Games gone wild

By: Zach Brendza|Features Editor

It takes a special person to build his own arcade games. Adam Shreckhise is that person.

Shreckhise, 38, of Stanton Heights, is the owner and operator of Play Parlour in Lawrenceville, an arcade that features hand-built games.

Ninety-five percent of the construction and execution of Play Parlour has been done by Schreckwise, who puts his own spin on arcade games.

“I’m a pretty linear thinker,” Shreckhise said. “If you look at the games that are there, they are renditions of games that are already made.”

Shreckhise modified the skee ball machine, for example, by taking off the scoreboard and ticket attachment and giving it a bowling alley look.

“I think about these games and I think like ‘what is that game missing or what does it have that it doesn’t need?’”

Schreckhise’s creation of his own games started when a friend from Indiana was assembling a miniature golf course, with each hole done by a different artist. Things eventually fell through with the course, but Schreckhise kept with his miniature golf hole and began to think about a space for a miniature golf course.

And the idea for Play Parlour came to be.

“I was sitting in bed one night and thought, ‘It doesn’t have to be a whole miniature golf course,’” Shreckhise said, and then began thinking about other arcade games.

For the creation and conception of the created games, Shreckhise draws on his educational and occupational backgrounds. He graduated from James Madison University in 1998 and went on to grad school at Stony Brook University, both in studio art. He also taught himself electro mechanics.

“Art school teaches you how to build stuff, if nothing else,” Schreckhise said.

For the past eight years, Shreckhise has worked on construction crews, learning how to build things which he used in creating games.

“Once you put it into your head you can make a game do what you want it to do, it doesn’t seem like a limited perameter for building, therefore doesn’t seem different than making sculpture,” Shreckhise said. “You’re free to figure out where to go.”

One of the areas of art Shreckhise has been involved with is sculpture. Schreckhise’s schedule is situated so that he works construction two to three days a week, has a day of “rest” with the rest of his time spent on sculpture.

“I think basically, that part of living in Pittsburgh is its so affordable, I don’t have to work that often,” Schreckwise said. “I probably spend way too much of the rest of my time doing some sculpture-esque project.”

Sculpture felt ineffective to Schreckwise, and he felt he could do something more with his talents.

“Theres something about like trying to have a sort of effect on the community that I’m in with sculpture that I felt was really unsuccessful,” Schreckwise said. “It didn’t seem enough for myself. I could put any sculpture in front of people and get the same reaction.”

With his work at Play Parlour, Schreckwise feels his time is better spent.

“By giving people a place to spend some of their time, it would be a more successful way to provide something for the,” Schreckwise said.

At the end of the day, Schreckwise enjoys Play Parlour, but would like some help upfront.

“I really have a lot of fun building those games,” Schreckwise said. “You know if I had a partner who could do the other aspects and I build games, I would be thrilled.”