Setting the scene for game changing connection
Quality Billiards & Game Rooms Put Games in the Spotlight
by Jennifer Walton
Pool, ping-pong, poker, pinball, shuffleboard, foosball, darts, air hockey, and arcades. Enjoying games is a pastime that encourages competition, relaxation, laughter, and connection. Josh Thorne, the owner of Quality Billiards & Game Rooms in Salt Lake City, has a little saying in his company, “Disconnect to reconnect.” That phrase has connected thousands of customers to a multitude of games, from retro-vintage arcade classics to Stern Pinball’s exclusive James Bond 007 series of highly collectible pinball machines released this year to commemorate the franchise’s 60th anniversary.
Whether it’s the rush of creating a first game room for the home or whether it’s an upgrade and expansion of home gaming choices to include a mix of the most recent technology and a dose of nostalgia, Quality Billiards’ expertise is plentiful. Their dedicated and knowledgeable staff provides ideas and suggestions for ways to curate a space at home that connects family, friends, and fun.
The family-owned and -operated business has long understood the value of connection, having supplied games in both commercial and residential spaces for over 50 years. “We do a lot of ‘break centers’ for large companies like Google and Amazon, and we also supply games to the hospitality industry for restaurants and bars. In addition, game rooms have become essential for vacation homes, second homes, and rental properties,” says Thorne. “I like to give this example. When there are two properties, and one has a game room, which one do you think the multi-generational family or corporate retreat concierge will choose? The one with the game room!”
The company encountered exponential growth and skyrocketing sales in the previous three years and expects the high demand to continue, especially as the trend to recapture the ‘80s and ‘90s has propelled classic games to the forefront. “You’ve probably noticed that those decades are having a moment in fashion and music cultures right now, and that’s been one of the factors for our very high demand for pinball and arcade machines,” shares Thorne. Every generation can appreciate a time they never experienced. This trend appeals to younger generations eager to own and display a wide variety of games for themselves in a personalized way.
“Games connect us to ourselves but also to the games themselves. Games help us form meaningful connections with other people. They teach us to think independently and problem-solve as they strengthen relationships
and create happiness.”
–Josh Thorne, Owner, Quality Billiards & Game Rooms
Elevating a sense of play optimizes a boring basement into being a bespoke billiard room or an unused attic into being an aesthetically pleasing arcade room. The staff at Quality Billiards is adept at organizing a space based on a client’s game room goals. From mid-century modern to mountain modern, the team can assist in the interior design and implementation of home bars, furniture, and specific accessories like chip sets and jukeboxes. They know dimensions and distances like those for regulation dartboard and room size requirements for pool plus space-saving and soundproofing tips for multi-use rooms. Their insight is invaluable when formulating a plan that commands creativity and connection.
Customizing the space to reflect the home’s architectural style is just one way to integrate a game’s purpose and physical silhouette. There are many different approaches in which games can be the focus or complement a home’s flow. Positioned off a great room where visiting and dining takes place, a game room encourages a more extended stay for conversation and play. In contrast, a room on another floor might feel like an entertainment destination.
At Quality Billiards & Game Rooms, when Thorne has a moment between customers and clients, he heads for the pinball machine. “My two favorite games are pinball and ping-pong, and I love taking a minute to recharge or relax with pinball,” he says. Watching visitors new to the showroom is like seeing them discover their childhood again. He adds, “Games connect us to ourselves but also to the games themselves. Games help us form meaningful connections with other people. They teach us to think independently and problem-solve as they strengthen relationships and create happiness. For kids, they instill decision-making, focus, and patience, like learning to wait your turn. They connect age, gender, and race and invite collaboration and connection.”
And the games? Excellent pool table and shuffleboard brands like Olhausen, California House, CL Bailey, and Presidential, plus RS Barcelona and Cue and Case for foosball and Valley-Dynamo for air hockey, among others for ping-pong (AKA table tennis!), arcade, pinball, and darts are sure to be a source of enthusiasm and inspire a lifetime of gamesmanship. Beyond the games are the memories made while playing them and the health benefits. Yes, games do that. As The New York Times stated in a recent piece, “Playfulness, connection, and flow each has been shown to improve people’s moods and mental health when experienced on their own. But when people experience these three states at once—in other words, when they have true fun—the effects they report are almost magical. When people have real fun, they report feeling focused and present, free from anxiety and self-criticism. They laugh and feel connected to other people and their authentic selves.” So, game on!
This year, Quality Billiards added the ability to rent from their extensive inventory, which can be for one night or weekend to as long as a year (often the case in the hospitality space). Aside from the predominant game groups of pool, shuffleboard, and ping-pong, some rentals include electronic dart boards and Texas Hold ‘Em poker tables.
Think about a striking game room with pool cues like rare books, a bright arcade room where kids can commune daily, or a media room with a ping-pong table set between the bar and theater screen at the ready for competition during commercials. Whatever the dream, Quality Billiards & Game Rooms aligns it with the reality that results in connection.
For more information, visit qualitybilliards.com, call 801.466.6815, or visit the showroom at
1865 South State Street in Salt Lake City.