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Arcade Talk

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(Changed the title as it wasn't a depressing day at the seaside, it was rather nice, it was just the arcade bit that got me down a bit)

(Changed it again - thanks Droo)

I know there have been "death of the arcades" threads before but I have just got in from a day by the seaside and am feeling a bit pissed off.

Had a day off work and went down to Weston Super Mare. Not been there since 1995

The new Grand Pier opened last year was an impressive structure but christ was it a waste. I've never seen so many grabbers and fruit machines.

The actual arcade machines there were all the novelty hardware: dancing, racing, shooting and Guitar Hero Arcade. Terminator Salvation wasn't too bad, nor was H2O Overdrive (or H2Overdrive or whatever), which was actually really good fun and gave you lots of race for your money. The vast majority of games were £1 a go.

On a side not: they did have a Mario Kart machine there that seemed to be broken, but in a good way. Sat in the seat to find it had 10 credits already! Needless to say I didn't leave that machine until all 10 credits were spent. Saved me a fortune! Went back later to see two lads playing on it, the same thing had happened.

There were a couple of belters there, Sega Rally Championship was 50p a go (a comparative bargain!), although the Outrun 2 machine was dead. Mind you, House of the Dead 1 and 2 were still £1 - criminal. A couple of pinball machines too, The Dark Knight and some other one (I'm bloody useless at pinball). Good to see those though.

Amidst the grabbers and token-spewers was a lone Virtua Striker machine, one joystick missing it's top, looking a bit sorry. They still wanted 50p a go for it though.

What I found more depressing though was visiting all the arcades I'd been to 16 years previously and seeing how they'd pretty much given up. One I remember vividly having Bubble Bobble, Donkey Kong, Operation Wolf/Thunderbolt, Total Carnage, etc. Now it's all fruit machines and grabbers - and this place is huge!

Anyway, to the point.

All the time I spent in these places I hardly saw anyone playing on the fruit machines. I even put 20p in one just for the hell of it and the 'fun' lasted all of 10 seconds.

Am I being naieve thinking the pier at least should invest in more video game machines, maybe some old ones, a retro section for us oldies? It would keep me there a damn sight longer; I got bored pretty quickly, and with games at £1 a go I wasn't inclined to keep going. I could spend all day in the arcades of 1995 easily, I lasted about 10 minutes in the new one.

Surely these places aren't making more money on fruit machines? Do they draw people in? I'm guessing they must do.

Sorry, we all know arcade gaming is dead but this really depressed me a great deal.

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was that mario kart arcade? never played it :(

i do wonder why nintendo never bothered to give that a home release

Yes that's the one. Excellent game. Had Pac Man, Ms Pac Man and a ghost in there for good measure. The tracks aren't as bonkers and the console games, lacking all the special features, but it does let you concentrate on the arcade racing.

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I don't recall seeing a single Good Old Cab the last time I took the kids to Newcastle (NI) - most of the arcades of my youth are still there (apart from one, now a cafe and apartments); one in particular, which used to have rows and rows of games was 100% fruit and poker machines as far as I could see, so I didn't even go in. Similar fate for the rest of them: mostly gambling, with some grabbers and quid-a-go driving and gun games if you're lucky. Took the kids in to go on some of the kiddy rides at the front and that was it.

Good memories and nothing else :(

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Visited a few of the arcades in Blackpool a couple of years ago, aside from Coral Island they were all in really bad shape and/or overly expensive.

One did have an Initial D game running on a pod like cabin that rotated in all directions (like the SEGA R360 but MUCH bigger).

Also, anyone seen this?, could be a good watch when they release it.

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Sometimes I wonder if the presence of fruit machines in the arcades is part of the problem - like if you wanted to have a successful video game arcade these days, you'd need ZERO fruit machines or gambling machines.

As a kid, I used to like to go and play some arcade games at the sea front, but even back then, I used to look over and see shabby, given-up-on-life, drunk-looking (at 10am) punters in a virtual stupor, gambling away their money in the hopes of winning the £20 jackpot with £100 they'd brought in, clutching a cigarette between their nicotine-stained fingers.

I didn't want to be in the same place as them. I didn't even want to see people like that.

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Edge did a little feature on the Weston pier arcade recently as part of a look into the modern arcade gaming scene. A lot of the games featured sounded pretty uninspiring, and I kind of miss the innocence of older arcades that played host to a much wider variety of genres...

Then again, the feature did mention that Rambo was one of the games, and that looks awesome. Tell me you played Rambo and it was awesome.

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Edge did a little feature on the Weston pier arcade recently as part of a look into the modern arcade gaming scene. A lot of the games featured sounded pretty uninspiring, and I kind of miss the innocence of older arcades that played host to a much wider variety of genres...

