Thursday, 29 November 2018

PLAY Expo Blackpool 2018 Retro Special

PLAY Expo Blackpool Retro Special was held at the Norbreck Castle Hotel on the 27th and 28th October 2018. 

Here is a bit about the event and my gaming highlights.

There was a fantastic selection of titles this year, and as usual I spent most of my time in this section.

RoboCop – Data East - 1988

A childhood arcade favourite and it’s just as awesome today.  Back in the day I played it on generic Jamma cabinets, and it’s the first time I’ve seen the US dedicated cab.  The curved marquee looks awesome.

Bump ‘n’ Jump – Data East – 1982

Bump into enemy vehicles and jump over obstacles such as large puddles to get to the end of each level.  A fun little game and one you don’t see very often.

Circus Charlie – Konami 1984

Have you ever fancied riding on a lion and jumping through flaming rings?  Or how about walking along a tightrope and jumping over monkeys?  Then this is the game for you!  A fantastic game, and the cabinet artwork is superb.

Ken Sei Mogura – Capcom / Sigma / Togo - 1994

An extremely rare machine and an interesting curiosity, this was my personal highlight of the show. 

Ken Sei Mogura is basically a Street Fighter II themed Whack-a-Mole.  As players whack the mini M. Bison heads, the action is played out on screen.  Here is a video of the game in action.

There is an interesting story behind this machine.  Two of these were found at the then closed Dreamland amusement park in Margate.  The park had fallen into disrepair, and both machines had been vandalised to gain entry to their con boxes.  Using parts from both units, a fully working machine was assembled. 

The full story can be found here:

By the sound of it, the machines came close to ending up on the scrap heap and being lost in time.  It’s awesome that a working machine was salvaged and is back out there being enjoyed by the people at Play.  Although my six year old daughter did sustain a minor gaming injury when she accidently bashed her finger with the mallet whilst battling the mini M. Bisons’!

Double Dragon – Technōs Japan – 1987

An all time classic on the cabs I remember playing it on.

Speed Buggy – Tatsumi / Data East – 1985

Otherwise known as Buggy Boy!  I don’t recall seeing this in the arcades back in the day, but I played it to death on my Amstrad CPC 464.  The game is extremely fun, and I love the cell shaded graphics style.

Bosconian – Namco - 1981

It was the first time I’ve played this awesome multi-directional scrolling shooter.  The player must shoot down the space stations in each stage, whilst avoiding enemies, missiles, asteroids and mines.  The ship fires from both the front and behind, and it’s one of the first video games to feature diagonal directions and a radar.  The game was great fun and plays really well.

Arguably three of Sega’s most iconic arcade games.

The show had fantastic Atari and Nintendo line ups.

My daughter enjoying a game of Burger Time.  It’s currently her second favourite arcade game after Pac-Land.

There was a large console section at the show, with some rare and obscure machines for people to enjoy.

The day went so quickly, and I didn’t get to spend much time with the consoles.  My time was divided between the arcade section, looking after my wife and children, and a brief pit stop for some toasties in the hotel lobby.

I did however find time to have some credits on the pinball tables.  There was a fantastic selection featuring pinball tables through the ages.  I particularly enjoyed playing The Getaway, Tron Legacy and RoboCop.

Now this was pretty cool!  This one-of a kind Adams Family Challenge Chair combines The Adams Family pinball machine with an old “Sparky” electric chair. 

The player grips the handles and controls the flippers using push buttons, and during the game the player is ‘shocked’.  This is an illusion created by vibrating motors inside the handles, which oscillate at ever-increasing speeds.  There is also an extra vibro motor under the seat as well as a smoke generator.  I braved the chair myself and it was good fun, and the perfect game for Halloween!

More info can be found here:

Here are some more pics of the show.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Arcade Operator Warehouse Mini Raid - Part 2

Well I wasn’t expecting this Raid to have a Part 2!  I recently went back to see the Op with the intention of grabbing a few more bits.  On arrival he showed me a big box of PCB’s, which he had found a few days previous.  This was totally unexpected and an awesome surprise! 

The Op had mentioned that there was another box of boards on my last visit, but we couldn’t find them.  There is a bit of a story behind these boards.  He once had a row of Electrocoin Goliath cabs in a sports hall, and the boards are all out of those cabs.  Apparently they had table tennis in the sports hall.  The balls kept getting lost behind the cabs and so the cabs had to go!

Here is the list of titles.

1. Ghosts ‘n Goblins – Capcom - 1985
2. Legend of Hero Tonma (with original license seal) – Irem - 1989
3. Major Title 2: Tournament Leader (with original license seal) – Irem - 1992
4. Mr. Do! – Universal - 1982
5. Street Fighter II' Champion Edition MSTREET-6 Bootleg
6. Street Smart – SNK - 1989
7. Street Smart Bootleg

Quite a cool little selection, I’m especially pleased with Legend of Hero Tonma, a side scrolling platform game I’m looking forward to playing.

I remember playing Street Smart back in the day and quite liking it, it’s definitely a guilty pleasure!

There was also a Konami Viper board marked as faulty.  I’m not sure what the game is, but it could be Silent Scope as there were a few of the sniper rifles from the arcade machine in the store room.

I had another rummage, and in addition to the boards I picked up two Sega cages, which I think are Sega Rally and Virtua Cop, and a crossbow.  Yes that’s right, a crossbow!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Lunapark Reflex – Ostend, Belgium

During a recent port stop in Ostend, the ship I was working on had a breakdown, and I took the opportunity to checkout Lunapark Reflex arcade.

The arcade has an awesome selection of modern arcade games, well maintained and in excellent condition.  I liked how the majority of videogames are in one area, separate from the pushers and redemption machines, giving a proper arcade feel.  This was further enhanced by cool lighting, which really showed off the machines.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Raw Thrills – 2018

I’ve been really looking forward to playing this!  I have fond memories of playing Konami’s Turtles arcade games back in the day, and it’s awesome to see Raw Thrills revive a genre which has been dormant in the arcades for decades.  The cabinet looks fantastic, and the game plays really well.  Best of all you can throw foot soldiers out towards the screen just like you could in Turtles in Time.  Hopefully we will start seeing it in UK arcades soon!

Hummer DX – Sega – 2009

Another nice surprise!  Running on Sega Lindbergh hardware, Hummer DX is an awesome motion based, off road racing game which is pretty uncommon.  In fact I’ve never seen one in the UK, and the last time I played one was in Japan back in 2011. 

The game features a cooperative play mode allowing two players to take turns driving with their own set of controls, similar to OutRun2SP DX.

I’ve always found it slightly odd how the front of the Hummer is at the back of the cab.

The arcade also had Ghost Squad, Grid, OutRun2 and Sega Rally 2 DX in the Sega lineup.

It’s always great to play some OutRun when working away from home!

The arcade also had an impressive selection of pinball tables.

I enjoyed a few credits on the new Star Wars table, very cool!

Here are some more pics of the arcade.

A video of Hummer and the arcade.