The back-room arcade ended up being more of a hit than Oswald expected, with older patrons getting nostalgic over the cocktail-style Asteroids machine sitting in the center of the room and children learn the ins and outs of classics like Centipede and Street Fighter 2: Turbo.
“When we first started, I thought I would get a lot of dads here while their families are out shopping,” Oswald said. “Instead, I get a lot of kids wanting to play the oldest games.”
Joysticks hosts tournaments as well and Oswald said he’s surprised by how even the competition is.
“When we did Smash Bros. the first time we had a lot of older kids show up and of course they wiped the floor with all the younger kids that showed up,” Oswald said. “But when we did Mario Kart 8, we had a way bigger crowd and the winner was an 8-year-old kid who couldn’t believe it.”
Oswald isn’t shy about playing games with the customers who come in and the machines remain on free play for anyone who comes in. He said the money comes in from the sales at the front of the store, where they sell things like taxidermy items, punk rock buttons and other knickknacks different than customers would find anywhere else.
“I wanted to create something like this for Morris,” Oswald said. “I know there’s stuff like the Galloping Ghost (Arcade and Museum in Brookfield) and that’s nothing I’ll be able to compete with, but I knew a smaller selection is something that would interest people around here.”
Clutter Joysticks is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Saturday noon to 4 p.m. Sundays from noon.