Then again, the feature did mention that Rambo was one of the games, and that looks awesome. Tell me you played Rambo and it was awesome.

Rambo and Time Crisis 3 were the two I said I'd go back and play but never did. As I said Terminator Salvation actually wasn't bad as on-rails shooters go. The gun weighed a ton and the rumble was enough to give you a sense of recoil.

What did annoy me about the £1-a-go games was you really needed to keep playing several times to get into the game, but I doubt anyone would be pumping £20 into the thing to do that. Consequently I only saw the first level or so of these games.

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A new 'Barcade" has opened here in Denver recently, its fantastic :

http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2011/03/the_1up_vintage_arcade_and_bar.php

The place is packed every night, i think its down to the combination of cool retro games and alcohol (and its in a really good spot), but it shows that an arcade can still work.

I'll take some photos next time I go, I went last night, all games are 25c per play and from memory the machines are (all dedicated cabs too)

Punch Out

Paperboy

Ikari Warriors

Track and Field

Galaga

Tempest

Burgertime

DK

DK Junior

Dk3

Q-Bert

Mario Bros

1942

Frogger

Star Wars

Gyruss

Moon Patrol

Centipede

Arkanoid

Asteroids Deluxe

Tron

Pacman

Ms Pacman

Super Pacman

Defender

Joust

are more I cant remember

The just added a row of fighters too, MK, MK2, Street Fighter Alpha 3 and another 3D SF that I cant remember. There are about 6 pins too and 3 skeeball machines.

The place is ace :)

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Vim, you missed the two beautiful pinball tables on the pier. They're on the right hand side near the back. Great value for money, I lasted ages on them.

The rest of the place was a real disappointment, though. I'm stunned that the government allow those stroking, sorry, 'grabbing' machines. They're a complete con.

I had such happy memories of Weston Pier - Ghouls n Ghosts, Ninja Warriors (what a cab!), Rastan, Combat School.

I honestly think that if an arcade invested in a retro section it would actually prove to be really popular.

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I could go for that. The games are cheap enough for me to not feel bad about putting more money in, and with some beer on top that would make a superb evening. Are you listening, Weston Grand Pier?

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Vim, you missed the two beautiful pinball tables on the pier. They're on the right hand side near the back. Great value for money, I lasted ages on them.

The rest of the place was a real disappointment, though. I'm stunned that the government allow those stroking, sorry, 'grabbing' machines. They're a complete con.

I had such happy memories of Weston Pier - Ghouls n Ghosts, Ninja Warriors (what a cab!), Rastan, Combat School.

I honestly think that if an arcade invested in a retro section it would actually prove to be really popular.

I think I mentioned the Dark Knight table. There were two tables there. I haven't played on a real pin in years and am too used to lightweight computer ones, so I didn't have the feel. It was good to see them though, just wish they'd been cheaper so I could get a feel for the table.

Oh yes, I remember the days of the old pier. It was shabby but the games were generally great. They had a Konami GT there which was a damn good pre-polygon racer.

As for grabbers I honestly cannot see the point. The contents I wouldn't pay a pound for in a shop, let alone the chance to win. They may as well have a box with flashing lights on that plays a tune when you put money in it.

I'll say it again but even if they dedicated a corner to 6 or 7 old stand-up cabs at 20p a go it would be a draw. They could consider it a loss leader if they like, getting people in who might, just might, spend on other amusements.

Rob, are there any places at all in Weston that have any sort of old games anymore? I was too depressed to venture any further in.

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If anyone goes to Blackpool, try and stay in the Sheraton hotel, in their basement they had a stand-up OutRunners, Carrier Arwing and a Neo-Geo multi-system. Can't remember the prices they were charging but it was cheap and the condition wasn't too bad, you did occassionally get tonked by someone mis-hitting the ball on the pool table though and the room was really rather small.

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That's a damn shame, I remember Weston being exceptional for arcades. We went back in 97, maybe 98, and there were about four or five big arcades on the main drag, stuff full of the classics. We barely made it out of the first one with any money :D

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Strangely enough, I hadn't seen this thread and was talking about arcades being dead to my girlfriend yesterday.

Last time I went to New Brighton's arcade on the front a couple of years ago, it was truly depressing. All the games were in a terrible state of disrepair. All the shooting games weren't calibrated and the screens on almost all the games had a truly awful amount of burn in and magnetisation (or whatever it's called, the colours were all over the shop). Even Sega Rally was knackered.

