Bar arcade concept Transmission shifting into high gear.

Cam Powell's vision doesn't yet have a home, but it does have quite a bit of buzz.

Powell, an area entrepreneur and 2014 journalism graduate of the University of South Carolina, along with business partner and local videographer Josh Rainwater, are bringing an arcade bar to Columbia. They've been shopping for a location for their concept, called Transmission, for more than year, but in the meantime, various pop-up events have been pulling in pinball aficionados curious to learn more.

First approached by Rainwater about the concept around two years ago while working on a brick-and-mortar bottle shop concept for West Columbia, Powell was instantly intrigued.

"I thought back to the first time that I ever went to an arcade bar at Boxcar (Bar + Arcade) in Raleigh, and I remember leaving there thinking, 'Wow, something like this would be really cool in Columbia,' " said Powell, whose previous startup experience includes Columbia Brew Bus, which takes patrons on tours of local breweries and distilleries. "It's a growing city along the same lines."

The pair, along with a third investor with a background in civil engineering, want to locate in one of Columbia's hotspots: the Vista, the Main Street district, Five Points or Cottontown. Powell said two properties, including one in Five Points, are currently under serious consideration. Depending on the number of construction permits needed, once a location is secured, Powell hopes to be open by the end of 2019.

In the meantime, he's been buying games pinball machines, racing games, arcade cabinet games that include 80s staples such as Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, etc. He's on the hunt for a first-person shooter game, he said, scouring auctions throughout the Southeast and Craigslist ads.

"Once we started garnering some investment and had enough money to do things with, after we kept looking at buildings and just not finding what we really wanted, we decided to start building up our games collection," Powell said. "Our plan is to eventually get to 30-plus, including pinball, arcade cabinets, Skee-Ball, all of that."

The 19 games he's acquired so far are stored in a unit in Northeast Columbia, where friends have enjoyed giving them a go. But recently, they've been making more accessible appearances as part of a pop-up publicity tour.

Last month, dozens of people packed Devine Street craft beer and bottle shop Craft and Draft to take a turn at pinball machines featuring Jurassic Park dinosaurs and...

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