Saturday, July 18, 2015

Arcade Field Trip Photos- Pinball, Strange and Nifty Games, and Neo Geo Rubbish!

Hello! Today's post has nothing to do with cross stitching, but a lot to do with "dork," so it seems kind of appropriate! Today, a couple of friends and I drove for about an hour to visit a couple of arcade museums- the Route 66 Arcade Museum in Atlanta, Illinois, which has arcade games from 1935 until the early 1980s, and Arcadia: America's Playable Arcade Museum in McLean, IL, which has games from the 1980s until the early 2000s. The museums are both free to get into, but on their website (, it says that it's helpful to post about trips to them on blogs. I am good at chattering and passable at taking photos, so I shall be using today's post to document the trip!

Disappointingly, the Route 66 Arcade Museum was closed today, despite the fact that we went during its open hours. It was a tiny town, so I asked about it in the library, where they told me to ask about it in the artisan's shop, where the woman behind the counter told me pretty bluntly to get lost. I want to go back when it actually is open, and then post more rubbish about it then, but that could be a while. Later in the day, another group of nerd tourists said they'd heard at a local restaurant that the museum was repainting, which is more information than we got.

Even though the first museum was closed, Arcadia, which was ten minutes away, was open and very spiffy. We spent about an hour and a half there, and, thanks to my low to moderate skills at DDR, pinball, and Neo Geo games, I did not use up all of my quarters. I also got a bunch of pictures, with a handful of them actually being usable!

Setting the tone for this set of photos is my selfie by the miniature Neo Geo MVS cabinet. There were only two SNK machines in the whole place, but I spent several quarters on them to justify my horrible cell phone photography. This machine played Metal Slug and Blazing Star, and if you look behind me, you can see the title screen for Metal Slug.

I'm also in front of Pocket Racer, but since I don't have any misguided love for that game, I don't have much to say about that.

I couldn't get too good of a photo of this machine, since the lights on the display make it look even more out of focus than it would be otherwise, but this is the Doctor Who pinball machine that I spent a lot of time playing. It was really cool because when you do certain things, the Dalek on top starts screaming at you. I like it when pinball machines threaten to exterminate me, so this was essentially my dream game. Aside from the nifty nerd aspect of this machine, though, it was actually really fun.
This is about half of the pinball machines that they had. The Back to the Future one ate two of my quarters, but someone shut it off before we'd left, so the people working there at least seem careful about that sort of stuff. There was a really cute Super Mario World era Mario Bros pinball, too, but it wasn't on at all, so my picture of it looked dingy and bad.
This pinball, Space Mission, wasn't with the rest of the machines, I think because it was a little older (1975) and less flashy. It was so fun, though! It made dinging noises like pinball machines do in cartoons, and every time I did something, the score would click up on the number flaps at top, so even though it had less lights and stuff, it still felt like I was doing something impressive if I'd hit a target. It was a little slower paced, too, so one quarter lasted quite a while on it.
This is a tiny portion of the main room, across from the pinball row. The SNK machine from my first photo is over at the right, though I can't really make out the screen on it. The games in back are Burger Time, Pac-Man, Galaga, and Ms. Pac-Man, with Pocket Racer right in the center, taking up the best spot in the shot.
Here is the Tron machine, which was very cool looking, but also served as a confusing murder simulator. According to this, if I were in The Games, I would have run straight into my enemy and exploded many times while trying to spin a dial that served no purpose. If they had given me a tank, I also would have run straight into my enemy and exploded many times. Today, I felt very lucky that Tron is not a true story.

These two pictures are of Time Traveler, a super-fancy, but still kind of dumb FMV game that we kept playing. In the first photo, the close-up, you can kind of see the display. Instead of having a normal screen, it shows a 3D video of cheaply costumed actors on a small display inside of the black dome, with no backgrounds. It's really cool looking! 

The game itself is kind of like a more playable version of Dragon's Lair or Space Ace. Here, instead of trying to figure out some mysterious command, you turn left or right and hit the shoot button really fast. If you fail, a bad sitcom version of a wizard yells at you. It's not awful, but it wasn't great, either. Also, I died in the tutorial level and then cleared three levels, so I'm not sure what's going on there. 

My cowboy got stabbed in the guts by 80s punks for my game over, and since that was kind of awesome, I did not continue.
My last photo for today is of the other really strange machine I played, SNK's The Irritating Maze. The game itself was not too weird- you guide a circle through mazes with a trackball and try not to touch the edges of the maze. If you do hit the edge, though, the two yellow and silver bars on the side of the screen shoot a pop of freezing cold air in your face.

I can see where this play mechanic could be considered bad, or even horrible, but today, it was over 90 degrees, so The Irritating Maze became one of the finest games in the arcade. I didn't lose on purpose, but I wasn't good at it, either, especially once I hit the expert maze. Design-wise, I'm not sure why you would make losing turn an arcade cabinet into a personal air conditioning unit, but today, I appreciated it.

Those are the best photos I have from today, so I am done for now! I'll be back again soon with some actual craft-related stuff, though. Until then, have a good weekend!


  1. I live in the wrong country!! Lol love the photos and all the machines look amazing and I wish I could have gone but I'm glad you had a wonderful time, as far as I'm aware there isn't really anything like this in the uk :(

  2. What a fun trip! I'm sorry the first place was closed and you got such rude treatment, but at least you had a blast in the playable museum. That old pinball machine sounds like one we had when I was a kid. Buccaneer I think it was called? My dad picked it up on the cheap at an auction or something and we spent a lot of our childhood playing it. I wish it had generated real-life skills, or even lasting pinball skills, but sadly no.

  3. Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to write this up! I'm the proprietor of both museums. Sorry about the treatment in Atlanta. Unfortunately, I don't own the building that one is in (yet) and its opening and closing are a mystery even to me. It is usually open when I go down there, but most people who visit treat it like a museum full of sacred objects that must not be touched rather than an arcade where you are supposed to play and have fun. I have plans to massively expand and change it in 2016, but we'll see what happens. I focus 98% of my energy on Arcadia in McLean at this point. Glad you had fun! I will also be doubling the size of this one in the upcoming months, so check back in a while for more gaming fun! Thanks again!

  4. This looks like a fun trip, and not too awful far from me! It's too bad about the Atlantians being meh. I am so awful at DDR even though I could probably sing every song in DDRMAX. The Doctor Who one would probably make me a nervous wreck to the point I start yelling that I'll exterminate the pinball machine.

    And nice on the owner popping in to comment lol!

  5. Did you ever get around to making your Supernatural sprites?

    1. No. I know it is rude, but probably around a year ago, I posted about having to clear out sprite requests. I was having trouble getting things done and was no longer enjoying pattern making, and this problem has now been exacerbated by trying to make my patterns on Linux rather than Windows.

  6. "馬頭明王"




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  7. Some lovely photos are here, such a happy time..keep sharing.