Arcade and Pinball at Play:Expo 2013

The UK’s biggest Retro Gaming event Play:Expo is rapidly approaching and with just a little over a month to go, lists  of some of attending arcade cabinets are starting to appear on various community forums.  Play:Expo are hoping to showcase over 100 cabs this year.

The guys at Jamma+ have posted this WIP list –

Bombjack Midi
Bubble Bobble cabaret
Capcom Tourney Cab SSF2 New Challengers
Century Star Fighter
Chase H.Q.
Cosmic Alien
Cosmic Guerilla
Crazy Taxi
Criminal Termination (Chase HQ Pt3)
Cruisin’ World
Daytona 2
Daytona USA
Dedicated Neo Geo
Dig Dug
Do! Run Run DK Repro Cab
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Jr.
Electrocoin ZX2000 Cockpit Konami GT
Final Lap 3
Ghouls n’ Ghosts Mini
Hyper Sports/Track And Field
Ice Cold Beer
Indy500 Twin
Juno First midi
Killer Instinct
Lethal Enforcers 2
Lordsvale Neo Geo MVS Cabaret
Midnight Resistance
Missile Command
Monkey Capsule Vendor
Monkey Mole Panic
Mortal Kombat II
Mr Do! Midi
Operation Thunderbolt
Operation Wolf
Operation Wolf 3
OutRun 2 SP Cockpit
Outrunners Twin Sitdown
Pac & Paint
Pac Man
Pacland Midi
Pacman midway
Parrot Capsule Vendor
Phoenix mini
Planet Harriers Cockpit
Playchoice 10
Punch Out
PuzzLoop 2
Ridge Racer
Royale cabinet with IGS PGM Knights Of Valour
Sega MegaTech
Sega Rally Twin Sitdown
Shadow Warriors Midi
Silent Scope
Silver Strike
Silverstrike Bowling
Space Firebird cocktail
Special Criminal Investegation
Spy Hunter
Star Wars Cockpit
Subelectro Scramble cabaret.
Sunset Riders
Supersonic Blastman
Taitel Track & Field
Tekken 2 midi
The Simpsons
Turbo Outrun
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Racing
Zeon Cab SF2 EX2

There’s a fair few of my favourites here  including the return of  those  Juno First & Phoenix midi cabs which I  spent so much time on them last year, Robotron of course and that awesome Missile Command cab which I haven’t played since it was on loan to RCM. Hopefully the Spy Hunter cab will be well enough to attend this year and I’m also hoping that it’s not a typo and that there’s actually a Star Wars Cockpit cab attending too.

Here’s a look back at the arcade cabs that appeared at last years event.

As a starved pinball fan, last years event was simply mind blowing and I got to play on some great tables. This year, main contributor Northern Light Pinball have stated they’ll be bringing with them an even bigger collection of machines than ever before!

Here’s a look back at last years collection.

Of course all this is just a section of Play@Expo you’ve still got the 100’s of classic consoles to play, browse the trade stores to hunt out that classic game you’re after or…well the modern gaming tournaments and Cosplay stuff doesn’t really interest me but it all adds the atmosphere of making of a great weekend.

Will you be attending?  Maybe I’ll see you there?





Catching up.

Phew, it’s been a hectic few weeks both at work and at home and now that the sun has finally got his best hat on (for a week 🙂 ) , a good portion of game time has been swapped for gardening time and man-cave swapped for greenhouse. One plant I’m growing for fun this year could be considered a game of sort as when fully ripe and touched in the wrong place, ‘exploding cucumbers’ quite literally explode….and quiet violently too as they throw out their seeds at speed. Missile Command in the greenhouse? What I’m hoping to do is capture some of them on my camera as it has a video mode at super slo-mo 1000 frames per second.

Plans for this (bank) holiday weekend was to spend a little time putting the the final touches together on my MAME arcade cabinet but I’ve had delay this as more importantly, we’ve been out looking for a new car (the last becoming very unreliable and mechanic bills rocketing).



I take delivery of one next week which just in the nick of time really, as I was heading out next weekend for a spot of camping and hiking in Wales and then the weekend afterwards back out west to the the ultra geek-fest retro gaming event of the year Retro Revival. Quite a few friends have been busy these past few months and I think the consensus is, that everyone is looking forward to a huge slice of downtime at Revival with plenty laughs and massive intake of retro gaming.

The lists of attending pinball tables and arcade machines keep growing as do some items of note that I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing before. The list of arcade machines also includes seven colourful Zaccaria cabinets including a Phoenix cab just like my own – accept this one is fully restored. I’m also looking forward to checking out event co-creator Chris’s own Zac cabs including his highly impressive Super Cobra cab like this one.

Super Cobra


Game time of late has been a little light and have a stack of titles I want to get through including all of the entries and winners for this years C64 Seuck Compo (i did try the twin stick Spy Rider a few weeks ago which was superb), a couple of Atari 2600, I picked up on eBay as well as thirty Sega MS carts I managed to bag for just £10. Fez came out for PC the other day which is also on the list as well as Sturmwind although this hasn’t arrived yet.

