Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • Chris Kooluris, a Manhattan PR exec, was trying to sell his Murray Hill apartment with no luck. “I was living with my fiancée in Williamsburg and not utilizing the space. It wasn’t selling, so I wanted to transform it into a space my friends and I could use.” But it wasn’t the arcade itself, or the money, that sent Kooluris’ fiancée packing. In fact, she helped him design the space.
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • Kooluris initially got the idea for the arcade after reading Ready Player One, a book that focuses heavily on 80s pop culture. "My initial idea was that it would look like the dark, cave-like arcades of the 80s,” he said. “All the bright colors and art work, that was her idea.” Kooluris, who used to work in video games and does consider himself a “gamer” said his hobby began to take over. “It started me down a path, into a community of people who buy and sell and preserve games.”
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • "I never intended to live in the arcade," Kooluris said. But once he and the fiancée split, he had no choice. The reason for the split? "I got too addicted, too obsessed. When our relationship starting having issues, I didn't focus enough on those, I kept focusing on the arcade."
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • Today, Kooluris says he's far less obsessive about gaming and the arcades. He sleeps in his bedroom, so he does use the games every night. But now he likes to have people over to play who enjoy gaming and has his co-workers over once a month for a happy hour and to play.
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • The games – and the arcade – were a big investment. Kooluris said he spent about $32,000 on the entire project. But he admits he overpaid for some items. For example, he said he paid about $3,000 for Donkey Kong, and he could have gotten it for about 1k. “I was too anxious,” he said, “and not an informed buyer.” But he maintains he paid market value for his Lord of the Rings Limited Edition pinball machine: $7,000.
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • Kooluris hasn’t ruled out a reconciliation with his fiancée. In fact, he still has the ring. “It’s the final symbol of ‘it’s really over,”’ he said about why he still hangs onto it. He wants to make it clear she didn’t make him choose between her and his passion. “It wasn’t like that,” he said. “She was fully supportive until it became a self-destructive hobby.”
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • Arcade Apartment
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • So what if she wanted to get back together, sans arcade – would he give it up? Kooluris said he would only ask to keep two games.
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
  • But even if he doesn’t patch things up with the one that got away, he’s still hopeful he’ll meet someone great. He has two loves, he said: Gaming and Guns and Roses. Neither are a relationship requirement, but either would be a huge bonus in Mrs. Right.
    Courtesy of Chris Kooluris
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