The arcade has been gone form Kalamazoo for decades but the Fun Factory name lives on in Hawaii and California.

Once upon a time, there were more malls than just downtown and The Crossroads in Kalamazoo. There were two, in fact, on West Main near 131. Maple Hill Mall was on the north side of the road, where Target, Marshall's, DSW Shoes, and Hobby Lobby are today, and West Main Mall was across the street on the real estate now occupied by Kohl's, Lowe's, Harding's and the other stores. Around back was a magic place aptly named the Fun Factory. Anyone who has been in Kalamazoo for a while remembers the silver tokens with the serrated edges, custom made for games and only useable here. (How many are in your junk drawer?) What you may not be able to recall is the number of hours spent on video games chasing the high score.

Sure, you could run form Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde at Aladdin's Castle, Starworld or King's Castle, but the Fun Factory was special. One of the best features was the movie theater next door. You could kill time before or after a film playing some games while waiting for a ride- they even gave you free tokens for your ticket stub. The memories of Pac Man, Asteriods, Centipede, Galaga, Defender, Mortal Kombat, Tron and Dragon's Lair live on as someone in the Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook group found out that the Fun Factory chain still exists. There are 18 locations in the United States with 5 arcades in California, stores in Valdosta, Georgia, Bossier City, Louisiana and 11 game rooms in Hawaii.

While it may take a really long drive or an airplane flight to get there, isn't it nice to know that a part of your childhood still exists somewhere in the world?

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