Thursday, 20 December 2018

Arcade Club - October 2018

During the October half term week we visited Arcade Club.  A special promotion was on allowing gamers of all ages access to both floors. 

My daughter had never been on Floor Two ‘Modern Arcade’ as it’s usually adults only, and I thought it would be nice for her to play the rhythm games and experience some of the quirky Japanese machines. 

She did enjoy them, but after a while she was keen to go to Floor One ‘Classic Arcade’ and play her current favourite, Pac-Land.  In fact my daughter developed a little bit of an addiction for the game, spending most of the afternoon on it!

There were lots of awesome new additions since our last visit.  Here are some of my gaming highlights.

Strider – Capcom – 1991

Awesome game, it was time I’ve seen the US dedicated cab.

The Ninja Warriors – Taito - 1987

I last played this in Mikado arcade, Japan, and was super happy to see it again. 

The game feels a little clunky, and despite the parallels with Shinobi, just isn’t as good. However for me at least there is just something special about this game.  Maybe it’s because of the awesome three-screen cabinet, and the fantastic visuals.

Maybe it has something to do with it being such an elusive title.  I played it once in the UK many years ago and in Mikado arcade, Japan years later.  I have the Mega CD conversion, but it just isn’t the same.

It could just be the super cool main characters, and the revelation which comes when they sustain damage.  When I first played this game, my thought process must have been something like this “What’s happening?  No way!  Robot ninjas!”

Cho Chabudai Gaeshi! 2 / Super Table-Flip! 2 – Taito – 2010
This is still a favourite on Floor Two and my daughter loved it.  My only gripe was that she wanted to flip the table and sometimes the wedding cake every time, even when it was my go!

Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX – Taito – 2011

Dariusburst had an all too brief spell at the now closed Casino arcade in London.  It was fantastic to see this awesome game on these shores once again. 

The Dariusburst banners are a nice touch.

X-Men – Konami – 1992

Wow what a beast!  The only time I’ve ever seen one of these awesome duel-screen, six player cabinets was at the arcade in Gatwick airport back in the early nineties.  They had a few other seldom seen games, including Sega’s Wing War and Hologram Time Traveller.  It was awesome playing this version again after all these years.  Seriously impressive stuff!

The awesome Nintendo row.

I’ve had Tron on my radar for a while, but they rarely seem to come up for sale.  It was great to have a few credits.

The pinball room.

Behind the Scenes
Here are some pics of the workshop area, kindly taken with kind permission from the guy at the desk.

A Mr. Do! board on the test bench.

Some more pics from our afternoon.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Lancashire Coast 2 Coast

St Anne’s Pier, Lytham St Anne’s

After a long five hour drive, we stopped off at St Anne’s Pier and decided to have a bite to eat in the cafe.  Now it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention the sandwiches.  They were superb, deep filled with traditional fillings.  I opted for cheese and pickle. 

The cakes were very nice as well. 

Just like the sandwiches, the arcade didn’t disappoint!  There was a great selection of late nineties and noughties Sega DLX cabinets.  These include After Burner Climax, Eighteen Wheeler, Let’s Go Jungle!, Manx TT Super Bike, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, The House of the Dead 4 and The Lost World.

A working Manx TT Super Bike, pretty rare these days.

The two After Burner DLX cabs were set up for 2 player linked co-op mode.  I’ve only ever seen this before in Japan, very cool!

There were a couple of issues with some of the games, for example the calibration of The Lost World gun was way off.  However it was the end of the season when we visited, so hopefully these issues will be addressed over the quieter months.

Ballistics – GRIN / Triotech - 2002
Now this is an interesting one.  I’ve only ever seen this once before at Sandown Pier on the Isle of Wight, and the game was out of order.  It was nice to finally give it a go.

Developed by the now defunct Swedish studio GRIN, Ballistics started off as a PC game and was reworked for the arcades.  In this futuristic racing game, the player must race hover bikes, called Speeders whilst avoiding the obstacles.  The tracks comprise of long tunnels, taking inspiration from The Fifth Element and Blade Runner for the city tracks, and also the snowy mountains of Siberia and the jungles of the Amazon.  The speeders are magnetically attached to the race surface, allowing 360 degrees of movement.

