Sunday, 8 September 2019

Great Yarmouth Arcade Heaven - Part 2

I’ve found a few more pictures of seafront arcades from the late eighties and early nineties.  Here is another one of the Flamingo. 

From left to right, the following games can be seen.
1. Galaxy Force DLX, Sega, 1988
2. After Burner DLX, Sega AM2, 1987
3. OutRun DLX, Sega AM2, 1986
4. Power Drift DLX, Sega AM2, 1988
5. Winning Run DLX, Namco, 1988 (I suspect, I’m not 100% sure on this).

Next up we have the Golden Nugget. 

I’m really happy to find a pic of a very special cab, the Taito Bubble Car as I’m going to call it! This cab type was used for both Full Throttle and one of my favourite games of all time, Chase H.Q. It's possible the red Chase H.Q. DLX machines were Full Throttle conversions. My memory is hazy, but I remember playing Chase H.Q. DLX down the seafront back in the day and seem to recall the cab being black. These cabs are incredibly rare now. It would be awesome if one turned up in a Raid!

WEC Le Mans 24 DLX can be seen in the arcade door, Circus Circus.

From left to right, the following games can be seen in the Golden Nugget.
1. After Burner DLX, Sega AM2, 1987
2. Winning Run DLX, Namco, 1988
3. Four Trax, Namco, 1989 (Behind the Whack-a-Mole type game).
4. Full Throttle DLX or possibly Chase H.Q. DLX, Electrocoin / Taito, 1987 / 1988

5. Limited Edition Hang-On DLX, Sega AM2, 1991.  I suspect this is the LE as the bike appears to be blue.

6. Metal Hawk, Namco, 1988
7. Pole Position Cockpit, Namco, 1982 (On the far right, just behind a fruit machine and next to a 2p pusher).

Below is a pic of the Silver Slipper. 

From left to right, the following games can be seen.
1. Metal Hawk, Namco, 1988 (Next to the white helicopter kiddies ride).
2. Hard Drivin’ DLX, Atari Games, 1989 (Next to Metal Hawk, just behind the Whack-a-Mole type game).

3. G-LOC: Air Battle DLX, Sega, 1990 (Next to the crane machine).

Monday, 2 September 2019

New Arrival – Electrocoin Goliath

My latest arcade purchase came as a bit of a surprise.  I remember the rows of Goliaths down the seafront back in the day.  A truly iconic machine indelibly seared deep into my arcade memories.

It was actually my parents who spotted it for sale in a local antique shop.  Their description wasn’t the most helpful, basically saying it was all the colours of the rainbow and a grubby old thing!  I sent the wife to investigate as I was working away from home.  Apparently the machine was working, but the shop owner couldn’t find a power lead.

The antique shop has some really interesting bits, and I always enjoy having a look round.  The great thing is you never really know what you’re going to find.  A couple of years ago they had a nice looking ‘Winner’ cab, a Pong clone and apparently the first cabinet by Bally, dated 1973.  The cab was bought by a fellow arcade collector.

Here are some more pics of the antique shop.

Moon Flight, a pinball table released by Zaccaria in 1976.  This was already sold.

A nice looking Bang & Olufsen CRT on a motorised stand.

A bear, a horse and a Dalek walk into a bar.

Now this was a blast from the past!  I remember these down the arcades, they were always a bit of a giggle.  It’s been years since I’ve seen one, in fact I had forgotten all about them!

They also had some console games, including relatively modern titles as well as a couple of random Japanese Sega Megadrive games amongst some camera lenses.

The wife managed to get the Goliath for a cracking price.  I didn’t get to see it until it turned up, and I was pleasantly surprised with its condition.  In fact it’s the mintiest mint Goliath I’ve ever seen.  The monitor glass was included, I just had to go back and pick it up.  I tried to find out a bit more about the history of the cab when I returned for the glass.  It turns out the person the shop owner bought it from is a big collector of seventies and eighties items.  He’s had the machine in his home for the last twenty years and is currently having a bit of a clear out.  The cab does have a PCB inside, most likely Olympic Soccer ’92, but so far I’ve only gave the machine a quick look over and haven’t tested it yet.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Grays Amusements – Mundesley, Norfolk

Driving along the Norfolk coast road on a summer’s day always evokes that OutRun feeling.  This is especially true for Walcott on the North Norfolk coast, where the road runs parallel to the beach.  After a beach day in Walcott and some fantastic fish n chips at the Kingfisher Fish Bar, we visited Grays Amusements in Mundesley, a short drive up the coast.

The arcade now has a retro section.  It’s great to see some classics in an arcade not far from home. 

The retro section comprises of Defender, Space Invaders Part II and two pinball tables, Fish Tales and The Adams Family. 

Both Defender and Space Invaders were in fantastic condition and played well.  I love the Space Invaders artwork.

The games were £1 per credit. 

The arcade still has a decent selection of more modern titles.  We enjoyed a few credits on Sega Rally 2, Soul Surfer, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade and The House of the Dead III.

With Grays Amusements being my nearest retro arcade and the prospect of them getting more classics in the future, we look forward to more coastal drives to Mundesley.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

New PCB Arrival - Hyper Duel – Technosoft - 1993

One of my big PCB collecting regrets was selling Hyper Duel.  I picked up the board about twenty years ago from Mak Japan PCB shop in Akihabara for around ¥10,000, which was about fifty pounds back then.  The game also received a home port on the Japanese Sega Saturn and was considered a bit of a hidden gem, and I bought it as well around the same time.

