All content on this site Copyright ©2002-2006 Dave Pinx. All rights reserved.


As the title says this section of the site is all about why I collect Arcade games and it's all down to Nostalgia in big fat glowey green letters. So if you can be bothered to read all this boring blurb, I'm going to take you back to 1979 when at 12 years of age, still wearing "flares" and "fly away" collars, I had that magical moment of playing my first Arcade game, which was
Space Invaders

It all started here.

In a coffee shop called "The Mini Diner" in Shirley precinct in Southampton (U.K.) they installed a Taito Space Invaders upright and as we were too young to get in the Amusement Arcade
(Aladdins Palace) over the road, we could go in buy a cup of tea, once every few hours and play Space Invaders all day long. The unmistakeable thump thump thump of the Invaders descending could be heard throughout the precinct. To say these were magical moments, is a bit of an under statement. From that day it sort of sealed my fate as a Arcade game player and played a staring role in my miss-spent youth. This game will re-appear, through out my game playing history in different guises as Taito Space Invaders, Taito Space Invaders part II, Midway Space Invaders, Zaccaria The Invaders and cocktail table versions and they were all played with renewed zest....

Things Turn Horizontal.

In 1980 a young lad called Dean Jauncy and his family move into the Shield & Dagger pub in Stratton Road, Shirley (about 50 yards from my back gate) he is a couple of years younger than me but has that nutty zing that makes you want to be around him so we become friends and hang out alot. Inside the pub, in the public bar, is a Williams Defender Upright, the second video game I was ever to play in my life. This game is as insane now as it was then 25 years ago !!
Unlike Space Invaders this game had shit loads of buttons and the game played horizontally. It was incredibly hard to play, which is probably what made it so appealing. The thing that really got me about this game was the really funky sounds and the way that Invaders would form in front of you out of thin air. In the mornings before going to school Dean would take the keys from behind the bar, open the coin door and clock up credits and we would play it for about an hour a day, whilst his parents were still in bed. As a kid this was the only place I played Defender.

Sit Down Gaming.

That very same year the Shield & Dagger pub got its first Cocktail Table "Galaxian" following the tried and tested route of Space Invaders with the simple controls of left, right and fire, but this time the Invaders would break from the formation and swoop down at you. But this game was kept in the lounge bar. The thing I loved about this game was the twinkling moving star field in the background. Again, out of pub opening hours Dean and I would frantically play this game. The Shield & Dagger pub became responsible for my love of cocktail tables and for my obsession with vertical star field space shooters. Over the coming years the pub had cocktail versions of Uniwar S, Space Firebird and Mooncresta.
(pic is of my old cocktail as i couldnt find a Galxian one)

Black and White Vector.

1980 was the year that sort of open'd the flood gates for me, in the terms of accessability, as my Grand Mother bought a 40' static Caravan on a site in St Florance in West Wales called New Minerton (my mothers side of the family are Welsh) and they had a games room. We would spend all our holidays there and it was great, we had a gang of friends whose parents also owned caravans on the site and so would meet up every holiday. In 1980 the games room hosted Atari's Asteroids as well as Taito's Space Invaders part II a Sub Electro mini with PacMan in it, a Bally Space Invaders pinball machine (more on this later) and a very dull to look at Generic cab (more on this too) a jukebox and a couple of pool tables...

Asteroids was another game that just sucked you in for hours and in the same respect as Defender or Space Invaders, the sounds from the game were just as appealing as the gameplay itself and you would find kids patiently queuing just to get a go on them.

Generic, no artwork, no CPO artwork not even a Marquee image.

It didnt stand out in the games room as it was dull and bland to look at, but i played it soooo much as a kid, that it became part of the spark (along with my brother Jon) to re-ignite my passion once i reached my late 30's to start me collecting Arcade games.
It was Pleaids a vertical starfield space shooter (often quoted as Phoenix's sequal) designed and released by Tehkan and liscenced in the States by Centuri, the cab itself was probably a generic Taitel cabinet very similar to the one pictured left, but not identical. I loved this game and would spend all my 10p's on it, untill that is i worked out i could spin 2p's in the 10p slot and thus get 5 goes for my 10 pence !! I did this so much that i ended up with large calloused lump in the middle section of my idex finger ! My highest scores would last all day and the only way they would be removed was when they turned the game off at night. Again the sound of the game itself was addictive and you could hear it out in the swimming pool above the noise of all the other games. My love for this game has never wained, it is still my Ultimate game.


Along with the other cabs mention'd above, New Minerton had a Space Invaders pt II this was just next to the Asteroids, before this there had been a regular Taito Space Invaders and both of them could be fiddled to get free games, dont ask me how we thought of it, but we used to take the Electric "Clicker" hob / fire starter from our Caravan and press it against the coin door, every time you clicked it so it would spark, it would clock up credits and we would clock up so many that it would go into numbers and letters !! When we had finished playing, you could come back hours later and still find kids playing it for free. They also had Space Invaders pt II in the Ashby Youth Club just up the road from the Sheild & Dagger pub..

The first Pinball i ever played.

