We trawl Scottish arcades for Sega games,
then film & write about them.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Final Report

A room full of dedicated enthusiasts probably isn't the the best indicator of the health of arcades. A healthy gathering of people who have travelled specifically to play pinball and classic video games wouldn't necessarily translate into healthy footfall for an arcade, but it does suggest an evolution of arcade gaming that won't necessarily require traditional arcades to exist. The Scottish Pinball and Arcade Expo, held in Kilsyth, may have been a celebration of gaming's history in many ways, but it was also an encouraging glimpse into a more independent, grass-roots way of enjoying and preserving arcade games.

We've seen countless examples of arcades who don't know or care enough about their roster of games to keep them in good order in recent months, so it was heartening to be around well maintained cabinets and pinball machines including the original Outrun and games as old as Missile Command and Galaga. As great as these are, they are essentially a reminder of a bygone era and not particularly indicative of where arcade gaming currently is or where it's likely to go. The candy cabinets on offer, however, suggest  an alternative recent history and future for arcade gaming.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Hilton Coylumbridge, Aviemore

There was no specific plan to visit the Hilton Colyumbridge in Aviemore at this stage of the YouArcade journey, but it certainly worked out tidily from a narrative perspective. Seeing the selection of games on offer here was a little depressing, but not in the way many of our previous visits have been. 

Hilton’s Colyumbridge’s arcades aren’t depressing in terms of washed out screens and shattered light-guns or swathes of fun-time real estate given over to slightly seedy fruit machines. Instead, the selection of games available in Aviemore was a blunt reminder that the days of OutRun 2 and Crazy Taxi being arcade kings was over, and the days of Golden Axe and Shinobi were prehistoric. This isn’t necessarily a slight against the cabinets on offer there, but is a little painful to see that Sega’s arcade golden age has ended in such harsh terms.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Elgin, Arbroath, not Lossiemouth but almost Nairn

One common theme shared amongst the arcades we've visited is that most of them are only notionally arcades. They're bowling alleys or fun-fairs quite often, but the idea of a building dedicated to video games is as alien to Scotland as it is exciting to me.

The upshot of this is that the places you find video games often seem pretty confused about what to do with them. Elgin's Bowl 2000 only had two games during our visit, one of which was Ford Racing (ugh), awkwardly placed right next to the children's play area making any adults who want to play it look really creepy. Putting aside that wanting to play the charisma-free Ford Racing: Full Blown is actually kind of creepy, what's the message here? These games are for children? Are they for families to play or groups of people out together? The placement and selection of many of the games we've found seems to suggest that arcade owners aren't really sure.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

M&D's (Motherwell)

From the perspective of a blog seeking out Sega arcade games throughout Scotland, M&D's is frankly disappointing. Two Sega games in a complex as large as M&D's couldn't be anything but disappointing, especially considering that the main arcade area is mostly dominated by fruit machines. That's not to say it wasn't great to find and play good condition Scud Race and Daytona USA cabinets in the bowling area (indicating to me that increasingly, arcades perhaps aren't the best place to find arcade games), but it did mean that M&D's had a pretty flimsy roster of Sega games.

Friday, 23 December 2011

'Treasure Island' (Glasgow) & 'Amusements' (Stonehaven)

I’m admittedly not clear on the introduction of video games into Scottish arcades. There’s articles and writing out there about the decline of the seaside arcade on the whole, but very few seem to even acknowledge the presence of video games at all. At best they’re ignored and at worst they seem to be considered as aggressive interlopers; bright, noisy, obnoxious and you can’t even win any money on them!

Of course, no arcade is under any sort of compulsion to have video games. In Scotland at least there always seems to have been a bit of a divide between ‘arcades’ and ‘amusements’ with amusements primarily focusing on age restricted fruit machines and arcades being more family orientated affairs with a large degree of crossover between the two. Aberdeen’s now defunct Leisureland Bridge Street arcade was a great example of the schism between the two, with a downstairs section dominated by fruit machines and a pretty amazing selection of video games upstairs including (but not limited to) Street Fighter 3, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Scud Race, Fighting Vipers 2 and various Metal Slug installlments before its decline. A bored looking security guard ensured that the parallel worlds of video games and slot machines would never collide, but no one I knew ever wanted them to. We were too busy playing goddamn Scud Race.

Friday, 11 November 2011

'Tenpin' (Edinburgh) & 'Lanes' (Largs)

It’s always fascinating to see arcades from other parts of the world and to speculate on the functions that they might hold. Reading about the closure of New York’s Chinatown Fair arcade was fascinating simply because it was incredible to learn that that arcade subsisted on actual, honest to God video games (and a noughts and crosses playing chicken, apparently). Similarly, reading stories about other countries’ arcades often results in discoveries that feel almost mythical like Dubai's Sega Republic. Sega Republic. Let that sink in.

In comparison, dedicated Scottish arcades can feel like pretty sleazy places where video games can feel like a tacked on afterthought. Thankfully, however, some places do manage to capture at least some of the romance and exuberance an arcade should have.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Wanted List - Round 1

People never ask us “You Arcade, if you could have any Sega games in your ideal arcade, what
would they be?” Well, we'll tell you. These are the games that would make us freak the hell out if
we found them in the wild. Now you don't even have to think about asking. We've met a need by
pre-empting it.

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