Man Walks into a Bar and Sees a Pac-Man Machine

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

I recently walked into a hipster bar that I had never been in before. I immediately felt slightly old. Everyone there was in their early twenties; some of them didn’t look old enough to order a beer. As I made my way past the bustling, long bar, I noticed something in the back corner of the place that I hadn’t seen in a longtime.

A large group of twentysomethings were gathered around an original Pac-Man arcade machine. I hadn’t seen a Pac-Man machine since I was a little kid. It was a smack of nostalgia in a place I didn’t expect it.

Like the Rubik’s Cube or the DeLorean DMC-12, Pac-Man is an 80s icon. Seeing a vintage machine with a group of Millennials playing it, made me curious. I sat at a small booth near the Pac-Man machine and watched the young group feed the machine quarters. They were having such a blast trying to see who could reach the highest score with one quarter.

source: ausretrogamer

After a few craft beers, I wanted to try my hand at Pac-Man; but they had taken over the machine. It was entertaining watching them shriek and groan when they got devoured by a ghost. It may’ve been the first time any of them had ever played the arcade version of Pac-Man, but I still wanted my turn.

Pac-Man brings people together. From the time the game was released in arcades in October 1980, Pac-Man has been a unifier that you could play with friends. Pac-Man is cross-generational. It seems simple at first, but as you keep playing, the difficulty of each stage keeps you addicted to clear the maze.

When Pac-Man was released in 1980, movie theatre owners and movie moguls were worried that the game would hurt the film industry. Pac-Man was taking money away from Paramount and 20th Century Fox. Pac-Man’s enormous popularity was short-lived, but at its height, movie studio executives had to be worried about how long they would be competing with the bright yellow machines.

I never got to play the Pac-Man machine in that bar that night, but I enjoyed watching the twentysomethings play a game that this October will turn 38-years-old. Will there ever be another Pac-Man? I doubt it.

source: ausretrogamer


Gone Retro Hunting

What does one do on a lazy Sunday afternoon? They go hunting for some old school classic gear at the local vintage market in Brunswick East.

After a few goes on the Daytona USA and Tazmi’s TX-1 arcade machines, we got hunting. So, what did we find you may ask? Take a gander below…

Here we go!

One always starts their hunting by playing some Daytona USA

Then one must take it back a notch to playing the three-screen marvel, TX-1

Wish we could take this one home!

Cockpit is a bit worse for wear, but it’s still functional

Once we exhaust our coins, we get hunting. This is a pretty good start!

Now that is one cool framed movie poster!

The singing budgerigar – with a giant poster inside! Whoa! 

Who you gonna call?

We wonder if we’ll see a The Last Jedi cup in the near future…

Master System games under $15! That is unheard of! *smiles*

Lights, camera, action!

The menacing King Kong Bundy!

Not the VHS tape we were looking for…

Skateboard anyone? Tony Hawk would be proud.

Liberace would’ve loved this phone!

A Fisher Price record player! No way!

Forget the Fisher Price record play, this is what you should play your vinyl on!

Those eyes!!!

Game of Nightmare, anyone?

G.I. Joe! Hang on, Sloth from The Goonies! *mind blown*

Duck Monster? Nah, that’s a P!

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Arcade Expo 2.0: Arcades From The Golden Age

ArcadeExpo39Following on from the pinball extravaganza at Arcade Expo 2.0, Martin Robbins reflects on the other half of the expo, the arcade machines! Grab yourself a bib as you will be drooling all over yourself!

Just when I thought I had my fair share of the ‘Wow’ factor in the pinball section, I was in for an absolute treat when I made a beeline for the arcade area at Arcade Expo 2.0. The cabinet artwork, the sounds, the attract modes, people hovering around machines, Walter Day spruiking his cards and Billy Mitchell playing Donkey Kong (yep, THAT Billy Mitchell!) – It was like I was transported back to the golden age of arcade video games.

Billy Mitchell all suited up! Donkey Kong is serious business!

