What do you do if you have nearly 133 arcade games in your basement? You create a 1980s-themed Airbnb. At least that’s what Scott Leftwich, 51, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, did in 2021.
“It just hit me one day. You know, this would be a really fun Airbnb,” Leftwich says.
Leftwich bought his first arcade machine in 1996. He wanted to create a man cave. When he saw how inexpensive the machines were, he kept buying them. He ultimately fixed any broken machines.
“It’s a special thing to breathe life into something that hasn’t lived in decades,” he says. “And it makes so many people happy, including me, and it’s just a wonderful circle of joy for everybody.”
He started with 50 games in 2014, and now there are 133. Despite being close to capacity, Leftwich continues to buy and restore the arcade machines.
Leftwich opened a room in his home to fans who revel in ’80s décor. “When you stay here, you have access to every game console ever made from the beginning to CD platforms,” including Atari 2600 and NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), he says.
The room also features an ’80s stereo and VHS tapes. Guests staying in Leftwich’s Airbnb can reserve up to three hours to play in his “Wieners and Losers” arcade. Titles in Leftwich’s collection include Galaga, Space Invaders, Frogger, Tron and Dragon’s Lair.
In addition to Leftwich’s room, there are other ’80s-themed venues to rent on Airbnb. In Kent, Washington, there’s a three-bedroom apartment, and there’s a two-bedroom unit in Dallas. Both are decked out with memorabilia from the decade.
Leftwich says that after a TikTok video went viral in 2022, Airbnb guests arrived in North Carolina from around the world — Australia, Canada, Europe and South America — to stay in the room.
“This would’ve been my dream room when I was a kid,” he says. “But now it can be yours.”