So here I am driving to Wells by the Sea, on a short family break. While I'm driving my wife is explaining to me what's in this small fishing town which is very popular tourist haunt.
As Sarah is describing the fishing port and many a chip shop, she mentions the words "Amusement Arcade"! Well as you can imagine it made me wanna track down this arcade and see what fun and nostalgia I could find!
So that evening I decided to take a little stroll to the seafront and have some fun. I'm imagining the arcades of old, bustling noise, kids packed round a Street fighter machine , Operation Wulf hammering lead all packed into a dark building................ Boy was I wrong.
First of all I looked to get change £1 coins should do it....WTF 2ps!!!!! What was going on, surely arcade games were not this cheap to play now that hone consoles have progressed so far. Anyway I bung in a few quid and put my change in a tacky Vegas plastic mug type thing. So I'm looking for a Sega cab, a driving game or maybe a really loud shooter, the first game I see is like a cross between My little Pony and Mario Kart!
Attracted by the lights and the fake horses my 2yr old fancied a ride. This game called Go Go Pony was utter trash , it cost £1 to be rocked very slowly in front of a screen were the graphics were of a Wii standard. It was so bad my daughter got off after around 20 secs.
We therefore strolled around to see what we could play. I found a nice loud WWE pinball table which looked and sounded great, maybe things were getting better. This place even threw a Sega arcade original at me......Let's go Jungle. Well at least it was Sega.
Looking around this was turning into a bad idea. My daughter was finding great amusement in throwing 2ps into literally every machine in the building hoping to win some terrible plastic toy or even worse tokens to win something that you could buy in a shop for a lot less .
Unfortunately this seems to be what arcades have turned into. Token games, 2p machines hardly amusing in anyway unless you are under 5. This wasn't an arcade it was poor effort to attract kids and their parents to spend money not a place to hang out, beat scores and play with your mates.
Even the spanking new Mario Kart two seated was empty with children opting to throw 2ps into rubber ducks ! But wait ....I spot another room and see cabs and hear that videogame noise! My heart beating for a hidden treasure, please please redeem yourself and give me.something........
My heart sank with this view (above) , ok so they are not the retro games I was looking for but there was a Terminator shooter , a Konami Dancing stage game, Big Buck hunter all switched off gathering dust . The noise I heard came from a Fast and Furious racer and a Sega Racer which I turned on myself to play! A Air Hockey table was being dismantled and was left on the floor. This could not seriously be called an arcade - gone those days are.
So I guess this was it. One Sega racer, nobody to race against! I guess this is the state of arcades today. With decent retro cabs pretty much impossible to find and the new cabs just not having that same appeal this is the way the arcade seen is going to stay. Hopefully you guys (GYL Fans) or ourselves will find a decent arcade out there some day, either here in the UK or abroad. Or our thing is to go to the retro events - Next Stop Manchester - Play Expo!
Sad days though for the realk arcade at the seaside.