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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Pins and Arcades

Hello we are still coughing up our brains, this chest infection is tenacious and yes we are on antibiotics for our sins, 4 pills a day, you can read up on what I'm on here for the terminally curious.  Oh and reading its list of stuff to cure, its also used in clearing up Syphillis.

Special When Lit.

For some reason we now get PBS in the UK, (why its only Americas answer to BBC2 / 4 stuff we already have).  However looking at this we do appreciate a decent channel for documentaries, Discovery and its many offspring don't really cut it now, maybe they should go back to showing Beyond 2000, instead of infesting a good documentary with awkward cut scenes.  Oh and Neo Geo-graphic is no better with its infinite shows about Jesus.  Apparently Jesus was a Raisin and that is that.

Anyway PBS not only get away with it by being Americas BBC4, but by showing a show on Bonfire night of all things a documentary about Pinball.  You wouldn't think it fun but the assorted collectors, players and designers anectdotes and recollections made the show.  I never knew that most of the first print run of pinball cabs were shipped to Europe due to sheer demand.  I only remember seeing one original cab and I think it was a Monte Carlo in a bar in Cyprus of all places, so can well imagine that.  They interviewed a total pinball nut, whose house was totally dedicated to pinball, he looked like a geek version of Chong but was totally awesome.

It was'nt all pinfans, they took a good look round Sterns factory in Chicago (home of Pinball and house music) where they were hand assembling Pirates of the Caribbean tables and possibly the one pin that got me more into pinball in a big way.   (Not so much that I'll have a real cab, but if I see a real life cab abroad or home I'll punt cash into it.)  Their boss is pretty much what I expected a real boss to be and seems a joy to work for.

A few of the old designers looked like they were originally mob related including one that looked just like a Vic Reeves drawing of a gangster. They were bemoaning Pinballs demise in relation to the rise of the arcade game.
Apposite really as both are doomed now, to big ride style games and the occasional cab harking back to the good old days.  Pinball and the arcades are doomed, we've blogged before on losing the Troc and Various arcade games down at the Leisure Casino or Casino Leisure.  To be honest we've lost an awful lot of places and not just pinball which was tied into pub culture here, (my first go was some dudes replay from the Sublime Addams Family pinball in a pub about 18 years back).

When I think of the arcades in and around Woolwich, Herbert road had a few for us Poly boys out on lunch (bastard hard to do now they've shut the old school and moved to Thamesmead about 2 miles away). For lower school kids (our school was split into two sites) there was an excellent place opposite the Waterfront that had excellent stuff.  A fishing Pinball and a sit down Chase HQ greeted you.  When you got inside there was Megablast, a Galaxy force cab and a Buggy Boy, further down was the main draw before Streetfighter 2 came on the scene,  Golden Axe and yes people really used to talk about playing on it before Streetfighter crushed all before it.  They had a Vimana and an Exvania cab too but no one ever talked about playing those.
 Later when we used the Waterfront leisure centre for games, me and a mate used to pony up lunch money to play King Of Dragons.  Like I said it was halcyon days and if you wished to emulate then MAME, RAINE, or FBA would be an excellent starting place if only to see what we have lost.  Pinball is well supplied in Visual PinMame a mix of Editor and Emulator, so noone has an excuse to miss out on our golden years.

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