When Dakotah Coates visited a sequence online game retailer in search of a brand new launch, he had no concept he would meet the love of his life and future enterprise accomplice. His jovial nature had Meaghan Riley laughing so onerous she cried. So when Coates requested for her quantity she gladly stated sure. That was additionally her reply when Coates requested her to marry him in entrance of 180 folks at a Super Smash Bros. charity match he hosted on the Byrd Theater final month.

Coates brings the identical stage of ardour to something he places his thoughts to, together with DawnStar Video Games, the Scott’s Addition arcade and recreation store he co-owns along with his fiancee in addition to his finest pal, Andrew Griimoiire.

Coates bought his begin within the trade promoting video games on consignment at Wax Moon Records, owned by Griimoiire. His selections bought so effectively he pitched Riley and Griimoiire on opening their very own online game retailer and arcade collectively. Throwing names forwards and backwards, the trio finally landed on DawnStar as a foil to Wax Moon — two celestial outlets positioned on Altamont Avenue.

They acquired the present website of DawnStar in late 2018 and after constructing out cabinets, putting in glass merchandise circumstances and establishing a set of pinball machines, the shop was prepared for its grand opening in 2019. DawnStar’s retro emblem mixing a CD-ROM with a dawn hints on the store’s mixture of old fashioned and leading edge leisure.

click on to enlarge

Offering every thing gaming from Atari to the PS5, of us from throughout the area flock to DawnStar to purchase, promote, and commerce their favourite video video games. Although Nintendo 64 and GameCube picks show hottest, the breadth of the store’s choice and its homeowners’ data of the trade is difficult to beat. Coates is presently onerous at work creating video game-infused trivia for anybody trying to go toe-to-toe with a DawnStar founder.

Every Thursday Coates takes his present on the street internet hosting a mixture Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart match on the Answer Brewpub. DawnStar’s subsequent large occasion will probably be a quarterly match at Aslin Beer Company’s Herndon location on the nineteenth. Coates’ dwell gaming competitions have turn out to be so common that Brooklyn-based Kings County Brewers Collective has invited him as much as host a pop-up match in New York City subsequent month. Those hoping to smash their technique to the highest a bit nearer to residence can maintain out hope that the Byrd Theater invitations DawnStar again quickly to host solely the second video video games match in that establishment’s almost 100-year historical past.

Whether for a unusual date night time or only a little bit of enjoyable throughout your lunch break, the DawnStar arcade is open each day of the week from 11 am to 7 pm Some of the store’s premium pinball machines date way back to 1979, whereas DawnStar’s newest Acquisition was manufactured simply final 12 months. Some of the themed pinball machines embody Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Mandalorian, Stranger Things, Mario Bros., Space Jam, and even Royal Rumble World Wrestling Entertainment. With every new pinball machine the trio purchases, they at all times costume as much as match the theme.

click on to enlarge


“A pinball machine is an expertise you may’t get or emulate anyway else,” says Coates. “It’s one of many final kinetic types of leisure. We delight ourselves on the truth that we’re passionate and take nice care of our machines. We do the upkeep ourselves 95% of the time, however we do have a pinball guru simply in case we’d like assist.”

Eschewing a burdensome token or ticket mannequin, for simply $10 flat guests can play DawnStar’s pinball machines so long as they like. Arcade patrons even have entry to traditional Japanese rhythm video games (much like Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution to your arms) akin to Hatsune Miku. With 18 video games in whole, there are many acquainted and international arcade adventures available at DawnStar.

click on to enlarge


With Riley answerable for the store’s collection of plushies, collectible figurines, anime VHS tapes and DVDs, and different novelty collectibles, every of DawnStar’s three companions has a specialty to carry to the model. “It would not work with out all three of us,” says Coates.

While anime and arcades have been as soon as seen because the wheelhouse of the nation’s nerds, right now online game fanatics are sometimes on the reducing fringe of cool. Coates sees DawnStar’s mission as serving to to take care of the quirky character of Virginia’s capital. “Our imaginative and prescient has come to fruition in making an attempt to carry again that cool edge to Richmond within the face of town’s rising corporatization.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here