For 17 years, he held the controllers of electronic games in Finistère
Carefully lined up pinball machines, jukeboxes from several generations to make any collector green with envy, driving simulators that bring back many memories, table football, billiards, touch games… Located a distance from in the transbigoudène, Plomelin (29), the reserve of Patrice Castel has all the caves of Ali Baba dreamed of by those who, one day, put francs in the slot of an electronic bar game. “Ah, certainly when people come here with their families – and they come from all over Brittany for the renovation – you often hear the children asking to leave and the parents who want to stay” , said the tenant with a smile.
In place of Jacky Plouhinec
Who asks you, by the way, not to shoot too many pictures, “especially of this very rare pinball machine”, just to avoid an overflow of requests. It’s been 17 years since Pat – no bistro owner – turned his salesman attitude into a repairer and supplier of games for bars and private individuals. 17 years at the head of Électronique Loisirs, founded in the 1970s just after the arrival of microprocessors by Jacky Plouhinec. Does the Plouhinec macaroon speak to you?
I like the game, the interaction with people. It’s nice to go to bars, chat. But I don’t have time to play
Fond of billiards, national level uniform, trained in electronics, Pat realized a childhood dream by getting into business. “I like the game, the interaction with people. It’s sure that I earn a better living as an employee, but it’s a passion. It’s nice to go to bars, talk especially if it’s not allowed smoking. I didn’t hesitate to go to work. Good after, not 35 hours a week huh. I don’t have time to play”. The day before, he passed Audierne, Beuzec, Douarnenez… The next day, waiting for him Quimper, Edern and Landudec. “I’m always on the road, I do about 1,000 km a week”.
A van with 400,000 km on the clock
And not in any car. The boss pressed the button to keep Jacky Plouhinec’s yellow van. 400,000 km on the clock! “Why did it change? Everyone knows him, I just added my name. No advertising, no canvassing, word of mouth is enough for me. There are only a few of us in this place. And my logo in games is my best advertisement”.
The portable killed the counter touch games, the card games. You are not here today
Quimperois, now 52 years old, has not changed his recipe: free deposit of machines, dividends on funds. Its park has 200 café games spread across southern Finistère. “And it costs the boss nothing, it’s a win-win situation.” Everything is rented, nothing that is in his place in Plomelin is to be occupied. In 17 years, his range of games has evolved. By force of circumstances. “The tightening of the alcohol limit allowed while driving had a big impact on activity, people started going out less. And then the laptop killed the touchscreen games, the card games. You don’t have today ”.
The skyrocketing game
Table football, pinball machines, and billiards also left Finistère cafes. “I still have about thirty pinball machines, but we have to find space. And then they become a rare commodity to buy”. Its suppliers are in the United States for pinball machines, in Paris for table football and in England for billiards.
There are always games in the cafe. people need to come out
And in Korea for darts, THE most profitable game at the moment. “It works the best and takes up the least space. Darts got a big boost with the arrival of connected machines in 2013. And the world calls the world. I install them everywhere. There, I made a small bar in Guengat”.
The hardest part of the job? Electronics? Updates ? Failures ? None of the kind. “Paperwork is being done,” Pat joked. Without leaving his smile as he evokes the future of coffee games. He wasn’t worried. “There is always one. People need to get out.”