Thanks for stopping by and checking out the page celebrating the home arcade I built with my friend, Steve Flock.
In mid-July of 2002, I bought a 1987 Mercury Sable at an abandoned auto auction (check out the alliteration there). The car was in good shape except for its paint job. It also needed some minor work (which was way out of my league). As it turned out, I didn't need the car and decided to sell it.
Steve offered to trade a Sinbad Pinball machine and a Galaxian cocktail table (which needed a ton of work) for the Mercury. I agreed since having my own arcade was one of those childhood dreams that I refused to let slip away into the abyss of adulthood.
Approximately a year later, I ended up with my own (albeit small) arcade that was crammed into a tiny family room. Regardless, it was still my own private play room so I didn't complain.
I kept the arcade going until 2005 when I sold off all of the games through e-bay. The arcade was no longer used much by anyone. I would occasionally play a game of pinball, but even I didn't use the arcade as much as I should. It was tough to justify using an entire room for games no one played any longer.
This page keeps those memories alive for me.
2017 update - I'll apologize in advance for any slowness due to the amount of pictures on this page. Previously, this had been a separate fan website that I shut down long ago. I've kept all the write-ups the same. However, I figured I could recreate the entire site on to a single, large page. Please be patient if you are on a dial-up connection (just kidding, I'm feeling nostalgic looking at these classic games).
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the page. - Colin!
Baby Pac-Man - 1982 - Bally Midway
In the fall of 2002, Steve won an e-bay auction for Baby Pac-Man, a game he had loved from childhood. This machine resided in Trail, Canada which is several hours north of Spokane, Washington.
On one beautiful Saturday, we hopped into his pick-up and headed north. This trip was shortly after the marathon trip to Portland with the Silverball machine. The drive was beautiful and fun. On both sides of the border, the crossing left a lot to be desired. Each side was slow and the guards were jerks, but we didn't let that ruin the excitement of a new game.
We picked up the game from Robert, a strange little man who tried to sell us a couple of other games when we arrived. Steve wasn't interested and I was broke. When we returned the game to Steve's house, he had to shop the machine and correct some goofy jimmy-rigging courtesy of Robert.
Baby Pac-Man is an interesting and challenging combination of pinball and video game. You must score points on the pinball playfield to earn the power pellets Baby Pac-Man needs to beat the ghosts. Sound confusing? It is until you play it for a bit. Then it's addicting.
The game ended up in my game room as part of Steve's sell-off when he moved to a smaller place.
Double Dragon - 1987 - Taito
Another game Steve picked up somewhere in the past. Double Dragon is a JAMMA machine which allows the main boards to be quickly replaced with those of another game. Steve had a couple of board sets that had been in and out of the machine; U.N. Squadron and Growl. U.N. Squadron is fun but suffers from the same problem as Double Dragon which is low re-playability. Once you beat the game and know the patterns / tricks, why play again?
The game was not in the normal Double Dragon cabinet, but rather a universal Taito-type cabinet.
I picked up the game from Steve when he moved into a smaller place.
Galaxian - 1979 - Namco
Of all the games I owned, this was my favorite.
Many winters ago, Steve and I were out hitting the thrift stores in town and ended up at the As-Is store of St. Vincent de Paul's. As we approached the store, we both saw a cocktail table sitting covered with several inches of snow. Since we had a rule that the first person to an item got first dibs, we both took off to the machine. Steve blocked me out (to his credit) and bought the machine for a whopping five bucks. We loaded the game in my truck and took it back to Steve's house. After letting the machine warm up, Steve plugged the bad boy in and it worked like a champ!
When Steve wanted the '87 Mercury, he traded a Sinbad pinball machine as well as the Galaxian cocktail table. Steve hadn't done much with the machine so I had to put some money and labor into it. This baby had definitely seen better days.
After all the work though, the machine was beautiful.
KISS 1978 - Bally
The holy grail of pinball. Steve picked this machine up for a whopping $50 from a guy in St. Maries, Idaho. The machine had extensive damage to it. I finally gave up my dream of reconditioning it and e-bayed some of the parts and the back glass. The rest of the machine was laid to rest at the waste-to-energy plant.
Lost Tomb - 1983 - Stern
I got it as part of Steve's sell off. Stern was the maker of Bezerk (one of my favorite games when I was a kid).
Lost Tomb is a basic game where you move through a pyramid and avoid all types of baddies.
To quote the great Stan Lee, 'nuff said.
