Video amusement games should return to Showcase | Woburn

WOBURN – Change will return to the National Amusements Showcase Cinema Deluxe in Woburn, as amusement video games will soon return.

Recently, Shawn Judge, a New England regional manager for National Amusements, appeared before the Licensing Commission to seek approval for the return of the arcade to the Woburn location near Main Street overlooking the route 128.

He noted that video games returned to all but two National Amusement locations in Massachusetts, with only Woburn and the Blackstone Valley Showcase in Milbury. He noted that approvals have now been received for the Blackstone Valley location.

The three-member licensing board ultimately approved the application, adding that the applicant must also apply for a standing and drinking permit for the area, which is a second different requirement from the city.

According to the judge, the cinemas had a license for its arcade but said it was removed when the theater underwent renovations in 2014.

At this time, the traditional theater seats were phased out and replaced with more upscale recliners.

“It’s no secret that the recent pandemic has caused a lot of problems for our industry and our business,” Judge said.

The return of video games would be a way to help offset recent difficulties the industry has faced, he said.

President Thomas Skeffington asked where the video games would be located.

The judge said the old video games were located in an area now housing the concession stands.

He said video games would now be located in an area to the right as one enters the theater which is currently used as a seating area.

Those seats, he said, would be moved to what is now a vast hall in front of the cinemas themselves.

He pointed to the Lowell Showcase where this has already been done and, he said, is working well.

Asked about supervision, the judge said officials would keep an eye on the lobby to make sure everything was under control.

Everything going on in the lobby is highly visible, he said, and he added that managers and staff will remain “very active” to make sure there are no issues.

Commissioner David Gilgun asked about standing and drinking requirements, where, as now, people can have a drink but then return to their seats.

“Just to be safe,” Gilgun suggested that applicants also apply for the standing and drinking permit, which he said would be “free.”

“No charge looks good to me,” the judge replied, noting that his company would complete all the necessary paperwork.

Commission Registrar Gordon Vincent added that in Woburn there are two different things (as opposed to the traditional liquor license) and that the permanent and drinking license is a one-time application.

The Licensing Commission then, by a vote of 3 to 0, approved both the license for video games with the addition of the standing drinking permit, pending the applicant completing the necessary paperwork for the second.

At the end, commissioner William Popalardo said, “It looks pretty cool…It looks like it’s going to create a lot of activity there, which is what you’re looking for.”

Judge replied, “We hope this continues the success we had hoped for at our other locations with this type of equipment. It should add to the experience people have when they come to our theater.”

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