(Updated) Cineplex Ottawa features arbitrary Xscape arcade hours

Coliseum Ottawa Update: We’ve reached out to the cinemas (formerly Coliseum) and they will now publish the Xscape schedule at the theatre. It will also now open at 15h on Tuesdays.

This means that on Tuesdays, only the first round of showtimes will see the Xscape arcade closed. During the other weekdays, the arcade only opens at 18h, though I’ll have to double-check for Fridays. During the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), the hours more closely reflect those of the cinema showtimes. Additionally, the schedule will be different and offer fewer hours than the two premium restaurants, OutTakes and Yoyo’s Yogurt Café.

When asked about why the Xscape hours were being cut back despite the large advertisements for the entertainment centre, the cinemas informed me that business was lower than expected. From my perspective, however, the profits are being further cut back by slashing the hours and it also gives the cinemas less sales per square meter. I believe the issue is more about the game selection, variety and quality.

Coliseum games offering
Over half (55%) of games at Xscape in Cineplex Cinemas Ottawa are redemption (ticket-granting). Another 20% are merchandisers (instant prizes). The remaining 25% are traditional (no prizes).

As can be seen on the chart to the left, used in my Doodle Jump Arcade video, three out of four games at Xscape are short-term prize-based games: either merchandisers (20%) that automatically distribute prizes like a plush toys, or redemption games (55%) that awards tickets to be exchanged at the prize booth. The remaining 25% of games are traditional titles such as The Fast and The Furious Super Bikes, two pinball machines (Avengers and Kiss) and Dance Dance Revolution Extreme.

Several activities are offered at the theatres, but likewise, there is also a variety of clientèle visiting for a variety of reasons. For example, due to my Christian faith, I am not interested in movies rated 18A or R. There are also a few movies rated 14A or even PG in Ontario that I will not watch, not only because the MPAA (USA) rates them higher, but also because they go against my personal convictions. These convictions eventually led me to repent from playing non-traditional (prize-based) games. All this to say that today, my visits at Cineplex Cinemas Ottawa are generally to play DDR, but rarely for movies. I saw The Peanuts Movie and Mockingjay: Part 2 there last year, and that’s probably it. Meanwhile, I visited DDR at least a dozen of times.

I would like to see more multiplayer traditional games, a genre which the classic Mario Kart 64 helped rise to fame, be available for play at Xscape. Right now, only five out of over 40 games at the arcade fit the criteria: DDR Extreme, The Fast and The Furious Super Bikes, Pac-Man Battle Royale (up to four players), Terminator and Winter X Games SnoCross.

Original post (January 19, 2016)

Cineplex Cinemas Ottawa (formerly Coliseum) seems to want to open, and close, its Xscape arcade at completely arbitrary hours. There was a certain time when life was more simple: we went to the cinemas when we wanted to go to its arcade, and both the opening and closing hours were the same for the game zone. Alas, since at least 2015, the cinema implements arbitrary hours that are not on display anywhere. At first, it was nothing too serious and only a few hours, like during “Stars and Strollers”, did not feature an open Xscape arcade. In that latter case, the arcade and OutTakes restaurant were closed on Thursday from around 12h à 15h because it was mostly mommies attending the cinemas. These days, however, the situation went from bad to worse.

Today is Tuesday, so I’m expecting a larger visitor turnout given that half-price movie tickets are very attractive. Doors at the cinemas were open at 12h15, which is half an hour before the first film screening at 12h45. Having arrived at 17h, I expected to be able to play Dance Dance Revolution Extreme for about half an hour before heading to my Portuguese class. After all, Cineplex Cinemas Barrhaven has DDR SuperNOVA in good condition, but their doors only opened at 16h35. Unfortunately, to much chagrin, I discovered that the Xscape arcade at the Coliseum would not open before 18h.

This is completely unacceptable! The reason for my visit to the cinemas was for its low-priced dance game (71¢ per side with a $25 XScape card) compared to Barrhaven (111¢ per side). The Xscape arcade at Coliseum is grandly featured on Cineplex’s website, as it is one of only 21 places (among Cineplex’s 162 total locations) to offer this type of arcade. Why then have arbitrary and unpublished hours that are cumbersome to clients wishing to play at the arcade? Why turn off the arcade for over half of the day’s showtimes?

This is bad news for Cineplex, which nevertheless still shows some interest in the video game world not only with Xscape, but also with other events like Xbox Parties and the WorldGaming tournament (which features the very violent Call of Duty game and is hosted at SilverCity Gloucester, home of a mediocre arcade).

The game arcade should be accessible and open at all times, not at arbitrary and cumbersome hours. If you agree with me, please share your comments with the cinemas to request an end to this inconvenience.