The big question... what is Prodigy?
Hi. My name is Jeff Bujak. I designed and built everything at Prodigy. I planned the unique course and gameroom layout in about a year, then took me 3 1/2 months to build and on March 22, 2018 I opened the doors for business. At that point, the minigolf course was overly tough as nails. I had only 8 retro video game consoles with 600 games, 1 Ring & Hook and about 50 board games available. Today, Prodigy's minigolf course is finely tuned to still be very difficult, but at the same time beatable. I've implemented perfect strategies created out of 3 years of studying people's play and examining how the course seems to naturally flow. I'm up to 45 different video game consoles and over 3k original games to play. A shelf of 135 board and tabletop games towers over the front desk now and yet admission cost has stayed the same.
The entire gameroom was specifically designed for children of the 80s and 90s to relive their childhood obsessions, travel back mentally to a simpler time when it was just you vs the game and nothing else mattered in the world. We trade Garbage Pail Kids after playing minigolf. We play hours of Tetris while drinking RC Cola. We flip open a Nintendo Power and work on that RPG. That is Prodigy.
I understand that other people will enjoy and should enjoy Prodigy as well; people that didn't live through these radical times of the 80s and 90s. There are those that just want to challenge their friends in a friendly, but heavily competitive game of minigolf or explore through every Mario Kart available to see which track you love most. I care about true gaming. I care enough to foster a gamer-first environment for people to think, compete and win, and to be proud of your effort and accomplishments. Have you ever successfully hooked a 22' Ring & Hook? It's that amazing feeling that I want people to experience. You'll never forget it.
So, The bigger question... why ages 13+ only?
Prodigy was never an ages 13+ only venue until after the first month of business. As described above, Prodigy was built on the dream of remembering your friend's basement that had Madden on Genesis on that 36" CRT. Instead, Prodigy quickly became a playground for toddlers. The course took on massive damage and the room was constantly a mess. We also don't have the staffing capacity to assist in constant retro video game troubleshooting. There is an expected knowledge about value of, as well as maintenance and care for, retro video games and systems that I need from my customers; knowledge of not jamming a cartridge all the way into the wrong system (which happened... many times). The knowledge that full swinging a metal club into a golf ball in an 8000 sq/ft room can result in broken windows (which happened), broken CRT television (which happened) and hitting or disturbing other players (again, which happened a lot). For these reasons, I needed to make this policy. My insurance company loved the idea... as well as many returning customers that noticed the true aspect of the gameroom slipping away.
Here are some other reasons ages 13+ only tends to be a good plan for Prodigy:
- We allow all people to play any games, including mature content games.
- The course is littered with metal art which can hurt wobbly young ones.
- The course's delicate decor draped on the simple 2x4s and plywood means the course's play can be ruined with a few wrong leans or swings of the club. I want the play to be top notch for all players. I don't tolerate broken obstacles or course bits.
My solution was that on some Sundays, I would offer 3 hours in the morning to kids under 13 and their guardians to come in and learn how to play which I occasionally still do. Visit the SHOP page for presales for those events. For the most part, toddlers and young teens get very frustrated with the course and the older games. They tend to not know the value of a handmade course to the owner and his rare/valuable video game consoles. They tend to attempt to have fun in different ways outside of the standard rules of the games. But... occasionally some young kids flourish here and that's why I offer those all ages mornings.
We ask that you respect the ages 13+ only rule. Stop by sometime if you've never been here and see for yourself.