This weekend, I made an effort to go and see an old friend. An old friend who, unfortunately, is a shadow of their former self.
I went to Bournemouth; it’s an hour or so away from where I live on the south coast of England. While there, I made sure to check out the arcades on the seafront and, despite the fact that – like so many arcades in coastal towns in the UK – they’re no longer the mind-blowing palaces of gaming they used to be, I’m pleased to report that there does seem to be a higher amount of actual games than I’ve been used to seeing in the last few years.
The first game I came across was The House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn. The latest in Sega’s much loved, long-running, zombie-blasting lightgun game series, Scarlet Dawn is an impressively eye catching machine with loads of neat touches, including skeletal images demonstrating where players should sit during the game.
Moving past countless penny pushers, plush toy-infested claw grabbers and seemingly infinite numbers of ticket-based ‘games’, I found something that was pure heaven to a gamer like: a small row of pinball machines.
Even better, it’s clear they’ve been well taken care of; the sad fact is that, as time goes on, many pinball machines in the wild are ending up in a very poor state. Thankfully, it wasn’t the case with these ones. To add to this excitement even further, one of the machines I found here was the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, which has the double distinction of creating my passion for pinball and Universal Monsters when I first played it in the early 90s.
It was modded too – the lighting having been upgraded from its original setup. The only issue was that the creature himself, normally featured in holographic form in the lagoon, wasn’t working properly.
After checking out the pinball, I had a quick go at a new(ish) version of classic Sega racer, Daytona.
I came first out of 40 racers on my second go, which I was quite proud of!
I hadn’t realised there was an updated Daytona; it was a gorgeous machine.
Though I didn’t play it, I have to share my photo of the Transformers machine I found – I’ve played it before though, and it’s an enjoyable Sega lightgun game which follows a template they’ve used for the last 20 years or so. Though I suppose there’s an element of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, it’s a shame these games aren’t more adventurous or innovative. Then again, given how rare new arcade games are these days, perhaps I shouldn’t complain.
I tried out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machine, which was a fantastic tribute to the original Konami classic. This version, by Raw Thrills, is beautifully colourful and nicely playable. Excellent fun.
A big surprise next – an absolutely enormous Tomb Raider on-rails, four player lightgun shooter!
With design rooted firmly in the Square-Enix reboot visuals, it looked like a very good – if unusual – use of the licence.
A slightly unloved Guitar Hero arcade was next; I couldn’t see how this would/could ever be played, given the ambient noise in the arcade – as well as the fact that the volume of the machine itself seemed to be far too low.
Then Mario Kart! I always find it odd to see this in the arcade, but it’s still a welcome sight nonetheless.
A fittingly dead machine was next; a House of the Dead-esque Walking Dead game, broken and switched off – but still impressively terrifying!
Though not normally the kind of machine that’d interest me, I was really taken by the great colour scheme and overall design of this Batman-themed air hockey game.
Hard to believe, but there’s a Time Crisis 5 now! I hadn’t realised the series has got this far…
Lastly, it was back to the pinball machines for a game of Deadpool, which had an awesome animated display.
So overall, I was pleased to come across an arcade not quite as dead as the ones I normally find. If I find any more on my travels, I’ll be sure to share photos of those too!
If you’ve enjoyed reading this – or any of my other content – it’d be much appreciated if you’re able to share this article via social media. I’d also be forever grateful if you’re able to support me via: Ko-Fi.com/geekmid – which would assist me in writing even more content just like this. Above all else though, thanks for reading – I truly appreciate it!