WORTHINGTON — Would you ever expect to find a zombie, Martian or robot under the same roof?
The three probably aren’t always thought of together, and that’s one meaning behind the name of John Ruiz’s and Vienna Casillas’s new business venture. The husband/wife duo is set to open Zombie Martian Robot Arcade Lounge at noon Tuesday at 1517 Oxford St.
“We plan on having video games, board games and movies here,” Ruiz explained. “Those three things aren’t usually found in one spot. Zombie Martian Robot is a metaphor — those three things aren’t always found in one entity, either.”
The Zombie Martian Robot name, Ruiz added, also represents an homage of sorts to an opportunity he and Casillas missed when they were younger.
“The name is also something that’s personal to us.” he said. “Don’t miss your opportunity when you get your chance.”
Ruiz and Casillas have long wanted to open some kind of enterprise revolving around either comic books or video games.
“We were both living in Yuma (Arizona) when we met,” Ruiz shared. “I met her when she was 13 and for the longest time, she wanted to open a comic book store in Arizona. She’s still interested in that today, but she’s more interested in being a comic book artist.
“Over the years, we discussed opening a comic book store, then a comic book store and arcade, and so on,” he continued. “We love that kind of community … and we’re hoping to create some of that here.”
It’s hoped that comic books can be introduced into Zombie Martian Robot sooner than later. In the meantime, for an admission fee, people may enter and play numerous video and board games. A “Nintendo 64 Nook” will have approximately 12 games available, and there will be a Nintendo Switch attached to a projection screen with about five games to start out with. Board games, along with such games as Magic the Gathering or Pokeman that will be made available in the near future, will also be on-site.
Ruiz spent considerable time in Worthington as a youth, and is happy to make available something he’s missed in town for years.
“I grew up here until I was about 13, and then I moved to Arizona,” he said. “I remember when there was an arcade here about 20-something years ago.
“About two years ago I moved back; I have a sister and I wanted my daughter to come back around my family, because I don’t have much. I have a lot of friends here and a lot of them have kids. … I’m kind of hoping they’ll hang out here.”
They’ll be other reasons for folks of all ages to hang out, too.
“We actually have plans to have Saturday cartoon days where we’ll be featuring cartoons practically all day long,” Casillas said. “And, during the summer, we plan to feature Studio Ghibli (a Japanese animation film studio affiliated with Disney) movies.”
“We’re also really excited for our plans to do classic movie nights,” Ruiz added. “I watched a lot of classic movies with my mom. I remember seeing ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ in a theater with her on a big screen.”
“The concept of shared viewing is very big to us,” Casillas said, with Ruiz quickly noting that he hopes the arcade will promote connections between people with similar interests. Games and entertainment at Zombie Martian Robot will all be family friendly, he added.
Ruiz and Casillas — who have a nearly 2-year-old daughter, Persephone — will be plenty busy with their business launch. They plan to be open seven days a week from noon to 2 a.m. before eventually scaling back from noon to midnight hours on Wednesdays through Sundays. People may bring in their own food and drink to enjoy; no alcohol or tobacco will be allowed.
“We want this to be something that brings color into people’s world,” Ruiz said.
More information about Zombie Martian Robot is available on its Facebook page.