Sadly, classic arcade coin-op games are becoming even scarer in their natural habitat of arcade halls, bars and cafes in this country. I can’t remember the last classic game I saw outside of a Retro Computer/gaming event and although Mame and Jamma board collecting can recreate some of the magic, there’s nothing that can compare with standing next to rows and rows of arcade cabinets and hearing the roar of all those electronic sounds.
At some point I plan to head down south to the Arcade Barn (http://www.arcadebarn.co.uk/) but until then, will always be on the lookout for those hidden gems.
I was talking to a Facebook friend of mine the other day and he mentioned an old arcade out on the east coast that still had a few machines that where worth investigating. Having today off from work and with the weather looking like it’s going to be a glorious sunny day, I packed up my gear and headed out early.
I didn’t take long to find the arcade thanks to iPhone maps and a reference photo posted from my friend (I soo love modern technology!).
Hap(p)y Day’s Arcade – Chapel St. Leonards, Lincoln. (the missing ‘P’ had just been removed for replacement).
It doesn’t look much does it…well you’d be right, it was a bit run down and not a lot of modern games in there compared to the other arcades around….but for old school gamers, that is just perfect as these run down arcade often still hold some real gems.
Sadly not in it’s original cabinet, this was the first game that greeted me inside and just so happens to be one of my all time favorite – Sega’s Wonderboy (1986).
Damn shame that the colors were all washed out – Jon, if you’re reading this, fancy a trip with your jamma repair kit Even with the bizarre coloring it still played like a charm on the big 26″ crt.
Way too many many credits later, I took a walk to the other side of the arcade and nearly fell over myself when I saw what was tucked in the corner.
Starblade – Namco (1991)
I have it for the Sega CD, I have it for the Sony Playstation and Panasonic 3DO. I even play the original via Mjonir (see previous blog post – http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/retro-gaming-starblade-panasonic-3doarcade/ ) but nothing compares to sitting in the original cab, massive controller and roar of the sound effects.
The two Electrocoin Goliath cabinets both held a range of games from the golden age of video gaming including Donkey Kong, Pac Man, 1942, Scramble, Rally-X, Mr.Do, Galaxians, Pheonix, Galaga, Ms Pacman. Suffice to say, i spent a hellava long time on these two. The one on the right has a dodgy joystick though
Insert a credit and pick one of 36 vertical classic games.
The Goliath cabinets are really well made and size wise is much more suited to my height than my own cabinet back at home. I’m seriously thinking of tracking one of these down for myself.
Another generic Jamma cab, this time playing Cabal (1988). Not my favorite game (although, the ZX spectrum home port plays very well) it was certainly a worth a credit or five
Happy Day’s arcade offers a small slice of gaming from yesteryear and I’m sure i’ll be back for more.
Whilst I was at the coast, I thought I’d take a stroll along the sea front to find the old arcade that i used to frequent as a young lad. It’s here that I cut my teeth on many classics for the first time like Spy Hunter, Double Dragon, Rolling Thunder, Buggy Boy, Outrun, Super Sprint, Wonderboy, Final Fight…the list goes on.
Smiths’s Arcade – Winthorpe, Lincoln
From the outside, Smith’s arcade hasn’t changed a bit in the twenty odd years since coming here so as homage, have applied a ‘retro’ filter to the picture taken this morning (c/o ‘Camera+’ app for iPhone).
Sadly, inside was different story with all those classic games now long gone and replaced with rows upon rows of slots, interactive dance mats and crane grab machines.
I did spot a few old-ish friends here and there -
Ridge Racer 2 (Namco) with clutch pedal and manual gear shift.
Twin Sega Rally – sadly not working.
Noooooo, Frogger, what have they done to you!
Back at Happys Day’s for one last fix before heading home.