Lost World - 1977 - Bally
Shortly after I acquired Sinbad and Galaxian from Steve, I purchased Lost World from a local arcade supplier. When the supplier plugged it in to test at the shop, it started smoking from behind the back glass. The look of embarrassment on his face was priceless. This is the same guy who had tried to over charge Steve and I whenever we were there looking around. He ended up dumping the machine for $125 which I figured was a great deal because the game was beautiful. There was only a small wear spot on the playfield, but other than that the game was pretty sharp.
We loaded the machine up and got it back to my very small garage which also housed Sinbad and Galaxian, both in various stages of repair.
Steve checked out the machine and found that the power supply was fried. A funny fact (and an expensive one as well) is that the power supplies for these old pinball machines are not being made anymore. Therefore you need to purchase reconditioned ones for the mind boggling cost of $125. I still shake my head that I could buy a full pinball machine for the price of a power supply.
Anyway, we got the supply installed and the game worked like a champ. Even though it was an older machine, I still enjoyed playing Lost World over and over.
Mad Planets - 1983 - Gottlieb
This was one of Steve's all time favorites. We never got the game to work although I purchased a brand new joystick for it. Steve was working on it when it suddenly started smoking near the motherboard. That's always a nice thing to experience.
The poor machine never worked properly before I sold it.
Night Driver - 1976 - Atari
I picked up this beauty one afternoon from my friend, Jay. He heard about my arcade and told me that he use to have his own arcade in his parent's basement. The only game he had left was Night Driver which I scammed as quickly as possible.
The game was in decent shape, but had seen better days. Jay had originally purchased Night Driver from a company that put the game out at fairs. They really don't do it much anymore, but companies would erect a tent at a local fair and stock them with video games. The games would sit on dirt or straw and kids (along with some adults) would beat the hell out of the machines.
I did some extensive cleaning on Night Driver as well as multiple repairs. The game was fairly fun considering the age of the machine.
Silverball Mania - 1978 - Bally
Even though this machine never made it to my arcade, Silverball Mania was a part of the arcade experience. Steve picked up Silverball Mania along with Kiss and Time Machine from a guy in St. Maries, Idaho. He paid a whopping $50 for each machine.
Steve worked on Silverball while we both worked on Sinbad and Lost World. When Steve finished the machine he sold it to a pinball collector in Portland, Oregon.
When Steve was ready to deliver the machine, he hit me up to join him on a single day trip from Spokane to Portland and back. After I agreed, he told me we had to stop in Hayden, Idaho the day before our trip to pick up, Spanish Eyes, another machine for the collector.
We made that trip on one Saturday, to and from Portland. I think we were in Portland less than thirty minutes to drop the machine off. It was a hell of a trip, but Steve did make sure we stopped for a Burgerville hamburger in the Dalles. He had told me for years how great their burgers are and he was right.
Sinbad - 1978 - Gottlieb
Part of the trade package for the '87 Mercury Sable in July 2002, I brought Sinbad home along with the Galaxian cocktail machine. I'd never played Sinbad before but when a friend offers up a pinball machine you take it and thank your lucky stars. Steve had purchased the machine a year or so before but never did much work on it. When we got it back to my house and really started checking it out, Steve discovered that the main CPU on the machine was bad. Unfortunately, buying a replacement board for an old machine is a risky proposition. There was a modern option in the Ni-Wumpf board which replaces most Gottlieb CPU's from the '70s era. Although it is fairly expensive, the Ni-Wumpf board was an excellent choice.
There was some fairly substantial flaking on the back glass. I used a technique discussed in some of the pinball newsgroups about spraying a clear lacquer on the back to prevent it from flaking further.
Sinbad, one of the few double flipper games, was still fun on replays. Mastering the double flippers was challenging. Lifting the flippers at the wrong time would allow a ball to quickly drain by slipping in between the two flippers.
Time Machine - 1988 - Data East
Steve picked up Time Machine as part of a three machine deal from a dealer in St. Maries, Idaho. He got the machine into shopped condition and sold it on eBay. He talked me into making a marathon trip with him to Kent (a la the Portland trip) to get the game to a shipping company. This was after he built a custom crate to ship the game in.
On one Friday afternoon, we hopped into his truck and took off. We made it about forty minutes outside of Spokane when his truck broke down. We limped the truck back to his house and he vowed to make the trip in a couple days after he fixed the truck.
A couple of days later I get a call from a very bummed out Steve. He made the trip across state, but arrived at the shipping company too late. They were closed and he finally decided that all the trouble wasn't worth the sale. He ended up selling the machine to me.
I absolutely loved Time Machine. Of all the video games and pinball machines, it was the most fun to play. The Galaxian cocktail may have be my baby, but Time Machine got the most attention.
