Archive | August, 2013

Round 1 Continues To Expand – Plans For A Northern California Location?

round1

 

Malibu Grand Prix in Redwood City may be closing its doors for good, but in Southern California, the Family Entertainment Center continues to thrive.  Round 1 offers their guests a selection of awesomeness that includes bowling, pool tables, air hockey games, redemption prizes and of course arcade games.  They have restaurants in all of their locations and use the games as a lure to attract hungry diners.  Like the barcades that have sprung up over the last decade, Round 1 is using the lure of the games to drive higher margin opportunities.

They set up their locations in malls where rent may be a little more expensive, but they can help capture more foot traffic.  By making it easy for people to visit them, it ensure that they can serve the most guests.  They have a huge selection of games, including a lot of recent ones.

After successfully opening up locations in Puente Hills & Moreno Valley, they’ve now expanded to Lakewood California.  Phil Arrington with ArcadeHeroes.com was able to visit their new location and published a great review on it.

“Round1 went all out of this location and trying to grab whatever crowd that’s still going to “KDB” (Kitchen, Den Bar a.k.a. the former Gameworks) and “Regency Arcade”. For one, there are so many UFO catchers in this place. They flooded this location with them. There are so many redemption games, some I haven’t seen like the new PacMan Ticket Mania from Raw Thrills. What surprised me is how Dragon Punch and King of the Hammer is missing from this location.
Their mix combines the old with the new. How many arcades still have a Final Fight? A Mark of the Wolf that’s not in a bootleg 256 games in 1 board? A Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter that’s not in a laundry Mat? And right next to them is a TTT2: Unlimited (Tekken Tag Tournment 2), Gundam and Super Street Fighter 4 2012? Certainly not many in So Cal these days.”

It sure sounds like an interesting mix of games.  On the downside, Arrington says that the odor from the Cinnabon location in the mall permeates the location, the games are set to $1.00 per play and that there are a lot of teenagers that hang out there, so older patrons may still prefer the barcade experience.

Overall it sounds like a pretty sweet setup and with this being their 3rd entertainment center that they’ve opened, it sounds like they have a winning combination when it comes to their business plan.   The most interesting part of the entire article actually came from an Arcade Heroes commenter.  When someone mentioned they couldn’t wait for them to expand to Northern California, a commentor named Kiyobi wrote “word on the street is that R1 has plans to expand into Norcal in 2014.”

Since anyone can comment, we have to treat it like a rumor right now, but I’ve found that more often then not, these sorts of tidbits tend to be accurate.  Here’s hoping that Kiyobi is right, so that All You Can Arcade will get to do a review of their next location.

We’re Looking For A Few Good Arcade Repair Technicians

tempest side

Does working on arcade games sound like more fun than your current day to day rut?  Do you have a passion for saving games from oddball conversions and neglect over time?  Want to join a fast growing company and help to make arcade history?  Do you have crazy skills with the soldering iron and are able to troubleshoot PCBs and chassis blindfolded?  If so, we want to talk to you!

All You Can Arcade would like to announce that we are currently hiring qualified arcade repair technicians at our workshop in Antioch CA.  Hours are flexible and can be full or part time depending on your needs.  We require at least 3 – 5 years experience as a dedicated hobbyist or having fixed arcade games as a full time job.  Bonus points, if you have experience running your own route or working on Pins.    Salary dependent on experience.  If you are interested in joining our company, please contact seth@allyoucanarcade.com with your resume, arcade forum usernames, photos of rescues you’ve done or anything else that you feel is relevant to your qualifications.

Friday Funday: Name That Tune Edition

mystery game

This week’s Friday Funday was inspired by Geekwire.  Last week they asked their readers to see if they recognized a clip from a classic arcade game and to send in their guesses.  It took me about a half a dozen wrong guesses checking YouTube, before I figured it out.  Here’s the clip if you want to play at home.

Since we think its such a cool idea, we’re going to play our own version too.  We’re going to start off with just a small taste from a game that we love and will release longer and longer clips until someone guesses which arcade game it is or until we hit Friday afternoon.

