After about a six-month delay due to the ongoing pandemic, Cineplex Entertainment is finally set to open Atlantic Canada’s very first Playdium entertainment complex.
The long-awaited amusement centre will feature 30,000 square feet of interactive video games, 10-pin bowling, virtual reality pods as well as fresh food options and private party rooms in the heart of Dartmouth Crossing.
While the gamble of opening Playdium during the pandemic may seem risky, Cineplex’s executive director of amusement and entertainment Kashif Ahmad says people are hungry for the giant amusement complex and its offerings.
“The social aspect of getting together with other people and doing things outside of the home is still top of mind,” says Ahmad. “It’s just a matter of feeling safe and going out and doing it in environments like ours where those precautionary measures are put in place.”
Playdium has taken great measures to ensure both staff and customers remain safe. That includes enforcement of masks, an abundance of sanitizing stations and contract tracing.
“We met with infectious disease consultants, the University Health Network (and) showed them all our precautionary measures and they approved our plans. That includes reduced capacity — we’re going to be opening this venue with 300 people,” says Ahmad. “We also have staff constantly going around and disinfecting the games after people have played.”
And there are plenty of those games to play. Approximately two-thirds of the complex is dedicated to attractions that feature 90 video games — from state-of-the-art games to reinvented classics like Tomb Raider.
Another highlight is the Marvel Adventure Lab, which is essentially a photo booth that puts the participant on their very own comic book cover.
As well, many of the games are intended to credit and collect points that players can later redeem for prizes at Playdium’s Swag Store. Another innovation is that those points and credits are tracked on RFID wristbands, which allow for reduction of touch points as they can be simply scanned with minimal contact.
“The big difference is really in the environment and what the environment has to offer,” says Ahmad when comparing Playdium to other entertainment options like Rec Room locations or amusements at Cineplex Cinema locations. “So the extensive gaming selection, the RFID technology in the wristbands, the six 10-pin bowling lanes, two virtual reality pods, (and) when it comes to prize selection in our Swag Store and the games you can play to earn points for those prizes, those are all new games to the market.”
Playdium will also be a partner in Cineplex’s popular SCENE points loyalty program, which will enable members to tap into extra rewards.
“It works the same way in the sense you receive SCENE points on every purchase, excluding alcohol and you can also redeem SCENE points for game tags in order to play the games,” adds Ahmad. “So it’s very similar. In the exhibition side of the business, you’re redeeming it for movies — here you’re redeeming it for game play.”
Ahmad is excited to finally launch Playdium’s grand opening on February 20 at its location in Dartmouth Crossing, insisting that after a year of COVID-19 restrictions, he anticipates the community will be just as thrilled to welcome the amusement complex.
“It’s really everything under one roof. The ability to play different things in one place, have meals, play attractions and have a full entertainment experience,” adds Ahmad. “People are still very interested in doing activities — they just want to feel safe when they are doing it and as long as we are promoting how we are cleaning and keeping them safe, we haven’t had a lot of concerns.”