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(left to right) Joe Gilson, freshman from Murray, and Cassie Sendenberger, from Murray, play video games at Virtual-Kade.
(left to right) Joe Gilson, freshman from Murray, and Cassie Sendenberger, from Murray, play video games at Virtual-Kade.

 

MURRAY, KY – Many students complain about Murray’s options for entertainment. With no mall, local youth, high school students, are hard-pressed to find something to do after school, and especially during the weekend.

The newest addition to the strip mall on 12th Street is Virtual-Kade. This business encourages local youth to enjoy themselves somewhere other than outside the movie theatre.

Kimberly Sengenberger, chief financial officer of Virtual-Kade owns the establishment with her husband Scott and her mother, Toni Glass. Originally from Chicago, Ill., Sengenberger visited family in Murray for about 10 years before moving here. She said she quickly ran out of things for her children to do.

“We decided to do it for the kids,” Sengenberger said. “I wanted somewhere for kids to hang out that’s not the McDonald’s parking lot.”

She said the plan was in her head for years before it came to fruition. This new arcade is located at 660 N. 12th St., next to Office Depot. The arcade opened for business Oct. 29 and celebrated its grand opening Wednesday with the help of FROGGY 103.7.

Sengenberger said Virtual-Kade is a kid-friendly establishment without explicit music. According to the Web site, virtualkade.com, it is a facility for those ages “three to 103,” with a little something for everyone. She said bad behavior and alcohol are not allowed in Virtual-Kade.

After reading The Murray State News article about the battered women’s shelter, Sengenberger said she decided she wanted to host monthly fundraisers to support such causes.

Manager Joe Gilson, of Murray, started gaming about 13 years ago. He said he saw a help-wanted sign on the outside of the arcade before it opened, and applied. Gilson said Virtual-Kade is a new type of video game, very different from the original Nintendo on which he started.

“It’s all based around exer-gaming, which is exercise and gaming together,” Gilson said.

Virtual-Kade boasts enough stations to hold 30 to 35 people, and additional room in the back at the coin arcade. According to the Web site, the arcade contains a “lightspace floor featuring dodgeball, bug invasion, forcefield and more.”

“Things will change all the time.” Gilson said. “There will always be something new.”

When Sengenberger decorated the arcade, she went to the Murray State art department for help. After responding to an e-mail from his art professor, David Honaker, sophomore from Paducah, Ky., took the job. 

Honaker is an art major and though he has a history of working with spray paint, Honaker said he hasn’t worked with it as much lately. Honaker said he and his girlfriend, Holly Taylor, sophomore from Newark, Ohio, would work a few hours each night for about three weeks. In total, they spent 40 hours crafting the colorful graphics.

Taylor said she did most of the characters and Honaker took care of the text-based graffiti.

“I was really used to doing murals of huge characters,” Taylor said, “I was a cheerleader in high school and would do the run-through signs.”

Each area came with a theme, Taylor explained. Near the boxing game, Taylor painted a ninja and boxing gloves. The overall theme of the art is graffiti. All of the art is spray-painted on the walls with colorful hues that react to the black light and laser show at night.

Taylor said she enjoyed her work there because it was fun, and though it was “messy and consuming,” she said it was a great way to make some money on the side.

“Their whole idea is motion, it’s more physical, it’s generated to be more physical instead of just sitting,” Taylor said. “It’s a lot of unique stuff that I didn’t know existed.”

Virtual-Kade is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The cost is $6 per hour, or $10 for two-hours. The cost covers all games in the general area, but not the traditional coin games in the back arcade.

Bec Feldhaus can be reached at rebecca.feldhaus@murraystate.edu.

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