Clue #1

8 Bit Characters Ported Into Real Life

real life mario kart

Whether it’s movies like Wreck it Ralph or a child’s overactive imagination, I think we’ve all played an arcade game or two where you wonder what it would be like to actually get sucked into the game or where the characters get sucked into your real life.  Victor Sauron has taken this concept to a new level with a gallery of photos where he’s combined photos that he’s taken on his journeys with characters that he’s found in some of the classic arcade games.

You should make sure to check the entire gallery out, but a few that really stood out were his mashup of Super Mario Brother’s blowing up a real life castle, the Super Mario Brother’s 3 scene in a real ocean, and Sonic the Hedgehog riding a real life roller coaster. d While the concept may be simple, the results are pretty entertaining.  What games would you like to see collide with real life?

h/t Brian.Carnell.com

Thank You For Supporting The Arcade Industry

All You Can Box Truck

When we started All You Can Arcade, it was a labor of love.  More than a few told us we were crazy, but there were also many who told us they couldn’t wait to play our games.  The response to our launch has been phenomenal and while we always knew that our service would be something that people would love, we’ve been blown away by the response to date.  Thank you to everyone who has tried out our service so far, it really does mean a lot to know that others are enjoying and sharing our games.  Thank you also to all of our new visitors trying to access the site.  We apologize for it being down, it good to have friends, even when they smother you 😉  We hope that you’ll check back in a day or two once our traffic dies down and we can get more servers online.   More than anything, thank you to everyone for helping to save the games.  We want to see arcade games preserved throughout history and your response gives us all the motivation in the world to keep on restoring them back into their original conditions.  If you rent them, we’ll fix them.  If you have any questions, encouragement or special requests, feel free to leave them in the comments and we’ll be happy to respond.  Thanks again for supporting the arcade industry and for helping to usher in another golden age of gaming.

Indies Strike Back

rise of the indies

One of the more exciting trends that has developed in the last 5 years is the adoption of crowd funding for niche programming.  Between the costs of production declining, the increasing in the number of places where you can broadcast and access to capital to those who have proven their worth to a wider community, we are seeing an explosion in the diversity of content that is being produced both on film, but also in the video game realm.  It used to be that a talented programmer’s only choice for distribution was to partner with the larger distributors, but many are now inventing games that they own and are finding success doing so.

In an effort to document this phenomenon, Studio Bento took to Kickstarter in order to fund Game Loading, Rise of the Indies, a documentary on indie game developers.  With less than 3 days to spare, they hit their goal of $50,000 thanks to the support of over 1,000 different individuals.  With the average donation being slightly over $50 a piece, it once again proves that it doesn’t take millions in order to fund creative endeavors that you might be interested in.  We can’t wait for the documentary to come out, we just hope in the ending, they leave room for the sequel 🙂

You Don’t Need A Gunship? How Could Anybody Ever NOT need A Gunship?

Gunboat

No Quarter Podcast Reviews Mad Planet

Mad Planets

We love talking classic gaming with other collectors and operators, so we’re always looking for good arcade related podcasts to tune into.  No Quarter has been publishing a weekly show for almost a year now and they always have good content for arcade fans.  On their latest Podcast, they do a review of the Mad Planet arcade game.

Like the smash hit Tron, Mad Planets uses a combination of a flight stick and a spinner control, in order to play the game.  This makes playing it on a classic arcade cabinet, a very different experience compared to consoles or MAMEs.  While they were known more for their Pinball games, than arcade games, Gottlieb did create a few videogames including Qbert and the Mad Planets game.  YouTube has footage of the game play online.

On the podcast, NoQuarter discusses some of the challenges in learning the game.  It took them a while to figure out that they had to pick off moons before they could blow up the planets and figuring out how to use the spinner control took a couple of extra lives.  More often than not, arcade operators would make their most money by teaching someone how to play the game.  Mad Planets was no exception.  As players learned the rules, it would cost them quarters, but eventually they could master the game.  Once a game wasn’t earning as many quarters, operators would swap them from one location to another, so that they could teach a new audience the rules of the game.  This is why your favorite games would disappear as soon as you were starting to get good at them.  By analyzing the payout and auditing systems on the game, an operator was able to maximize what they could make on the game.  This is part of where having it in free play can improve the experience of a game.

