Monday, 19 January 2015

The Norfolk Broads, Arcades and the games of Masaaki Kukino

Potter Heigham

Located next to a medieval bridge, this chip shop/arcade has a couple of machines.  It’s the first time I’ve seen 500 GP by Namco.  One credit lasted about ten minutes, there was no timer and the game finished when you completed a set number of laps.  They also had The House of the Dead.

The Bridge Inn – Acle

This pub has a small games room with 2p pushers and three games, Battle Gear 4, The House of the Dead III and Guitar Hero.  Although not a great selection of titles, we really enjoyed this pub.  The food is excellent and it had a nice beer garden and children’s play area, we will definitely be going back!

Wroxham Miniature Worlds
Whilst there were no arcades machines here, this venue features a Japan themed railway model display.  The model is supposedly based on the area around Osaka Prefecture.


It didn’t take me long to find the arcades.


The Lion Inn – Thurne

Now this pub really is off the beaten track, with us having to travel down meandering narrow country roads to get to it.  It’s probably a lot easier to get to by boat!  I wasn’t expecting much, but it turned out to be a pretty good find.

The games are in a barn at the side of the pub.  It was great to see Lucky & Wild, it’s been years since I’ve played this.  As I was playing I could hear heavy rain and thunder and a short while later water began dripping onto my head and the machine! 


It’s a shame Rave Racer wasn’t working, but I enjoyed a couple of pints credits on all of the other games.

The New Inn – Horning

Similar to the other pubs featured here, this pub has its own games ‘shed’.

We had a couple of credits on Silent Scope Fortune Hunter, a gambling videogame version of Silent Scope from which cash can be refunded if a player can achieve a high score.  Coincidently I’ve been reading ‘The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 1’, by Szczepaniak and there is an interview with Masaaki Kukino, the director/designer of SSFH.  It turns out the game was developed for the UK market and was his last Konami title.  Mr Kukino worked for Konami between 1986 and 2003, and his portfolio includes Haunted Castle, Crime Fighters, Asterix, Run and Gun, and Silent Scope.  In 2003 Mr Kukino joined Gamewax and directed/designed Valve Limit, Akuma, and the awesome Chase HQ 2.  In 2007 Mr Kukino joined SNK Playmore and produced King of Fighters XII and XIII, left in 2011 to work for a Chinese games developer Wahlep Tec, and in 2013 returned to SNK Playmore.

The Boulevard - Oulton Broad

This café/bar/arcade is actually located across the border in the county of Suffolk.  The arcade had a small selection of games including Gun Bullet, Sega Touring Car Championship, The House of the Dead III and Time Crisis 3.

I’m a bit confused about the Gun Bullet cab.  Gun Bullet is the Japanese version of Point Blank.  Point Blank was very popular in the UK and lots of machines made it over to these shores, but this is the only time I’ve seen Gun Bullet.  Also the cabinet itself is different.  Maybe it was converted from a Tekken or a Soul Edge cabinet?

Broad Farm Touring Caravan Park & Campsite – Fleggburgh, Burgh St Margaret

This venue had an arcade with a nice selection of machines. 


I was especially pleased to find Virtua Cop 2, it’s been a long time since I’ve played it.

The café area at the side of the arcade was being used as an arcade graveyard with a stockpile of old arcade and fruit machines.  There didn’t appear to be anything particularly rare or interesting, although the Crazy Taxi cabinet looked in nice condition.


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