PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5; Nosebleed Interactive/Wired Productions
This unusual game has you managing your dad’s launderette while running a secret arcade out the back
It’s the early 1990s, and you – a college dropout – have been tasked with babysitting your chronically disappointed father’s launderette business. It is not an exciting job. You pick up rubbish, you unclog the toilet, you load laundry into machines and take it out again. But in the back room, there’s a small collection of arcade machines to help customers while away the time as their shirts dry, and there’s enough money in their coin hoppers to buy a whole new cabinet. And so you begin the slow process of secretly transforming your father’s business into a thriving arcade, reinvesting the cash you make from washing people’s dirty underwear into buying more video games.
Arcade Paradise is a low-key management simulator that goes at its own, fairly languid pace. You don’t have an enormous amount of influence over how much money you make or how fast you can expand; you do the laundry, and play games, and wait for money to accumulate. Dealing with customers’ clothes quickly gets you bonus cash, but why would you sit by the washing machine when you could be playing on the arcade cabinets round the back? There are more than 30 of them to collect, all charmingly inspired by 70s, 80s and 90s classics: there’s a cross between GTA and Pac-Man, a couple of twists on Space Invaders, a match-three puzzle adventure game, a zombie shooter. Frustratingly, they tend to require more time from you than the average wash cycle, so you have to choose between competently running the laundry and spending a satisfying amount of time with a game.
Arcade Paradise is out now; £15.99