Some interesting things that I learned during the podcast include the fact that the Mad Planets was one of the first games to use intel chips in them.  They only made 1,400 copies of the game, but since it wasn’t a big seller, many of these copies are believed to have been destroyed.  They didn’t make a cocktail for the game, but the cabinet was the same design as Qbert.

Friday Fun – Guess Our Latest Acquisition

mystery game

After running out of space, we were forced to take a break from buying new games, but after the response to our launch, we’re aggressively buying games again.  The random trips for games in one of the more entertaining things that we get to do.  On any given day, you never know where you may have to travel too, but you have to be quick enough, you can get them.  Today, my co-founder Tim left Antioch at 3:30 in the morning, in order to scoop up our latest cheap game.  While he’s on a road trip beefing up our supply, I thought we’d use the game as our subject for this week’s Friday Fun guessing contest.  Last week, it only took two photos before someone figured out that it was a Smash TV that we had restored.  This week, you’ll have to see how you do without photo hints.  Every hour, I’ll leave a hint of what game he’s going after and you see if you can guess the title, in the comments.  Once someone guesses the game or Tim gets back with it, we’ll update the blog post with the answer.

Hint #1 – The game is a sequel of an earlier hit

Hint #2 – While commonplace today, this game was one of the first to include 7-11 advertisements in the game play

Hint #3 – Weighing in at over 250 lbs. this is one of our heavier games to move

Hint #4 – The game was made by Atari

Hint #5 – It’s a car racing title

Hint #6 – It arrived and is sitting in the back of our truck 🙂

PP

Lead Singer Of The Band Velvet Receives Award From The International Arcade Hall of Fame

“It all started innocently enough”

These are words that every arcade collector can identify with.  It starts with that first game, usually you either got it for free or you paid way too much, but once you start tinkering, it turns into an obsession that can literally take over every square inch of your life.  For the last 15 years, Jim Brewer has been making his living working for the city during the day and playing rock n’ roll by night, but in his free time he restores arcade and pinball games that need rescuing.  Like many in the hobby, Brewer got his start almost by accident

“It started from when I was just driving down the road and a laundromat over in Hyattsville was throwing out an old Ms. Pac-Man machine that was beat up and had roaches inside of it,” Brewer said. “I was with my brother-in-law in his pickup truck. I asked him to go back because for some reason I thought I could bring it home. I had some room in my garage to store it for a while and maybe see if I can get it working. I fiddled around with it that night when I got it home and somehow magically got it working. That just kind of started a bug for me. I started looking on Craigslist and things like that finding broken games for cheap, restoring them and going from there.”

That magic soon spread and the next thing he knew Brewer was traveling further and further to find games to fix up.  After amassing an impressive collection, Brewer has already started running out of room and his games, but can’t resist the lure of cheap games that pop up on Craigslist.

“Almost every time I go out to pick up another machine, going on a two- to three-hour road trip, I’m out on the road thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing bringing home another machine? I think this will be the last one. It’s a really good machine, I’ll fix this one up, this is the one I want to keep and it should be good,’” Brewer said. “It always turns out that a week later, I’ll find a good deal on Craigslist or someone will give me a call who has a friend of a friend who happens to have this game or that game. I’ll think, ‘Oh, that was a great classic … I’ll just squeeze one more in and make a little room.’

We can definitely relate, before we launched All You Can Arcade, storing all of our games was a major headache.  Now that they are in our customer’s living rooms instead of ours, we’re able to start acquiring games again.  One of the biggest reasons why collectors and operators are listing their games on our website, is to eliminate the issues associated with storing that many games.

As a way of giving back to the community, Brewer donated a Space Invaders to the International Arcade Hall of Fame and to his surprise they are giving him an award recognizing his contribution to the industry.  Whether you’re a professional operator, a casual collector or even a rock and roll star, all it takes is a passing interest to ignite the passion that arcade games can have.  We know that there are 1000’s of other people just like Brewer who are constantly looking for games to restore, so it’s good to see the accidental collector recognized for the role they play in saving the games.

You can find footage of his band playing at the Red Palace on YouTube.