Champion Mill Arcade at Spooky Nook expected to open in early 2023

Champion Mill Arcade won’t be a duplication of Pinball Garage, said owner Brad Baker.

In fact, it won’t be pinball focused at all — though there will be a few pinball machines and 80s arcade games “that keep mom and dad occupied” while the kids play prize-earning games.

For the most part, Champion Mill Arcade will feature new and modern games, including prize games, new video games, and racing machines, as well as the “latest and greatest in virtual reality,” Baker said, which will feature Hamilton’s first roller coaster ― a VR coaster with 12 tracks ― and a motorcycle game that “just feels wild.”

Baker recently announced in a video on Facebook he has leased 5,000 square feet of the Spooky Nook Sports building, which is a 600,000-square-foot sports and events facility. It’s across North B Street from the hotel and convention center, which is also a 600,000-square-foot structure.

“You are looking at our next arcade venture,” Baker said in the video, showing the large, currently empty space inside the complex. “Pinball Garage is going to be a part of what’s happening here in Hamilton.”

Spooky Nook Champion Mill President Jim Launer said this project is “a natural fit.”

“With all the great games ― both modern and retro ― that Pinball Garage has to offer, every guest will have something to get excited about,” he said. “This partnership is just another way that we get to partner with the community of Hamilton.”

It’s taken a couple of years to complete the $165 million project, and though it’s not fully completed, the much-anticipated facility will begin hosting sporting events this Saturday with the inaugural Winter Adult 3x3 Basketball Classic.

Spooky Nook is also touted as the nation’s largest indoor sports complex.

The objective of Champion Mill Arcade, Baker said, is to “gear it toward the crowds that are going to be there, which is going to be families, lots of kids needing to stay entertained and busy.”

If the flooring for the Champion Mill Arcade can be down in the first few days of January, then they could be ready, or at least partially ready, for the first major event, the MLK Champion Mill Classic Youth Girls Volleyball Tournament happening from Jan. 14 to 16. Some 10,000 to 15,000 people are expected to be in downtown Hamilton at Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill.

“We’re going to do our best, even if it’s not at full operations. That there is going to be an area that people are going to be going through, so we’d love to have whatever our distributors can get us in time basically installed,” Baker said. “When it’s all said and done, we’re anticipating somewhere between 60 and 80 games,” he said. “A nice, big arcade.”

Baker said there would be a lot of games focused on all or part of a team, large groups, and families. He said he’s on the list to get one of the new eight-plyer Pac-Man game “that’s really crazy and cool.”

“Everyone’s going to be in groups, and we want to have groups to have some entertainment, whether it be families or teams,” he said.

The Champion Mill Arcade will be similar to the arcade at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, where to get to the main entrance to the pool or to some sections of the hotel, patrons go through the arcade. There will be access to parts of some of the courts and other amenities at Champion Mill Sports through the arcade.

Pinball Garage is the latest local business to expand into Spooky Nook. Municipal Brew Works has opened, and Flub’s will be opening a fourth Butler County location at Spooky Nook. Petals and Wicks and Sara’s House will also be tenants within the complex.

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