Founder of Funspot Arcade in New Hampshire Passes Away at 90
The man who took an indoor miniature golf course in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, and eventually transformed into Funspot, the largest arcade in the world, has died. Funspot announced the passing of Bob Lawton via their Facebook page on Thursday. He was 90 years old.
Lawton got in the amusement business with an indoor mini-golf course in an arcade building in Weirs Beach in 1952 at the age of 21. He did it by borrowing $750 from his grandmother. To put that amount of money in perspective, with inflation, that's equal to $7800 today.
In 1964, he bought the land where Funspot sits today and has grown and expanded over 50 plus years since then. With three floors of amusement games such a pinball, arcade games, ticket redemption games and his original mini-golf course still intact in the building, it has become a destination that sees upwards of 500,000 people visiting it every year.
Funspot is the home to the American Classic Arcade Museum which features over 250 classic arcade games from 1971 to 1987. It is well known for being the setting for much of the documentary The King of Kong, where Steve Wiebe sought to defeat Billy Mitchell for the world record high score on Donkey Kong. Mitchell achieved the world record for Pac-Man at Funspot with a score 3,333,360 points.
In 2008, Funspot was named the "Largest Arcade in the World" by Guinness World Records.
All of this would not be what it is today without Bob Lawton. This interview with him by DaTechGuyBlog shows how proud Bob was of what he created when speaking of the history of Funspot.
Bob created something magical in New Hampshire that people from around the world have flocked to experience. The family will continue the legacy of Funspot, hopefully for generations to come. It's something so unique that, once you experience it, nothing else even comes close in comparison. Thank you Bob for putting the fun in Funspot. You will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lawton family.
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