The hard plastic seat wasn’t the most comfortable.  Sitting in the reclined seating position gives the illusion of being eaten by a giant Pac-Man.

Unfortunately time hasn’t been kind to this one.  I didn’t get a great sense of speed and the graphics, which resemble PlayStation One era have aged badly.  Whilst it’s no F-Zero AX, it’s a novel idea and I’m pleased to have played it.


There are a few arcades in Morecambe, but they didn’t have anything particularly noteworthy.  In the arcades which still had video games, they had the usual selection of modern titles.  However in Coopers Amusements I did see this switched off Naomi Universal at the back of the arcade.

I had a chat with the owner and he said it had a monitor fault.  They were trying to source a new monitor, but were willing to sell it as-is for £100.  That’s a fantastic price and cosmetically it looked in great condition, but unfortunately due to space limits and having spent a lot on recent Raids, I had to pass.

However I did happen to come across some cool video game shops.  Lees Games had a fantastic selection of classic Sega and Nintendo titles, as well as modern games.

There was also a cool video game stall in the indoor market. 

The previous day the wife and I had been chatting about Ikari Warriors and rotary sticks (or I had been talking to her about them!), and she mentioned the similarities to The Ninja, a game she had on the Master System back in the day.  As soon as I saw this I had to get it for her!

This mural instantly reminded me of Super Hang-On!


This arcade along the seafront was a bit of an oddball and had a couple of interesting machines.

Quick & Crash – Namco – 1999

In this shooting gallery game, the aim is to shoot the targets in the quickest time after the gun is drawn.  The game is very much a modern version of those old electro mechanical shooting games.  Great fun and one you don’t see very often.

Belly Bomber – Namco - 1994

Quite a strange one this!  Push the five red ‘bombs’ towards the belly of Dodogadon, the dragon-like creature as he moves from side to side.  Once the bombs have reached the top of the playfield, they come back down again to the player. 

I wonder what he had done to deserve such hostile treatment!?

The arcade had various fruit machine glass and video game marquees displayed on the walls, including Point Blank, Space Invaders, Virtua Cop and Virtua Fighter 3. 

I found these kind of bittersweet.  On one hand they look great, but on the other it’s probably all that is left of the machines.  I was particularly intrigued to see this one.

I did ask the owner about it, but unfortunately he couldn’t tell me much about the machine.

Here are some more pics of the arcade.

Now let’s rewind twelve years.  Here are some pics of the arcade taken back in 2007. 

The arcade still had some real classics back then, including Pole Positon II, Space Invaders and a Nintendo PlayChoice-10 cab.

Road Blasters – Atari Games – 1987
My pick of the bunch though is this incredible Road Blasters cockpit cab. 

I love the look of this.  It’s futuristic, yet still has an unmistakably eighties vibe.  I remember Road Blasters back in the day, in fact it’s the only Atari System 1 game I remember playing.  However I’m going back to my haziest childhood memories, and I can’t say whether I played the cockpit version. 

The cockpit cab features a more compact, stacked Atari System 1 PCB and has a magnified screen.  I would love to play the game again in one of these.

I checked out the arcades in Blackpool back in 2016.  The highlight was of course the awesome Ridge Racer Full Scale in the Pleasure Beach.  I was hoping for another visit this time, but unfortunately ran out of time.

You can read my 2016 write-up here.

Finally here are some pics of ‘Jim’s Arcade’ on Blackpool seafront, by the Pleasure Beach, back in 2009. 

A row of Space Invader Part II machines, complete with aliens peering down ominously at the player.

A Defender cab converted to Track & Field.

Tehken World Cup, another rare sight.  It’s the first time I’ve seen the cocktail cabinet with one of these hoods.

A pair of Enduro Racer DLX cabs and a US Operation Wolf.

Similar to the arcade in Fleetwood, it’s impressive to see that these classics were still being operated over two decades after their release.

The Fleetwood and Blackpool 2007 and 2009 pictures are used with kind permission and remain the copyright of Steve Rich.