I have, however been looking at early video games from Capsule Computers after reading an article charting the rise of some of the biggest video game producers and am finding there first video game Vulgus to be quiet addictive despite being a little bland.

Any-ho, that me done. I hope, you’ve been getting in more retro gaming than I have and if you happened to be popping a long to Revival, maybe I’ll bump into you over in the Retro Computer Museum area?


Pinball Arcade gets iCade and 8-Bitty controller support.

It’s looks like after many requests for iCade controller support by the fans of the Pinball Arcade iOS app, last nights update includes this much welcome addition.

You’ll need to activate iCade support first, which is lurking at the bottom of the main menu options screen….it took me a while to find it!


With that done, you can now navigate the menus etc with your iCade.

The button mapping is pretty good too, the flippers are spaced on the far left and right of the iCade buttons (on mine it’s the bottom white and bottom red button) with tilt and extra controls using the middle four buttons. For those tables with a classic plunger, pulling down on the joystick will launch the ball.


And I’m please to find that the iCade support also extends to the 8-Bitty controller too.

Sadly the buttons are a little mixed up as the flipper buttons use the top left shoulder button and one of the standard red fire buttons (bottom left). It’s a shame that both top shoulder buttons couldn’t be used although after a while you do get used to them. I suppose there’s always Blutrol if you want to customise yourself?


I’ve not tried the iCade Jnr on my iPhone yet but I’d be pretty confident in guessing that it’ll work too.

The Internet is already displaying fan made iCade/pinball modifications using the Blutrol app, but having native iCade support means that you can mod away without having to Jailbreak your device.

I don’t think I’m wanting to drill into my own iCade just yet though but an idea is forming for my own pinball mod.

And finally, this latest app update also brings another classic 80’s table – Space Shuttle (Williams) with promise of more vintage tables to follow. My vote is on Meteor please.

Happy gaming.

Nintendo ‘Pinball’ fans

Following on from my brief look at Pinball on the NES, I came across these fun, fan based images I wanted to share.

Here’s artist Jordan Baugher recreation of what Nintendo’s Pinball might have looked if created as a proper pinball table.


This next image is rather cool and appears to a recreation of Nintendo Pinball using Visual Pinball/PinMame.


Now that really would be cool to play around with, especially with descent pinball physics. Sadly I can find no working link to a download this table so maybe you’ll have better luck?

Want a new case for your loose NES Pinball cartridge? How about treating it to a funky archive box?


…or I guess, Photoshop and create your own 😉

Pinball – Nintendo NES


I’ve been playing quite a lot of modern digital Pinball just lately either via Visual Pinball/PinMame on my PC, or Pinball Arcade on my iPad (both Blackhole and Bride of Pinbot tables are getting plenty of game time this past week!) but I thought I’d go right back and take a look at a classic pinball cart for the NES.

Simply called ‘Pinball’, it’s one of those early NES 1983/5 launch titles that feature Nintendo’s signature pixel art covers on both the box and cartridge – although from the looks of it you’d probably be confused into thinking that this was some sort of Mario platformer or Breakout clone.


There is only one table in Pinball which is split into two sections and the screen flips between the two depending on where your ball is. Both sections have flippers but loosing the ball in the top half of the table means that it travels down to the bottom half of the table rather than being lost. Obviously, loosing the ball in the bottom half is not good so keep those flipper fingers poised.

You control the left flipper with the d-pad and the right flipper with button A. You’d think that this layout might sound a bit weird but it works really well having both flipper controls mapped to the outermost controls on the NES controller.

Here’s a look at the the top half of the table –


There’s plenty to aim for here and its fun to discover all of the bonuses as you play. For example, having the ball bounce repeatedly on the barrier above the three penguins will activate a temporary stop plug that will prevent the ball from being lost between the flippers.

For a top score, try to aim for the 1000 point lane at the very top of the table.

Here’s the lower half of the table.


Again, plenty to shoot for including the targets on the left that will open a portal on the right (giving access to the top table again), flipping over the five playing cards or access to the Mario bonus area by hitting the red target on the right.

Bonus stage.

Yup, Mario was bound to make an appearance somewhere as he always does in these early games. In Pinball, you move our favourite plumber left and right and bounce the ball off the girder he is carrying. Aim for the tiles at the top of the screen to free our heroine from Donkey Kong…Pauline. Once she’s free and drops down, aim to catch her on top of your girder (nice soft landing!) and guide her to the exit to receive a mega bonus.


Ball physics isn’t exactly realistic in Pinball and in mode ‘A’ (slow) the pinball moves almost as if it’s full of hot air than metal. I recommend game mode ‘B’ to speed it up a bit!

There’s also a 2-up mode as well, in the even you fancy a mini compo with a friend. My high score at the moment is 48,450.

Pinball looks kinda basic even for a game as old as this one, but its lone table is a rich with a variety of features and shooting bonuses that sets it apart from many others pinball games of the era. Today its a very enjoyable game of pinball and being an early title, a cart that surely must belong in your NES collection.