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Party Like It’s 1989

valentinesmspacman

One of the perks of running an arcade company is that we get invited to a lot of parties. Whether you’re having a wedding or celebrating a birthday, arcade games are a good way to entertain large number of guests.

Whenever we deliver games to an event, i always like to stick close so that i can see who plays the games and which ones are their favorites. Considering how many games that we find, that have been all, but abandoned, it warms my heart to see people play them, after we finish restoring them.

Sometimes it warms my heart more than others. Recently, we provided 10 arcade games for a local bar mitvah. Before the event, i talked with the young lad celebrating his journey into manhood, and he absolutely loved arcade games.

Like most 13 year olds, I could tell he was a bit shy. At some point during our conversation, a young lady arrived and things got really awkward. You could just tell that he really liked her, but he couldn’t get much out except a stutter. She liked him too, but he was a bit clueless.

Once the event started, the parents put on the music, but none of the kids were dancing. A few of the moms and dads started things off, but this made the kids even less motivated to cut a rug. I dont know if you’ve ever been to a Jr. High dance, but literally all of the girls were on one side and the boys were on another. Of course the arcade was packed, so after a while a group of girls went in there and started playing games with the guys.

IN lesss than 15 minutes they werent gaming, they were more or less talking around the games. In a half hour, the kids were comfortable enough that they all started dancing and wouldn’t you know it, if our client wasn`t the one leading the charge.

I know that some people do really well in social situations, but a big chunk of people need to warm up before they can start talking to a stranger. Whether youre two co-workers bonding over who can beat who at Street Fighter or a love connection where you dont need a cheesy pickup line, arcade games are a great way to bring people together.

While I like to see our games played, I was happy to see them not being played at that moment. That kid will remember that night forever, there is always time for arcade games later on.

We can’t guarantee that you’ll meet the love of your life the next time you drop a quarter in a game, but we have met enough married couples who met playing classic arcade games, to know that this effect is real.

Ask AYCA – Was Street Fighter 2 or Mortal Kombat A Better Game?

Mortal Kombat

Today, we’ve decided to pit two classic arcade fighting games together, in order to determine which was the better game. In one corner we have Mortal Kombat. A game so shocking at the time of it’s release that an entire country banned it. In the other corner Street Fighter 2. Credited with saving the arcade industry from a long slump, it’s one of the best selling fighters at all time.

When it comes to Mortal Kombat, they get the first knock out with the use of fatalities. Watching your opponent literally get their heart ripped out is a way more satisfying finish. Street Fighter 2 on the other hand was easier to master and being able to play good at any game will make it more enjoyable. SF2 also had the advantage of one more button, so they could squeeze in a few combos. Mortal Kombat did have a dedicated block button which made it a bit easier to counter your opponents attacks. Because the MK combos were harder to pull off, it left the game more competitive because opponents couldn’t combo spam you to death. The artwork on Mortal Kombat was a lot more intense then what SF2 came out with, but in the end Street Fighter 2 ends up being more replayable and that alone is enough to win the contest. While both games are sure to leave you entertained, in a head to head match up, we have to call SF2 as the winner. Agree or disagree? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below

10 Basic Tools Every Arcade Operator Should Own

Tool Chest

We love buying tools as much as we like buying arcade games, but its easy to over do it, especially when you’re first starting out in the arcade business. To help out any operators who are just starting (or those who are playing along at home), we’ve compiled a list of the top ten tools that we use most, when fixing up our broken arcade games.

Multimeter – At the top if the list is the digital multimeter. You don’t need an expensive one, but it is worth paying more if you plan on using it every day. You’ll need this to do everything from diagnosing monitor repairs to troubleshooting bad connections.

Security bit set – If I had a quarter for every game that we’ve fixed because of a security screw issue, we’d have at least a couple of bucks saved up by now. Typically what happens is that something goes wrong with the controls and the home user cant get into the game. Once you unscrew the control panel, you can clean and repair the game and presto you have an easy fix.

1/4″ Nut driver – We use a nut driver so often, I’ve thought about carrying one on a tool belt. Quarter inch hex nuts are used to hold all kinds of pieces together, most notable it attaches the monitor’s chassis to it’s from. This one comes in so handy we have 3 of them.

Soldering Iron – You won’t be able to do any component level repairs without a good soldering (and desoldering) iron. Whether you need to change bad capacitors or fix a quick hack that a former operator did to a game, you won’t get very far without one.

Heat Shrink – We use heat shrink like its going extinct and we’re leading the charge. Sure you can wire nut, two wires together, but good luck noticing it when it falls apart while you move it and then you’ve got a broken game to troubleshoot. Just about every broken game we restore needs some wiring work done to it.

Wire Crimpers – Whether you need to repin a connection or you want to put quick disconnects on a signal wire, you’re going to need a good set of crushers. Don’t get the flimsy kind or else you’ll regret it. Look for something beefy and durable.

Power Drill – When we first started, we used to spend an hour on each game trying to pick the old locks so we could get into them. Now we hook up the power drill and drill though it in a minute. The power drill is also useful for working with the acrylic that we use for the control panels on games.

