Friday, 12 August 2016

Arcades In Southport

Silcocks Funland

In addition to a selection of modern arcade games, including Star Wars Battle Pod, this arcade has a small classic gaming section.  The Defender cabinet looked in really nice condition.

Southport Pier’s New ‘Old’ Penny Arcade

Stretching over a kilometre across the Southport Sands and into the Irish Sea, it’s well worth making the journey to the end of the pier to visit this arcade.

The arcade features old one penny slot machines, pinball tables and two cocktail cabinets.

The cocktail cabinets had 1942 and Super Space Invaders '91 installed.  I enjoyed a few credits on both games.  By sheer coincidence I had been reading an article about the 1942 series in Retro Gamer magazine that very morning.

Premier Bowl & Laser
This venue has a cool Avengers pinball table as well as some modern arcade games.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

PLAY Expo Blackpool 2016

PLAY Expo Blackpool was held at the Norbreck Castle Hotel on the 30th and 1st May.  Despite an impressive exterior, the venue was somewhat dated.  However I imagine it was pretty spectacular back in its heyday.

The show encompasses all aspects of gaming, although most of my time was spent in the arcade section.

Here is a video of a walk around the arcade machines.

There was a fantastic selection of titles, including Sega classics and a nice row of Nintendo cabinets.

My gaming highlights had a definite Atari theme!

Marble Madness - 1984

The last time I played this was at Mikado arcade in Tokyo back in 2012. It was great to play it again, although I’m still rubbish at it!

Road Runner - 1985

Another fun and addictive Atari title, and one I’ve never seen / played before.  As Road Runner, the player must escape Wile. E Coyote, pick up bird seed and avoid the obstacles just like in the cartoon.  Beep Beep!!

Toobin’ - 1988
Toobin’ certainly stands out from the crowd, with unique controls, cool artwork and an awesome cascading waterfall marquee.

I remember seeing Toobin’ many years ago down Great Yarmouth seafront, but I don’t recall ever playing it. 

Like many other Atari titles, the game has a very original concept.  Paddle down the river and avoid the hazards, which include branches, hungry alligators, dinosaurs whipping their tails, and punks throwing cans at you!

The control system features four buttons at different diagonals, which control the characters legs and arms.  Also you can throw cans to slow the other player down. 

Toobin’ was loads of fun and great to play after all these years.

The show had a good selection of pinball tables.

I remember the Virtuality machines at the Mint arcade in Great Yarmouth.

Here are some more pics of the show.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Arcades In Blackpool

It was a Sunday morning and we were on our way to Blackpool.  We made an impromptu stop at a car boot sale just outside the town.  As usual we scouted the stalls for any gaming related bargains.  I didn’t pick up any games, but it was nice to find a stall with some classics.

Brooks Collectables

The first arcade we checked out was Brooks Collectables.  Located opposite the Waterloo Road tram stop, South Promenade, this venue has a vintage arcade featuring cocktail cabinets, dedicated machines and penny bandits.

I especially liked the collection of cocktail cabinets.  Games featured include Crazy Kong, Galaga, Pac-Man, Scramble and Space Invaders.

Unfortunately the rest of the arcades along the seafront were less interesting, featuring mostly gambling and redemption machines.  OutRun 2 SP SDX and Star Wars Battle Pod were highlights of a very limited selection. 

Walking through the back streets one evening, just one block behind the seafront, the decline is evident with dumped rubbish and rows of boarded up guest houses and buildings falling into disrepair.  It’s a sad sight, tarnishing the feeling of seaside nostalgia. 

In the basement of one hotel my wife spied a generic Jamma cabinet sandwiched between a fruit machine and an old mattress.

Pleasure Beach

Ridge Racer Full Scale - 1993

I was blown away to find Ridge Racer Full Scale.  This must be the only Ridge Racer Full Scale still operating in the UK

The game features an adapted Mazda Eunos Roadster and is played on a front projected triple screen.  The car had a few faults.  The gear shifter wasn’t functional, the stereo has been removed, the dash gauges weren’t working, and the air blowers didn’t work.  Despite these issues, the cab played well and was in solid condition for its age.

Here is a video of me playing the game (very badly!).

I was gutted when I visited an arcade in Leysdown-on-Sea, on the Isle of Sheppey back in 2014 only to discover that they had got rid of a Ridge Racer Full Scale the previous summer, and I doubted I would ever have the chance to play one.  It was simply amazing to find one still operating.  Ridge Racer Full Scale is an awesome experience, completely pulling you in to the game.  It still impressed and was getting plenty of attention during our visit.  A massive well done to Pleasure Beach for keeping the game running in good, serviceable condition after all these years!  For me this was well worth the admission price alone.

Some more pics of the cab.

The following pictures are used with kind permission and remain the copyright of Jason Newman aka Rotunda, the current Twin Galaxies arcade and PlayStation world record holder.

The service switch is behind the coin mech.

A look under the hood. 

The game boards are located under the projector screens.  There are three single System 22 PCB’s, with each one powering one screen.

The old Bose sound system.

Here are some more pics of the Pleasure Beach arcade.