machines with curious folks around.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Electric Bat Arcade – what should we know?
We are an amazing arcade inside of a punk bar and everyone feels welcome here. We have a tiny tiki bar with killer drinks inside of the arcade as well as two full size bars inside of the Yucca Tap Room which we are connected to. We have great food and we’re open 20 hours a day.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The folks at Yucca Tap Room are amazing partners, they run the bars and the venue so well and stood back and let me create the Electric Bat. My husband Cale Hernandez smashes our social media, runs our twitch streaming and helps maintain the games. We also have some great partners providing a portion of the games. We want to always have a fresh mix of games and Mark Pearson and Shawn Halsey are collectors with massive collections whose games are rotated through the Electric Bat.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Cale Hernandez

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