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Scoop Shoppe Family Fun Center records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 123.3041

The Scoop Shoppe Family Fun Center records document the establishment of, and the day-to-day activities of, the arcade and ice cream shop during the 1980s. Coin-operated video games such as Space Invaders (1978),Asteroids (1979),Pac-Man (1980), andDonkey Kong (1981) fueled the explosive growth of video game arcades in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Scoop Shoppe was one of more than 20,000 arcades in business by 1982.

The “Operating Methods and Philosophy policy,” cash reserve agreement, purchase agreement addendums, owners meeting notes, and other administrative records provide insight into operating an arcade. Financial documents consist of handwritten inventories but also include cost analyses, game collection reports, correspondence regarding the business loan, and an amortization table for 1982.

The many handwritten notes by Robert Benson throughout the papers document his daily to-do lists, thoughts and ideas on potential promotions, financial issues, and conversations he had. They also include questions for attorneys, financial professionals, business associations, and industry experts, sometimes recording the answers he received.

Because Benson’s main responsibility once the arcade was operational was promotions and marketing, the records are also comprised of hand drawn coupons, notices to customers about special events, promotions, and rule changes, proofs of marketing materials, and notes about marketing ideas such as “Free Plays” and “Two for One” games. Reference materials used by Benson include newspaper articles about licensing fees and the general arcade business, a copy of Dick McNicholas’ pamphlet “Amusement Machine: Your Route to Success,” 1981, and pamphlets from the Small Business Association, Management Aids series.

The records also contain many interesting visuals such as photographs of inside and outside the arcade, complete parts and operating manuals for Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man, andQIX, and fliers forPonpoko, Sky Bumper, Xargon, MOGUchan, Sky Lancer, Super Rider, andStar Trek.

Market saturation and a lack of innovation in the mid-1980s sent profits tumbling and led many arcades to close their doors. The records document the difficulties the Scoop Shoppe experienced with coin-op vendors, security, crime, poor reputation, and lack of experience and can be seen in the handwritten notes, correspondence, and internal memorandums.


  • 1981-1983


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and users of its library and archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, they have given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.


1.0 Linear Feet (1 document box, 1 oversized flat box)


This collection consists of the records of the Scoop Shoppe Family Fun Center, a video game arcade and ice cream shop in 1980s, Silver Spring, Maryland. The materials are dated from 1981 to 1983. The records are comprised of handwritten notes, photographs, financial documents, correspondence, promotional materials, fliers, game operation manuals, and administrative documents.

Administrative History

The Scoop Shoppe Family Fun Center was incorporated as FFC Inc. on April 8, 1982, by Robert "Bob" Benson, Rudolfo Bristo, and Dung Nguyen. The Scoop Shoppe was an arcade and ice cream shop located in Cloverly Plaza, Silver Spring, Maryland during the height of the arcade craze in the 1980s.

Benson conducted intensive research about starting the business and used resources available to him such as the Small Business Association, newspaper articles, and arcade industry experts. Once the Scoop Shoppe was up and running, daily operations were overseen by Bristo and Nguyen with Benson managing promotions and marketing.

Ultimately, the Scoop Shoppe struggled to stay in business due to a poor reputation, public image problems, and market oversaturation and closed for business around the mid-to-late 1980s.

System of Arrangement

This collection consists of two boxes. The folders are arranged alphabetically, by title.

Custodial History

The Scoop Shoppe Family Fun Center records were donated to The Strong in August 2022 as a gift from Joseph, Stephanie, Samuel, Lucas, and Nate Brewer, owners of Brewer's Arcade Inc. in Mount Rainier, Maryland, accesssioned by The Strong under Object ID 123.3041. The papers were received from Joe and Lucas Brewer in one box, approximately 1.0 linear foot. Joe Brewer acquired the materials from the estate of Scoop Shoppe co-owner, Robert Benson.

Processing Information

The original folder titles were retained when available. Loose materials were integrated in the appropriate existing folders. New folders were created to accomodate larger portions of loose materials. Folder titles in quotations marks are original to the creator. All other titles were derived by the archivist. The folders have been arranged alphabetically by title for ease of research.
Processed by Stephanie Ball, February 2024
Guide to the Scoop Shoppe Family Fun Center Records, 1981-1983
Stephanie Ball
2024 February
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)