Escapist EditorialsA New VUE: The Arcade 2.0Escapist Editorials - RSS 2.0
There are some games that MacNicol just doesn't allow. "Although it's fun, I don't let Grand Theft Auto in there," she said. "We make sure that [the violence] isn't too, too bad. Of course, we have to have Modern Warfare 2. I actually had to buy two copies because they loved it so much." I wondered what the distinction between GTA and MW2 was and before I could even finish my question, MacNicol interrupted me. "Airport scene? You're talking about the Russian airport scene, right? I can't stand it. I always ask them not to play that scene because ... it's just wrong. I can't believe they have that in there." It's a subtle difference, but she's the one making the rules. "If it scares me, then I'm not going to let the kids play it."
VUE also keeps very limited hours. It's only open from 3pm to 9pm, which doesn't seem like a lot of time to get your gaming fix. But MacNicol said that many parents were thankful of the truncated hours because it only gave the kids something to do during the evening when the older folk might want to have a romantic dinner alone. Of course, the hardcore gamers who want to stay up all night are left in the lurch. But if you have the dough, VUE is available to book for private parties and events.
At first, VUE was complimentary to anyone who forked over the cash to spend a night at the resort, which can be as high as $300 a night depending on the season. But as of this March, they started charging $10/day for the older kids who spend hours and hours playing games. "It's for upkeep. The cost of technology gets higher and higher. The VUE gets used a lot and I've gone through several plastic guitars for Guitar Hero," MacNicol said. "Then there's the games; kids request games and we always try to get what they want. We don't want the old stuff, we always want to get new [games] that they haven't been able to try out."
MacNicol's commitment to providing a modern gaming experience is definitely paying off. For many families, the onus of choosing a vacation spot isn't on the parents at all. "The teenagers kind of dictate where they are going to go. They'll go to our website and say 'Look they have a game room, Mom. I want to go there,'" says MacNicol. "Some kids actually bring their own games with them. And I ask them, 'Do you normally bring that with you?' and they're like 'No, I saw that you had a game room and I wanted to make sure that you had this game.'"
For many hotel guests though, the change from the old school arcade was a little abrupt. They missed the Loggerhead Arcade, and were sad that they couldn't drop in tokens in order to gobble power pellets or leap barrels anymore. "When we first opened a year ago, I did have some guests come back with their tokens that they'd found in their luggage and were saving to come back. They walk into the VUE and are like, 'Okaaay,'" MacNicol says. "When I go into detail and tell them everything that they can do, the kids are already on the iMac. 'Ok, Mom and Dad, I gotta update my Facebook status now.'"
Sorry, Pac-Man, Q-Bert and the beleaguered bartender from Tapper. The torch has been passed. The VUE at the Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach Resort is the Arcade 2.0.
Greg Tito might actually enjoy playing in the Loggerhead Arcade.