Dallas-based Main Event Entertainment, a family entertainment center operator, opened its first center outside Texas this week. Located in the Emerald Center in Tempe, near IKEA, the 55,000-square-foot location offers more than 100 video arcade games, an upscale bowling alley, laser tag, and gravity ropes.
Unlike some other entertainment centers, Main Event Tempe will be open to guests of all ages at all times, making it a family-friendly option for fun.
See also: Ten Favorite Arcades in Metro Phoenix
For the grownups, there's plenty to enjoy at the new center, including a full-service bar, pool tables, and shuffleboard. Set off to one side of the center, the open-air bar and pool area look as though they'd make for a fun night out. Food will be available at the bar as well, including such options as burgers and wings. There's also a separate pizza lounge inside Main Event, with pizza available by the slice or as a whole pie.
The arcade features a wide selection of games, including a few you may not have seen before. There's classics like a four-person Pac Man game, motorcycle and shoot 'em up games, skeeball, and modern games, including a video version of Wheel of Fortune, Connect Four, and even Fruit Ninja. Each of the games is priced between $1 to $2 a play. You can also buy FUNcards (in person or online) which can be used at any Main Event Entertainment center for activities like bowling, pool, arcade game play, and food.
The bowling alley at Main Event offers two dozen high-tech lanes with black lights, television screens, and interactive score displays. Though more expensive to play then your local AMF, this will be a more affordable (and kid-friendly) bowling alternative to other upscale, adult-oriented bowling alleys, like Lucky Strike. Main Event's bowling rates go by the hour rather than the game and vary based on the day and time. Rates can be anywhere from $34 an hour during "weekend peak" hours to $22 an hour during "daytime off peak." You're allowed up to six adults per lane. The coolest aspect of the setup is probably the score keeping system, which lets you choose between several different displays, including one that uses webcams to show players faces on the overhead screen. You can also change the game from classic bowling to other "skill games."
Another nice touch: Your shoe rental comes with free socks, so you never have to worry about putting bare feet in used bowling shoes.
The laser tag arena, located in the back corner of the center, offers two stories for playing. There are walls, hidden spaces, and peep-holes -- in short, all the basics for a fun game of shooting strangers with lights. And at under $10 a game, it won't necessarily break the bank either.
Lastly Main Event offers gravity ropes, a series of rope walkways, bridges, and planks suspended above the arcade that kids (and kids-at-heart) can pay to traverse -- with a harness, of course.
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Special offers include an early and late happy hour Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to close. Happy hour deals include free billiards and drink specials. On Monday nights from 4 p.m. to close, you can also choose between three $10 specials: an all-you-can-play video game card; unlimited bowling, laser tag, and pool; or a $20 FUNcard. The center also hosts birthday parties, office parties, and other group events, with special pricing available per guest.
Main Event Tempe 8545 S. Emerald Dr. 480-753-1200 www.mainevent.com/locations/tempe-az
Monday: 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Tues-Thursday: 11 a.m. - 12 a.m. Friday: 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. - 2 a.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.