Game Room - 2003
This is where all the magic came together. The room might have been small, but when the lights were turned down and the games powered up it turned into a little bit of electric heaven.
I couldn't capture the real essence of the game room with the lights on, but here are the pictures anyway.
Here are a couple of unfortunate machines that never made it to my arcade. They were too far gone for us to save.
Marquees and Back Glass
Here are some marquees that were picked up along the way as well as back glass for a couple of machines that never made the arcade.
Meet the Players
YEAR BORN: 1968
PRIMARY SKILL: Electrical
SECONDARY SKILL: Mechanical
TERTIARY SKILL: Ignoring Colin when he's tipping over
FIRST FULL SIZE GAME: Astro Fighter (Sega 1980)
FIRST PINBALL: Sky Kings (Bally 1973)
VIDEO GAME: Reactor (Gottlieb 1982)
PINBALL MACHINE: Mata Hari (Bally 1976)
ARCADE: Wonderland (Spokane, WA 1983)
HOME ARCADE SYSTEM: Colecovision (1982)
HOME ARCADE GAME: Asteroids (Atari 2600)
HOME COMPUTER SYSTEM: Commodore 64
HANDHELD GAME: I've looked around, but haven't been able to locate the name or manufacturer of this particular game. The last time I owned this watch I was in the seventh grade, so I might not have a clear picture of the game in my mind. (Yes, it was a watch.) The watch was silver in color and had two buttons on the face for the game. If I remember correctly, the bottom of the playing field was a base with three possible cannon positions. One button rotated the base to another position while the other button fired. UFO's came in and tried to crash in to the base. What makes this my favorite handheld (even though it isn't technically a hand held) was the size.. You could play this anywhere, and I did. I played it at school, on the bus to and from school and pretty much any other time I was bored. What an excellent way to pass time!
MOST MEMORABLE ARCADE MEMORY: May 18th, 1980 - The closest arcade to where I was living was Wonderland. I was in the 6th grade at the time, and rode my bike there every day, even if I had no money. The last few days before the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, I had been at Wonderland past dark and I was warned to be home well before that or I would have been grounded. You can imagine me looking out the windows and seeing it was dark outside. I looked at the clock and figured it might not be working right. I don't think I've ever peddled a bicycle as fast as I did on that day.
I was quite disappointed when I got home only to find out that it wasn't late at night at all. Mount St. Helens had erupted and the ash clouds had darkened the sky.
SECOND MOST MEMORABLE: Seeing Donkey Kong for the first time. Truly amazing at the time.
TAG LINE: I want my childhood back. But this time with more quarters.
YEAR BORN: 1969
PRIMARY SKILL: Staying out of Steve's way when he's working
SECONDARY SKILL: Cleaning
TERTIARY SKILL: Cabinet work
FIRST FULL SIZE GAME: Galaxian Cocktail (Namco 1979)
FIRST PINBALL: Sinbad (Gottlieb 1978)
VIDEO GAME: Robotron 2084 (Williams 1982)
PINBALL MACHINE: Terminator 2 (Williams 1991)
ARCADE: Sharky's Arcade (Eureka, CA 1980)
HOME ARCADE SYSTEM: Intellivision (1980)
HOME ARCADE GAME: Comix Zone (Sega Genesis)
HOME COMPUTER SYSTEM: Commodore 64
HANDHELD GAME: Mattel Football
ARCADE MEMORY: 1986 - In my junior year of high school, my family spent a week camping near Ainsworth, BC. Clouds crowded the skies for the entire week and the water temperature never rose above teeth-chattering cold.
To pass the time, my brother, Jason and I played hours of Fire Truck (Atari 1978). The black and white game allowed two people to play. One steered the truck's cab while the other player controlled the back of the truck.
Things may have changed in our lives, but that's one of the fondest memories I hold onto about my brother.
SECOND MOST MEMORABLE: Hanging out with Steve, Derek and Mark at Wonderland throughout high school. We'd ditch class occasionally (or go on the weekends) and play hours of games. One of the games I remember playing a ton of was Gauntlet. Even though you could play up to four people at a time on it, I usually ended up playing it just with Steve.
There were a ton of other games to take our money and we made sure we gave often. A lot of quarters where dropped at that place.
Unfortunately, Wonderland closed up almost a decade ago, thus leaving our fine little city with a very limited supply of game locations.
TAG LINE: It's my arcade and I'll reset the high scores if I want to.
Thanks for checking out The Arcade Experience. I really appreciate it. If you'd like to leave a comment, please jump back to the original article, Shall We Play a Game? and leave one there. I love to hear your thoughts.