Brian Cheaney still sounds amazed when he compares what he calls “Point A” to “Point Z” in his life.
Point A was around 10 years ago when he bought a “Street Fighter II” machine, with no plans beyond that. Point B was multiple arcade machines in the living room, dining room and kitchen, a “Grand Lizard” pinball machine in the bedroom, and a building off his house filled with about 100 other coin-operated games.
“On some level, it is an addiction,” Cheaney, 36, said. “When you get to that end point, it sounds kind of crazy, but it’s easy to go from A to B, one game to two games, to take little steps forward. Then it just kind of happens.”
Cheaney and his wife Becky will begin sharing their passion for those classic games when their Replay Amusement Museum opens to the public Friday in Tarpon Springs.
For a $13 admission, visitors can spend all day playing “Dig Dug,” “Donkey Kong,” “Pac Man,” “Paperboy,” “Centipede” and “Star Wars” and “The Simpsons” among dozens of other classic video games. No quarters are required.
The museum’s pinball collection ranges from 1979’s “Hercules” to the technologically advanced “Wizard of Oz”, which made headlines in 2013 for being the first pinball game released by a new company in more than a decade.
The museum will have about 40 pinball and 40 video games when it opens this weekend, but Cheaney said those numbers will grow as more games are restored.
Some are extremely rare, such as the oddity “Triple Punch.” Only four of the machines are known to exist, Cheaney said.
“They basically ripped off every popular game at the time. There’s a gorilla, a guy who looks like Mario, but he’s bald, and it involves these pellets that look like ‘Pac Man’ pellets,” Cheaney said.
But more than curiosities, Cheaney says it’s reuniting people with games they remember from their past that drove the couple to move the games out of their home and into somewhere others could enjoy them.
“People’s eyes glaze over,” he said. “It takes you right back to that place in your mind. We had someone over who hadn’t played ‘Tempest’ in 30 years, and immediately they got the high score, just through their muscle memory from high school.”
The museum is at 119 Tarpon Avenue. They’ll be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.