When we went there in my late teens/early twenties, all the machines were in perfect working order, and they had a good stream of interesting games from the US and Japan coming through every now and again, the most notable being Punch Mania: Hokuto No Ken, a Fist of the North Star fighting game.

Really, really depressing to see it almost empty and unloved. :(

Still, the crazy golf was alright. :)

EDIT: And the fresh donuts!

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Worthing Pier consists of coin drops, fruitees and insane ammounts of ticket spewers. Kids and mothers just roaming around the place with ARMFULLS of spewed tickets. It made me quite sick to the stomach. There's even a big wheel you can spin which, depending on where it falls spews out appropriate numbers of tickets. The design seemed to be about as many variants of machines that can spew tickets as possible coupled with machines where you feed them back in to get a little ticket you can exchange for a piece of crap.

Apart from that there is a Fast and the Furious link up set and one of the shooting the stag ones but jack all else.

When I moved there 6 years ago there was a brilliant pizza delivery game.

I played that for a good 10 minutes.

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The problem these days is that kids expect something very different from videogames than we (used) to, when we were growing up. The difference in 1990 between an arcade game and a home console was huge.

Nowadays the only difference is 'experience', thus the dance/gimmicky games.

Bring a 12 year old into an arcade full of old games and I don't think they'd be too interested in the bubble bobbles and donkey kongs, a shame maybe.

New arcades, sadly, would make next to no money on a 'retro' section, and the only place I've ever seen one that was properly busy was in Las Vegas.

The novelty for me would die after visiting once.

In reference to the price of these games, £1 is extortionate, but I suppose it's not a damn sight different to the 30p I put into a mortal kombat 1 machine in 199X.

All in all, the entire thing is a shame.

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Then again, the feature did mention that Rambo was one of the games, and that looks awesome. Tell me you played Rambo and it was awesome.

It's a pretty uninspiring shooter, yeah you have a machine gun but it's really not that great. It definitely needs more Rambo screams and other assorted insanity, there were a few cool bits but it's not worth a quid a go... :coffee:

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There are a few arcades on the street opposite Weston Pier but I haven't been for years so I imagine they have gone the way of the fruity.

Sadly yes. Will delve a little deeper next time but the massive one on the left as you come down was very poor indeed. Tehy stick a Guitar Hero Arcade by the door for a bit of noise but that's it.

Did manage to get a huge load of chips with two fishcakes in the chip shop opposeite for £3.30 though - bargain.

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If anyone's in Moscow any time, go and have a peek at the Soviet Arcade Museum. They have about 40 machines, most of which still work. I know it's not really what this thread is about but these things are retro beyond belief, some even have cardboard parts. It's worth a visit anyway, and has made a good living for the guys who resurrected the units. The fact that most of the games aren't even very good suggests someone with enough marketing pizazz might be able to get something similar off the ground elsewhere, with slightly less decrepit coin-ops that aren't clunky as hell. The website (15kop.ru/en) has diagrams of the innards of a few games and a couple of online reproductions to play.

SuperMBo, that Southwold place looks fantastically eccentric.

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Not really in keeping with the theme of the thread, but has anyone else gone to http://www.underthepier.com/ in Southwold?

Really fun, mad homemade arcade machines. Well worth popping in to have a look if you're in that neck of the woods.

Yes, I love it there. Was going to post about it myself in this thread but don't need to now!

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SuperMBo: What's Southold like these days for the Arcade then? I am only in Ipswich, so it is doable for an afternoon out, maybe go tomorrow :P

I'd say Under the Pier will only take you half an hour or so to play on the various machines - just to clarify, there aren't any 'proper' arcade machines there. Instead a bloke has just made a load of weird, lo-fi machines out of things like papier mache, videos and TV screens etc. They're excellent but if you're expecting Rolling Thunder and Space Harrier then you'll be disappointed. I've a vague memory that there's one other arcade but I imagine it's full of slots and 2p machines.

However, there are quite a few lovely pubs so it's a nice way to spend an afternoon.

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Well, I had been expecting some kind of older arcade titles, but what you have described sounds far more interesting, looks like I shall head up there either Tuesday or Friday afternoon, grab a few jars here and there, see the bits n bobs under the pier and maybe catch a few sun rays while at it :)

Thanks for the heads up,

Mike..

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Not really in keeping with the theme of the thread, but has anyone else gone to http://www.underthepier.com/ in Southwold?

Really fun, mad homemade arcade machines. Well worth popping in to have a look if you're in that neck of the woods.

That place looks amazing. Check out the video on the website. I am gonna have to go. Forum meet?

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That place looks amazing. Check out the video on the website. I am gonna have to go. Forum meet?

Looks like a right laugh, what a fabulous idea, I'd love to go too.

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