Changing technology made it a legend, then gentrification killed it. But Chinatown Fair, Manhattan's legendary video arcade, is open to players again in a new location. The Lost Arcade is a forthcoming documentary about a place best summed up in the line: "of course the best players went there. It was the only place still open."
Chinatown Fair opened as a penny arcade on Mott Street in 1944. Over the decades, the dimly lit gathering place, known for its tic-tac-toe playing chicken, became an institution, surviving turf wars between rival gangs, changing tastes and the explosive growth of home gaming systems like Xbox and Playstation that shuttered most other arcades in the city. But as the neighborhood gentrified, this haven for a diverse, unlikely community faced its strongest challenge, inspiring its biggest devotees to next-level greatness.
The premiere showings are on Nov. 14 and 18th, 2015, in New York City at IFC Center.
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The story focuses on three members of the Chinatown Fair community: Akuma, a young man who found refuge in the arcade after running away from foster care; Henry Cen, a kid who grew up in Chinatown and became one of the best Street Fighter players in the world; ￼￼￼￼and Sam Palmer, father figure and longtime owner of Chinatown Fair.
When Sam is forced to close Chinatown Fair, Henry and Akuma refuse to let the arcade community die and create Next Level, a modern incarnation of the classic arcade located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Brooklyn.