Hyper Duel is a cool horizontal space shooter developed by Technosoft, best known for the Thunder Force series.  The game has great pixel art and features the ability to switch between spaceship “Fighter” mode and humanoid mecha “Armor” mode, really setting the game apart.  The ship has greater speed and manoeuvrability, and is the ideal mode for dodging tight bullet patterns.  The mecha is slightly more powerful, and the gun can be aimed up to forty five degrees above or below you.  On the downside, it’s larger and thus a bigger target. 

Hyper Duel for the Saturn was released in 1996 and features a faithful port of the arcade game, as well as a reworked version with updated graphics and a revised soundtrack.  The Saturn Mode has much more detailed sprites and backgrounds, with some sprites being redrawn completely.  It also implements some gameplay tweaks and changes.  Most notably a third button is added to lock the robots aim in place.

My collecting mentality has changed over the years.  Back then I just wanted to own the best version of a game.  I preferred the Saturn Mode over the arcade original and decided to sell the PCB.  Nowadays if I like a game, I tend to look out for it on different formats.  I enjoy seeing the gameplay, artwork and packaging differences and finding out what makes each version unique.

This leads me back to Hyper Duel.  I missed having it on the original arcade PCB format and really wanted to play it on an arcade cab.  When I had the board previously, I played my arcade boards via a Supergun and console games on the same TV.

Prices for the game have increased dramatically over the years and it’s become quite a difficult game to track down.  Matt, a Ukvac member recently done me a great deal on the game and there is a cool story behind it.  The game was picked up from a local arcade in Torquay.  Matt had known the manager who runs it for about twenty five years and at one point actually worked for him.  The board had been in his possession for approximately twenty years.  It was acquired by him when a previous Operator vacated the premises and left several Jamma PCB’s hanging up by nails on the wall in the storeroom, along with a comedy face mask hanging up in the prize shop!  Since Jamma games had passed by that time, he had no way of testing them, and he simply assumed the boards were deliberately left behind because they were probably faulty.  The boards were put on a shelf and then eventually all in a box for the next twenty years!  Last year Matt bought himself a Jamma cabinet and was looking for some boards.  He knew the manager had these boards all this time and contacted him to see if he would sell them.  A deal was made, but Matt had to test them before a price was agreed.  All of them apart from one were either dead or faulty.  Hyper Duel was one of the faulty boards, but has since been repaired by VectorGlow.

I know from my own experiences that sometimes it’s very surprising what games you come across on Raids and in Op storerooms, games you never remember seeing back in the day and would never expect to find.  Hyper Duel is one of those games and I’m really happy to have it back in the collection.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Arcade Operator Raid in the Back of Beyond

This was a pretty unexpected Raid as the Op phoned me out of the blue.  He gave me a vague description of what he had and a date was made for a visit.

An open road, blue skies and helicopters!?  This journey was more Cruis ‘n Blast than OutRun!

The destination was a remote location off the beaten track, west of the M25.  We drove through woodland and saw birds of prey circling overhead as we approached.

We arrived early.  Picture the Evil Dead cabin, but with some dilapidated fruit and casino machines outside and you won’t be too far off.

I had a quick scan of the skip, but there didn’t appear to be anything video game related.

We had a bit of time to wait and so we ventured to a nearby garden centre for a bite to eat.

The parsnip and carrot soup was excellent.

They also had a nice range of cakes, chutneys, beers and wines.

Cactus.  Or should it be cacti?

However there was no time to hang around looking at cactus (or cacti?), we had a Raid to go on!  We made our way back to the Evil Dead cabin.

The workshop was mostly filled with fruit machines.  The Op had taken over the business from his father.  He said that they used to supply a lot of video games to neighbouring pubs, universities and colleges.

I climbed over the fruit machines at the back of the cabin to find a Nintendo PlayChoice-10.  It had obviously been sat there for a long time.

There was also a generic cocktail cab.

Checking the shelves for video game parts.

At the back there were a couple of boxes of boards and random parts, which included various buttons, joysticks and guns.

I also picked up some monitor chassis and a Sega driver dashboard.

They also had a couple of old jukeboxes.

Today’s pick ups.

The boot loaded up.

Raid Highlights

These Capcom CP System II titles all came complete with motherboards, which was a nice bonus.  It was also the first time I’ve come across the grey Asian type. 

As I was carrying Marvel Super Heroes I heard something rattling round inside the case.  Further investigation revealed that the battery had disintegrated, spewing corrosive fluid across the board.

Unfortunately the PCB’s had been stored badly and there were a lot of sports titles, including six Tecmo World Cup ’90 boards no less!  However there were a couple of interesting games, including Sega’s obscure Dark Edge and the Konami classic Juno First.

Dark Edge is a game I hadn’t come across before. 

Released in 1993 on System 32 hardware, Dark Edge is Sega’s first attempt at a 3D fighter, using sprite scaling to simulate a 3D playfield.  Unusually for this type of game, it has a sc-fi setting.  It’s definitely one I’m looking forward to playing.