Thursday, 27 September 2018

Clacton-on-Sea & Walton-on-the-Naze Arcade - 2018 Update

We spent a couple of days in Clacton during the summer hols and checked out the arcades during our seaside days out.  It’s been just under two years since our last visit.


The pier still has a good selection of modern arcade games.

Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Arcade Edition – Nintendo / Sega
Well who would have imagined Mario and Sonic joining forces in the arcades!

Crazy Tower – Adrenaline Amusements - 2017

The first thing that strikes you is the cool 3D holographic display.  The game utilises a LED projector and enables four-player simultaneous independent play.

Players are tasked with building a tower and must tap the button at just the right moment as the blocks overlap.  If the blocks aren’t perfectly aligned, the size of the next block diminishes until it’s game over.  Simple, addictive arcade fun.

There is an arcade / bowling alley just across the road from the pier with some modern titles.

Luigi’s Mansion Arcade – Capcom / Nintendo – 2015

A cool game that’s not seen all that often.  I love the Poltergust 3000 vacuum controllers!

Operation G.H.O.S.T. – Sega - 2012
I was pleased to see this still here.  A cool game and pretty uncommon.

I also tried my hand at winning the worlds biggest Chupa Chup, but no such luck.

The amusement arcades along Pier Avenue also had a selection of modern titles.

Ghost Busters – ICE / Play Machanix / Raw Thrills - 2015
It’s a bit of a novelty game, but I love Ghost Busters, and who can resist shooting ping pong balls at ghosts and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!


On arrival, I saw a banner proclaiming that the pier is under new management.  There have been quite a few changes since my last visit, unfortunately not all of them good.  A gambling area for over eighteens has now been set up at the front of the arcade.  This is seemingly at the expense of the videogames.  Quite a few games have now been relocated to the back.  A few older classics, including Manx TT Super Bike, Rapid River and Sega Rally have gone, as well as Tank! Tank! Tank! and Panic Museum 2, two uncommon games.

On the upside, there is a lot of OutRun and Ferrari love in the building!  The OutRun2S DX is an awesome new addition.

The OutRun2SP is still present at the back of the arcade.

And a Ferrari parked inside the pier!

Unfortunately OutRun2SP DX was hampered by a number of issues.  These include dead screen, flickering screen and steering pulling to the right, leaving just one car working correctly. 

Tomb Raider –Square Enix / Crystal Dynamics - 2018

It was the first time I had seen this game.  Admittedly I’m not the biggest fan of Tomb Raider.  I had the original game on the Sega Saturn and never managed to get out of the first room.  However it was great to see a new arcade shooter.

The large screen size and four player option is pretty cool.   The guns are reloaded by pulling back the top slide, rather than the usual ‘shoot outside the screen’ mechanic. 

The first level features wolves attacking you, and the second level introduces human adversaries.  Unfortunately enemies occasionally proved difficult to see, with me not noticing some until after I’d been shot at.  Also the enemy animation was a bit poor, and the game felt a little uninspired.  It’s definitely not up to Namco or Sega standards, but we still enjoyed a couple of credits.

Some more pics of the Walton pier arcade.

A small graveyard section tucked away in a corner. 

There were no videogames, but I did spy a Pac-Man Ball pusher.

It’s a shame some of the older titles have gone.  However there are still some decent video games, and with the fairground and beach (tide permitting) it’s a nice way to spend a summers day.  Here’s hoping the OutRun2SP SDX is repaired soon!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Southend-on-Sea - 2018 Update


The Happidrome has an awesome selection of video games, including some real classics as well as some more modern titles.  The machines are well maintained and in excellent condition, and there is now a dedicated retro arcade section. 

Here is a short walk round video of the retro section.

Metal Hawk – Namco – 1988
Metal Hawk is a top-down, multi-directional shooter and the player has control of the altitude of the helicopter.  The game runs on Namco System 2 hardware. 

It has become almost a rite of passage for some to visit Southend just to play this awesome game.  I’ve only ever seen one other and that was in Mikado game centre, Takadanobaba, Japan.  It’s a real treat to see one of these machines in an arcade in such nice condition.  Here are some more pics of the cab.

Shinobi – Sega -1987
Well it has been many years since I’ve played this in a seaside town arcade!  One of my all time favourites, the game played well and the sound was cranked up nice and loud.  A timeless classic!

Landing High Japan – Taito -1999

Pilot a commercial airliner in this arcade flight simulator, taking off from and landing in London Southend Airport several Japanese airports.  Another extremely rare title and in fantastic condition as well.

Some nice pinball tables.  And another excuse to post a pic of Metal Hawk!

There are also some nice games in the main arcade area.

Daytona 2: Power Edition – Sega AM2 – 1998

Daytona 2 is becoming quite scarce these days and remaining ones still on site are usually beat-up.  However this one is in phenomenal condition! 

Pink fluorescent tubes were originally used inside the topper and look especially awesome!

The game played well and the monitors looked great, really showing off the fantastic Model 3 powered graphics.

The side plastics and art look like new!

Power Edition is an updated version released a few months after Battle on the Edge.  Changes include the following:
-The beginner course dome and natural scenery has been removed and has a closer look and feel to the original  Daytona USA beginner course.  The course layout remains the same.
-The “Challenge” course option is a new addition and combines the three courses.
-The handling physics are slightly revamped.
-The beginner’s car livery is altered.
-The Hornet Classic car, the player car from Daytona USA has been added, albeit with an altered design.
-The AI of your rivals is more aggressive and one corner in the advanced course has been altered to balance out the difficulty.

Some more pics of the arcade.

I also had a wander down the seafront and checked out the other arcades.  Here are some pics.

Go!! Crazy Climber – IGS – 2009

It’s always great to stumble upon a new arcade you’ve never heard of, particularly when it’s a reimagining of an old classic. 

Players must avoid the obstacles, which include staging and King Kong (or is it Donkey Kong!?) and climb to the top of the building.  The climbing action is initiated by spinning the paddle, and there are buttons for left and right movement.  The game is fun and something a bit different, although my Mrs did complain about breaking a nail!

We gonna rock down to…

We also made a trip just down the road from Southend to Canvey Island, a reclaimed island in the Thames estuary.  There is a small theme park, Leisure Island and some amusement arcades along the seafront.

This Daytona USA twin was in nice condition and played really well.

It was very ‘lucky’ to see this in the ‘wild’. (Sorry!)

I enjoyed a couple of credits on this cool Fish Tales pinball machine.

For some reason I had a hankering for fish n chips afterwards.

We really enjoyed Southend.  It’s been almost four years since our last visit, way too long!  Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Astro City arcade, it appears that they now cater mostly for kid’s parties and private functions, and are only open to the general public on Friday nights.  There did seem to be less video games along the seafront this time round, but there are still some decent games and the Happidrome is fantastic.  In addition to the awesome games, the arcade is very family friendly, with one attendant even helping my daughter win prizes on the two pence pushers.