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Granville Street used to be lined with arcades, movie theatres, and sex shops, many of which glowed on the street with their bright neon signs. Movieland Arcade is a rare, lingering relic from that era, combining all three vices—video games, movies, and pornography—in one dusty, remarkably unchanging location.
A notoriously reclusive man named Jack Jung opened Movieland in 1972 and continues to operate it today. Little has changed in four decades since the arcade opened its doors, from the vintage of the video games to the 8-mm peep shows in the back. Today, Movieland is the last home of 8-mm peep show film booths in the world.
Throughout the years of its operation, Movieland has been a haven for anyone looking to escape the hustle of everyday life for a while.
“The Movieland was full of people that just seemed to be in transit, and the games never seemed to change.
It had grittiness to it inside. It wasn’t clean. Arcades in suburbs were constantly under attack from parents and to keep clean, to make sure there was no danger for kids, that it was very well lit and loud. [There were] security guards, officers from high schools checking to see if kids were skipping out. There was none of that at Movieland Arcade.
You go there if you’re nostalgic for games from a few years ago. People still go there because they know these old games are still there.
I don’t think they have any new games. I don’t even think it’s changed. They haven’t updated anything in there. It’s the same place. So I would go there now looking to remember what arcades used to be like.”
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— Roger Allen, graphic designer