The area was littered with classic machines from the heavyweights of the arcade industry: Atari, Bally Midway, Centuri, Cinematronics, Data East. Exidy, Gottlieb, Irem, Konami, Namco, Nintendo, Sega, Stern, Taito, Universal and Williams. It was also great to see the Computer Space machine made by Nutting in 1971, regarded as the world’s first commercially sold coin-operated machine (Ed: Computer Space was designed by none other than the Atari founders, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney)!

Oh wow, where should we start?

Upon entering the arcade area, I noticed that it had a different “feel” to it – there were more young people and families playing on arcade machines than what I experienced in the pinball area. The atmosphere definitely seemed a lot more relaxed, with heaps more room to move around. This was a welcome change to the hustle and bustle of the room next door. I found myself returning to the arcade area on a number of occasions to clear my head and unwind from the pinball tournament. I also found it difficult to leave as there were so many games I had not seen nor played in many many years. The problem was, once I’d finish one game, I would then see another one that would instantly transport me back to my youth at that corner Milk Bar with the urge to just have another go. The nostalgia was truly intoxicating!

Let’s see what goodness we’ll find down this aisle…

The arcade section also had exhibitors including Farsight Studios promoting The Pinball Arcade and in particular the Kickstarter for Dr Who, which reached its goal on February 14 – a job well done! I did have a a chat with their Community Manager, Mike Lindsay, who agreed that the resurgence in the pinball community was partly due to the success Farsight Studios had in bringing the experience to our mobile devices and PCs. Mike was particularly proud of how they had brought pinball to a new generation to experience it for the first time in digital format and then seek it out in the real world.

As mentioned earlier, I managed to see Billy Mitchell playing Donkey Kong. The set up next to Billy was quite cool – it allowed anyone to sit next to him and challenge him to a high score duel. I was not prepared for a public humiliation, so I left him to demonstrate his skills. It must be said, Billy was very friendly and was really enjoying the show.

All good things must come to end. The single regret I had about Arcade Expo 2.0 was not having enough time to play everything. Three days was just not enough. In my mind I’ve already started planning and saving up for my return trip in 2017 – hope to see you all there!

Great to see the next generation enjoying an absolute classic!

Landing High Japan – wanna be a pilot?

Test your wood chopping skills!

Once you are done wood chopping, hit the bar!

Granny and the Gators – you don’t see this (hybrid) one too often!

Paddle, Fire and Flip!

Getting the arcade fix

Well, well, well, what do we have down here then….

Buck Rogers (Planet of Zoom)! Haven’t seen one of these since the early 80s!

No matter your age, everyone loves a bit of Out Run

This was all the rage in 1976!

Gun control!

Midway were prolific in the arcade arena!

No queuing here – just keep playing! 

An old vector beauty

Use the Force and destroy the Death Star!

Families gaming together

Oh my gawd! Discs Of Tron! Very drool-worthy

Have you got the killer instinct?

Kickin some butt!

Gonna get drivin’, hard!

Pole position on Atari’s Pole Position II

Woo hoo, Walter Day!

More Tron goodness

Old school amusement machines

Bit of target practice

Contemplating what to play next…..

From Joust pinball, to Joust arcade!

Varkon – disguising a pinball table as an arcade game!

Comfy arcade gaming

Getting close to the action

Let’s spin on Dave Theurer’s classic

Passing on the retro gaming gene to the next generation

Ending with a shooter’s delight – Xevious!

Pixels Invading The Silver Screen

Pixels_TitleOn the back of the Wreck’It Ralph success, it seems that video game characters and themes are the hottest ticket in Hollywood right now! Sony Pictures Entertainment have released their second official trailer for their upcoming Pixels movie.

Set for release this (northern hemisphere) summer, the movie sees four mates (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage) use their former arcade gaming prowess to save the world from invading intergalactic aliens, including Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede and Space Invaders!

The movie will hit Australian cinemas on July 30! Are you game to watch Pixels? Let the the trailer whet your appetite.

source: Sony Pictures Entertainment