Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Arcade Club

Once again we journeyed up North to Arcade Club, the largest gaming venue in Europe.  The biggest change since my last visit is Floor Two ‘Modern Arcade’ is now up and running.  Floor Two features PC gaming, a pinball room, VR stations as well as some extremely cool modern Japanese arcade games.  It was awesome and slightly surreal seeing these Japanese games in the UK, and they were proving extremely popular.  This floor is over eighteens only, or sixteen plus when accompanied by an adult.

Here is walk round video of Floor Two recorded on a busy Saturday night.  There is also a pinball room and a classic arcade game room not featured in the video.

Floor One ‘Classic Arcade’ has lots of awesome new additions as well.  Here are some of my gaming highlights, in no particular order.

Food Fight – Atari, Inc. – 1983

Another Arcade Club first for me.  Guide Charley Chuck to the ice cream before it melts, whilst fending off angry chefs.

The ’49-way joystick’ gives players precise control over Charley Chuck.

A fun game and beautiful cabinet.

Alien Syndrome – Sega – 1987

Shoot the aliens and rescue the survivors in this overhead run and gun shooter. 

A cool game and a fantastic looking cabinet, I love the alien topper!

Groove Coaster 3: Link Fever – Matrix Software / Taito - 2016

Rez meets Guitar Hero, as the player follows their in-game avatar on a high-speed journey along a fantastic 3D rollercoaster track.  The game is really fun and immersive. 

The game features tracks by Zuntata, Taito Corporation’s ‘house band’, known for the soundtrack of games such as Bubble Bobble, The Darius series and the Ray series, among others.

The cabinet even has a headphone jack, very cool!

Jubeat – Konami – 2008

Jubeat is an arcade rhythm game for Konami’s Bemani line of games.  Whilst checking out the arcades in Japan, this title really stood out.  It was something completely different, and watching a good player is pretty mesmerising. 

Utilising an arrangement of sixteen buttons in a four by four grid, the player must press the squares as they illuminate in time with the music.

Initial D Arcade Stage 8 Infinity ∞ – Sega – 2014

I enjoyed a couple of credits on this one-on-one racer, and love the cab aesthetics.  Again it’s a shame there hasn’t been a Western release.

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker – Sega – 1990

Regent Bowl in Great Yarmouth, which sadly burnt down last year, had one of these dedicated three player Moonwalker cabs back in the day.

I remember going down the bowling alley one Saturday afternoon with a pocket full of change and playing through to the end.  It was the only place I had seen one of these cabs until now, and the game is just as awesome as it was then. 

Saving the children and defeating Mr. Big’s henchmen, I was ten years old again.  Catching Bubbles the chimp and seeing Michael transform into a giant robot complete with laser cannon arms and missiles never gets old!

Monkey Ball – Amusement Vision / Sega – 2001

One of my favourite Gamecube titles, it was great to play the arcade version. 

The game was produced by the team behind another favourite of mine, Planet Harriers, and is extremely fun and unique.  Check out that control panel!

Strike Force – Midway – 1991

Another uncommon and obscure title!  Strike Force is a modern update of Defender, featuring pre-rendered graphics typical of the early nineties.  Different weapons can be collected and the player can choose which planets to attack, giving the game a strategical element.  A cool cab and an interesting game.

Cho Chabudai Gaeshi! 2 / Super Table-Flip! 2 – Taito – 2010

Flip the table, sending dishes flying and watch as the havoc unfolds in Matrix-style bullet time.  I first played this in Akihabara, Tokyo back in 2012 and never imagined I’d get to play it on these shores.  Hilarious and utterly brilliant!

Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters – Atari Games – 1989
This is a game I had never seen before and knew very little about, but had wanted to play for a long time.  The name alone is one of the best video game titles ever!

The game has a science fiction B movie vibe.  Intergalactic S.W.A.T. team members Jake and Duke must rescue the human hostages.  Blast, duck and dodge robots and eliminate the Reptilons evil empire from Factory Planet X. 

I would describe the game as a sort of cross between Marble Madness and Smash T.V., combining the isometric viewpoint and bright vibrant colours of the former with the relentless shooting action of the latter.  

The levels within the Factory Planet X complex are comprised of different floors.  To ascend to higher floors, the player must locate the master switch that turns on the ‘electro-stairs’.  Wander too close to an unprotected ledge and you may fall and end up holding on to the sides for dear life.

The panel features Hall-effect joysticks, giving the player precision control.

I really enjoyed EFTPORM.  It was great to finally play it and is definitely a new favourite old game!

Ice Cold Beer – Taito – 1983

This electro-mechanical classic is the perfect game to have next to the bar!  Use the joysticks to balance and tilt the ball on the bar up to a lit hole on the playfield, whilst avoiding unlit holes. 

MÚSECA - Konami – 2015

MÚSECA is a recent addition to the Bemani line of arcade rhythm games, and plays like a cross between Pop’n Music and a dance mat game.

The game is played with five circular pads, which can be pressed and spun, and also a foot pedal.

The game is fun, and the addition of the spinning pads and foot pedal is a nice twist.

There was an awesome selection of shooters, including Cyvern: The Dragon Weapons, Ketsui, Armed Police Batrider and DoDonPachi DaiOuJou.

DoDonPachi DaiOuJou was installed in a Capcom Impress.  It was the first time I had seen one of these in the flesh.  The cab is Capcom’s take on the Astro City, similar to how the Status was styled on the Jaleco Pony.

The awesome Electrocoin cab line up.

Some more pics of Arcade Club.

This visit was made particularly enjoyable by my five year old daughter really starting to enjoy the games.  BurgerTime and Pac-Land were definite favourites.  During a game of BurgerTime she turned round, exasperated and said “Oh no, I’ve just been egged!”  We also had fun protecting our castles from dragon fire on Warlords and enjoyed a few races on OutRun2, although until her legs grow a bit longer I’m on accelerator duty.

Andy and the team should be proud of what they have accomplished.  Arcade Club is a monumental achievement and truly world class.