HUDSON — A creative local couple has opened a cozy gathering place filled with so many relics from the 1980s that a visitor may think "Cheers" is still in the Thursday television lineup.
Except here, everyone will know your game.
CLE Social, billed by owners Dan and Mindy Soulsby as "Hudson's only classic arcade, collector's market and hangout," is a place where folks young and old can discover or re-discover the classic coin-operated gems of the 1980s.
And rather than having to continue feeding quarters into the machines, an admission charge allows unlimited play on all but a couple more popular games. Prices can be found at www.clesocial.com where merchandise can be purchased, as well.
Located at 186 N. Main St. (below Dave's Cosmic Subs), CLE Social has 20 original video arcade games restored to their shimmering glory by co-owner Dan Soulsby, who owns a sign business and is a former casting supervisor for Walt Disney Studios.
And Soulsby has always loved playing video games.
When he needed something profitable to do when sign sales lagged in the winter, he decided two years ago to buy and sell classic arcade games, restoring their inner workings and outer graphics with the help of his artistic wife and sign shop employees.
CLE Social will offer free preview hours over Labor Day weekend at no cost, from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 1 (grand opening); noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 2; noon to 8 pm. Sept. 3; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 4.
The Soulsbys will also have several arcade games on in the CLE Social test at Taste of Hudson Sept. 3 and 4. Players will be asked to donate 50 cents per play, all of which will go to Akron Children's Hospital.
Everything in the CLE Social arcade is for sale, Soulsby said, noting that when he sells a machine he can buy a different game to take its place to keep the lineup of game titles fresh. In addition to arcade games, he sells original art peeled from the sides of arcade games. Titles include Defender, Joust, Q-Bert and Donkey Kong.
But why was this game about a little man's quest to rescue a damsel from clutches of a big gorilla called "Donkey" Kong?
"From what I've read," Dan said, "it was supposed be Gorilla Kong or Monkey Kong, but it got messed up in translation [from Japanese to English] and it became Donkey Kong."
Also available for purchase are animation cels, games and toys from the 1980s and '90s, as well as new T-shirts designed by Mindy Soulsby, who is a graphic artist.
"It's nice because we're centrally located [in Hudson]," Mindy said. "A family can go out to eat and then bring their kids down here."
She also said they offer party packages that includes pizza or subs and party favors. Local catering companies can also be used, she said.
"It's something different," Dan said. "We've lived in Hudson for 10 years and we see the kids walking around in circles. There's no entertainment for them."
Beginning Sept. 6, regular business hours will be 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 3 to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The shop will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
During the winter, if there's a snow day at school, the arcade will open all day.