Paint Sprayer – I’d estimate that about half of our games need to be repainted before they are ready to go out. You can use rollers, but it looks a lot nicer if you use a sprayer with an oil based paint.

Utility Knife – Between installing t-molding to trimming artwork, this is another tool we use everyday. Get extra blades, they work much better when they are sharp.

Wire Brush – We keep a good stiff wire brush on hand for when we need to clean rusty chips. A good scrubbing can solve half of your pcb problems.

A Cosmic Bomb

Cosmic Avenger (4 of 1)

When Cosmic Avengers was first released in the arcades, it absolutely bombed. Universal was the new kid on the block and outside of their fantastic Mr. DO trilogy, they never really found large scale commercial success when it came to arcade games. If the story ended there, the game would be an oddity relegated to private collection’s, but where Universal found a lot of success was when they ported the game to the ColecoVision console.

The ColecoVision was a home console that was released in 1982. Despite its introduction during a crash in the arcade market, they still managed to sell 2 million units. While there were approximately 150 titles released for it, Universal was able to snag two spots on the 12 in 1 cartridge, that shipped with the console. As a result of the exposure Cosmic Avengers and Lady Bug (another bomb) became beloved and highly sought out by the public, even to this day.

In Local News . . . July 3rd, 2016 Edition

games

Here is a list of notable arcade stories that showed up in local press coverage over the last week.

-Lucky Strikes Entertainment announces new arcade pub in Meadowlands NJ
-Michigan Pinball Expo announces $25K worth of tournament prizes at this year’s conference
-Tapper’s Arcade bar receives a strong review from the Indianapolis Monthly
-After 3 years of paperwork, The Allentown city council finally approves city permit for a pinball museum.
-Geeksters Arcade offers unlimited free play for $5 an hour
-Gametime’s 120 game behemoth arcade and bowling alley receives a positive review from the Naples Herald

July Birthdays In The Arcade World

Donkey Kong

With so many notable games, it’s hard to keep track of when each one was released, but here is a list of games that we’ve been able to track down June release dates for. If you know of additional games, leave a comment below and we’ll update this post.

A big happy birthday to Donkey Kong. It was released in July 1982. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most iconic games every created. Originally it was named Jumpman and Nintendo released it as a kit to replace the poor selling 8 ball deluxe. Little did they know that it would go on to become one of the best selling arcade games.

On July 9th, 1982 Bally released Tron. The game featured four mini games that you had to play in order to advance through each level.

In July of 1980, Namco released a game called Puckman. Later they would change the name of the game to Pacman and the rest is history . . .

Wreck It Ralph Will Wreck It Again

SF Rush The Rock

Disney hit a grand slam with their Wreck It Ralph film and won over the hearts of a new generation of arcade fans in the process. Considering the level of success that they had with the film, it should be no surprise to learn that they have started production on a sequel. We’ll need to wait until March 2018 before we’ll be able to watch the sequel, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

In Wreck It Ralph 2, Ralph will be forced to make the transition from an arcade world into a more modern video game ecosystem. Considering the trouble that arcade operators began to have when the home consoles first started coming out, we’re predicting trouble as he tries to adapt to an increasingly and complex world. While we’re a little sad to hear that the films focus will now shift towards newer games, we think that the final message will be one that reminds the audience of how much fun the classics really are.

New Arcade Game Database Goes Live

the wave 2

Most arcade collectors discover early on that there is only so much space in life to accommodate a certain number of games. Considering that they’ve made over 5000 different arcade games, this makes owning every one a near impossible goal. What is an arcade collector to do? Collect digital games instead 🙂

Earlier this week a new database geared toward the arcade community was announced. On the site, you can post reviews on your favorite games, the artwork that went along with them and your feelings on the soundtrack. Not every game is listed each yet, but as the site gets more visitors, it should end up fully populated with reviews for every game. If you’d like to check out this latest arcade related website you can visit them at Arcadedatabase.com

Tetris The Movie Turns Into A Tetrilogy

Tetris

Admittedly, movies based on arcade games haven’t always been winners. For what it’s worth, games based on movies have probably been even worse if we’re being fair. Nonetheless, few things excite me more than being able to see arcade games inspire culture in this way. While we already knew that they were making a movie based on Tetris, a new interview with the producer of the films reveals that they are planning on making 3 of them. What the plot line for the series will be is anybody’s guess, but you have to imagine that it will include Russia in the film and the game’s premises on changing blocks (breaking encryption?) makes me think we’ll get a good high tech spy thriller. It will be fun to watch more details leak as the film gets closer to it’s release, I have a funny feeling that they’ll be playing this one close to the vest though, so it’s possible that you may not get too many juicy tidbits until the film debuts.

In Local News . . . Arcade Edition

Joust Cocktail

Here is a round up of some of the more notable stories about local arcades over the last week.

-Timeline Arcade was denied a permit for their BYOB business model
Flippers Family arcade to open in Cheyenne WY
BitBar arcade to open in Salem’s former jail
-Up Down arcade bar opens in Minneapolis
Tilt Classic Arcade to close after two years of operations