In beautiful, sprawling Banning, Ca. Seems to be more pinball oriented but there is a lengthy list of arcade games with many vector games included. But no Major Havoc, dammit! Ah well, plenty of other games. I will go, I want thing to succeed and be repeated for many years.
Yes, worth the drive. Why does a cool place like that pinball museum have to be on the far side of the Moon? I'd go there a few times a year if it was Downtown or even in Orange County (I live in L.A.).
But the Arcade Expo was great. Compared to California Extreme it had less video games (about a 1/3 of what CAX normally has based on my 2 trips up there) and, as a vector fan, it was more disappointing - only 2 Cinematronics games (Star Castle and Armor..Attack and that one's monitor wasn't aligned right to the overlay or something because my jeep was sliding around a lot and I was shooting walls that were not close to the overlay's layout) and not Sega vectors. Blasphemy! Still, lots of other fun games, a load of Atari vectors (cockpit Star Wars and Red Baron, I got the high score on Red Baron on Saturday, 25,900, pretty good for not playing in over a year), some hilarious games like Chiller (a conversion for a game called Crossbow) that was the most morbid, gory game I've ever seen. Apparently it did horribly here because no arcade owners wanted to have it, did great in 3rd World countries. Atari Football is an honorary vector game in my mind (minimal graphics) and my brother and I almost broke our hands playing it. There was a second one there that was down for repairs and that's the only negative for the show, lots of games were down. But many got repaired while we were there (stayed till like 9pm), Tempest was down for a couple hours, for example, Lunar Lander was dead the whole day, cockpit Red Baron was down in the morning. A lot of the must-haves were there like Defender, Robotron, Centipede (trak-ball was backwards, unplayable), Missile Command, GORF, Space Duel (twitchy monitor), Vanguard, Phoenix, etc.
What I was not prepared for was the pinball area. It was massive! And packed to the gills with pinball machines. It felt like the video game area of CAX. I had no idea they made so many pinball machines. There were a lot of vintage ones, too. Very quaint, just 2 flippers, maybe 8 or 9 bumpers, goofy graphics. But along with all those pinball games were some other mechanical games in a couple side rooms and they were the highlights of the day for us. They had a Sega Gun Fight
that was initially broken when we saw it (the front pin had fallen off). They fixed it (I got a good look inside the back, the guts are impressive) and then we got in a few games. It's amazing, it keeps score and it's beautiful in a 1940s automobile kind of way. I wonder how many private collectors could possibly have a behemoth like that in their collections.
There were some cool mechanical games in the video game area, too, like Space Pilot
that used lighted projections to simulate missiles flying up to shoot the passing bombers. There were other games like that there, a stunt biplane game and others. Man, how primitive arcades were back in the beginning.
The expo was great, especially considering the location. It was a bit dead in the morning but really picked up later. It was good to see lots of young people interested in the video games and pinball machines. I can only hope that it is a big success and that future expos will have more vector games and more of my favorite 2nd-tier games (I love Space Firebird, for example). They had a food truck there because there were no food options around in walking distance (CAX is far better in that regard) but the food was really good, hot dogs and burgers and fries but done well. I'm glad I went because I can't afford CAX this year.
some hilarious games like Chiller (a conversion for a game called Crossbow) that was the most morbid, gory game I've ever seen. Apparently it did horribly here because no arcade owners wanted to have it, did great in 3rd World countries.
Yeah I never heard of it until like 10 years ago. It'll still creep you out nowadays!
I had no idea they made so many pinball machines. There were a lot of vintage ones, too. Very quaint, just 2 flippers, maybe 8 or 9 bumpers, goofy graphics.
There's been over 6,000 pinball machines made since the 1930s. It sounds like there weren't any there that were in the "flipperless" era, being like big pachinko machines. So those get even more primitive there!
But along with all those pinball games were some other mechanical games in a couple side rooms and they were the highlights of the day for us.
Oh yeah, I've played a few of those. I wonder how difficult it is to keep those running with all the metal and plastics involved for targets and all, rather than RAM and ROM chips for video games and the like.
and, my favorite one there, S.A.M.I., the Surface to Air Missile Interceptor
that used lighted projections to simulate missiles flying up to shoot the passing bombers.
That looks pretty cool! Yeah, they had all kinds of interesting ideas back then. I saw some old mechanical/projection plane game once that looked like a war movie was being run as you played it, shooting down enemy airplanes. I always wondered how that worked.