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Game for a new arcade attraction

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A CONVERSATION between businessmen about who had the biggest mancave led to Tamba Arcade changing hands.

Ian Jennings, owner of Arcadia Leisure Limited and Quest Escape Rooms Limited, who has taken over Tamba Arcade Picture: ROB CURRIE. (23988906)

The Waterfront arcade – which was formerly owned by Jonathan Ruff – has been rebranded and sold to a local IT expert and entrepreneur.

Ian Jennings, owner of the now-named Arcadia, said that he first discovered the business after an informal discussion about who had the best ‘man-cave’.

He said: ‘I went to an after dinner speaker event with Frank Bruno at the rugby club and there was a table full of lads, all comparing their “man caves”.

‘One of them had a pinball machine, one of them had an arcade machine and then someone said, “Oh, he’s got the biggest man cave” and it was Johnathan Ruff, who said, “I have got Tamba Arcade in town”.

Mr Jennings, who moved to Jersey eight years ago from the UK and now lives in St Mary, said Mr Ruff then showed him around the attraction before he agreed to buy it. He plans to start installing new machines in May

‘Most arcade games are actually PC-based, it is just a high-end PC which I know all about. So I just fell in love with the place,’ he said.

‘The sale happened very quickly. It must have been the end of November or beginning of December that we started talking about it and I came in on [bought] it on 7 January.

‘All the ideas I was coming up with for the arcade, Jonathan was saying “Oh yes, that sounds great” but he has got so many businesses going on. It just needs someone who can get in it, physically, and concentrate on it. He really wants to see it succeed and not see it fail.’

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Mr Jennings, who is originally from Walsall in the West Midlands, added that he visited an arcade exhibition in London earlier in January to look at new machines.

However, he found that Mr Ruff had already obtained most of the latest equipment – some of which cost close to £50,000. Despite this, he says some new machines should appear in the arcade in May.

Other improvements include adding a third escape room, a new central prize desk, a smart-card system and a loyalty scheme.

If the venture is successful, the entrepreneur says he has other ideas for the Island’s leisure industry, including creating an electric go-kart track – potentially with vehicles capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in two seconds.

‘They basically have a dial from nought to ten and are computer-controlled so you set them to one and have three-year-olds in them or set them to ten and you have to have helmets on and a three-point racing harness. They do 0-60mph in two seconds,’ he said.

‘We would have to do some research and some noise-level tests because it would be rubber tyres on a concrete floor.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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