Collector hopes his machines will transport you back in time

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — New technology usually pushes something else out of the way, but one local engineer is trying to preserve the future of an activity that might bring you back in time.

Jay Leone’s hobby represents an era when for many, enjoying video games meant leaving the house.

It all started with the acquisition of a pair of arcade games about eight years ago. From standards like Pac-Man and Frogger to games you’ve never heard of, Leone’s garage and basement are full of cabinets and pinball machines.

“You’re crazy,” his family and friends would say, according to Leone. “What are you going to do with all this stuff?”

Leone likes to think he’s preserving an era. But, it turns out, he’s not much of a gamer himself.

“I don’t play them well because I’m not very good at them,” he joked. “I can’t get a high score to save my life but I can repair theses games and bring them back to life. That’s really the passion I have is bringing them back from the dead so other people can enjoy them.”

When his collection surpassed 200 games and started to approach 250, Leone decided to share his passion. For the second time, he’ll soon be loading up Colosseum on Pine Street in Providence with what, for some, can be considered time machines.

“There’s always a game that someone remembers playing as a kid,” Leone added, “and the nostalgia that goes along with that. Right away they’re transported back to their childhood.”

The number of arcade games out there may only number in the thousands but thanks to Leone and his fellow collectors, this pastime appears to have a future.