New Minerton also had 2 pinball machines, i only ever played this one and so can't remember what the other one was. Bally's Space Invaders pinball rocked, as it was one of the rare wide bodied pinballs and it had that menacing thump thump tunmp background sound the same as the video game. It had 4 flippers, infinity effect backglass and the most evilist looking backglass artwork known to man !! This i played a hell of alot and whenever the engineer came to service it, i would bug him to death to put up free credits. The thing that stuck in my mind the most about this game was the blast sound whenever you used the flippers (ones that used to get stuck on a regular basis).

Cabaret time !

As kids, if we wanted to get crisps, chocolate, fags etc... we would go to either Twyford road off lisence or Twyford news Agents, that was until they started to put video games in the News agants and then we were never out of the place. The first game they had was a Midway Pacman in a mini cabinet and this i used to play a little, but when that was taken out they replaced it with an Atari Missile Command Cabaret. It was the first game i ever played with a Trackball and as kids we were just in awe, as it was something new again. Not only did it have a Trackball for controls but it had 3 fire buttons. So if you could play it using 3 fingers rather than just using one, you were the dogs bollox ! When we played this, if you were really good, you could get past all the black screen levels and get onto the ones where the background would change colour each level and once you had reached this level of game play, you would do what we called a "spread" at the start of each level, to kill the first wave of attack. You would move your target cross 3/4 of the way up the screen and start at the left hand side, then spin across firing maybe 3 or 4 shots from each fire button, to cause a barrier of explosion, that would stop the first wave, it was then back to picking them off one by one, but lightning fast.... They also had one of these Cabarets in the lounge bar of the Shield & Dagger...

Aladdins Palace
Amusement Arcade, where life stopped and Video gaming went into overdrive....

Jpm's Eachway Nudger
Jpm's Eachway Shuffle
Jpm's Nudge Double Up deluxe

These 3 Fruitys above are nothing special by todays standards, but when we were teenagers, they were our gateway to unlimited video game playing. We were on the Dole (Me, Rich Hunt, Rob Tudor and others), no money, no job and were addicted to Video games. So we used to just loiter in the Arcade and watch others play the Fruitys and the Vids, so much so, that we started to work out where all the different fruits were on each reel. So when it came to Nudge time on any of the three machines above, we knew exactly how many Nudges were needed to bring in the best win and which way to Nudge to get the win !

Now you maybe thinking, whats all this got to do with video gaming ? Well, we would go in the Arcade with no money and loiter around the Fruitys watching people play and when someone got the Nudge feature in, we would offer to bring in the highest win available for them and charge them either 10 or 20 pence for the privilege !
Once you had earned yourself a quid, you would look to see which fruitys had full pay out tubes and then play them yourself, untill you maybe had about a tenner and then you could play the Video's and it hadn't cost you a penny !
Aladdins Palace (now Richmond Leisure) at varying stages of its checker'd history had:

Space Invaders, Asteroids, Tron, Bomb Jack, Donkey Kong, Karate Champ, Joust, Defender, StarWars, Dragon's Lair, Pole Position and Pole Position II, Mr Do's Castle, Phoenix, Pacman, Crystal Castles, Hyper Olympics, Hyper Sports, Frogger, Q-Bert, plus many many others....

Time to go for a Drive.

The first driving game i ever played was Sprint 4 by Atari, it was ok, but it was old and dated (1977) by the time i got to play it, but then they brought out Pole Position and it was the fore runner of todays driving games instead of the top down view, it had that view from behind looking into the horizon and it made you feel that you were really racing. I played this alot in the canteen at the College i went to and became very good at the Fuji course, but then Atari brought out Pole Position II and i was hooked as you had a choice of 4 tracks to drive on and 2 of them were insane (Suzuka and Seaside).

A 3D platformer.

If i haven't said it already i'm a Shmup fanatic and have never been struck on platform games, but there is always the exception to the rule and Atari's Crystal Castles is my exception. When it appeared in Aladin's Palace, we were like "Woah what the hell is this" it was memerable not only for its gameplay, but for its really colourfull cabinet and last but not least its alluminated red trackball !!
This game pulled me away from my Space smhup roots and i played it with a real passion, the game had real longtitude, with each level being a different shaped castle, even when you got on in the game and they started to repeat the castle shapes, they changed the colours and added extra enemys. The game has some really cool sounds, but the thing that kept the true gamers at this machine, was the "screen jumps" they were put in the game for testing the game play for bugs when it was being designed, but they left them in when it was released to be used as part of the game play. This meant that when you lost all your lives and finally died, you could use the secret jumps to almost get you back to where you last were, when you died.

Colour Vector and fame from the movies.

Atari's Star Wars was the first colour vector game i ever played as sadly i never played Tempest as a kid (though now i wish i had) taking its theme from the Box office hit of the same name, it was obviously bound to be a big hit in the Arcades. Again Aladin's Palace had one (it used to stand back to back with a Tron) It had 3 levels that repeated and got harder as they went, first was battling in space against the tie fighters and Darth vader himself (different shaped tie fighter) then it was the flying over the surface of the Death Star shooting bases and towers and finally the exhaust port run, where you try to blow up the Death star itself. The trick with this game was to not pick easy or medium, but go for hard when you start the game. Yeah theres alot more stuff to do, but it gives you alot better chance of getting a good score, than working all the way from the easy levels. The other trick, is on the exhaust port run. Do as Obi Wan says and use the force, don't shoot a thing, dodge all the barriers and only use 1 shot at the end for the exhaust port, check out your force bonus when you do it :) There are 2 other tricks, but i'll let you find them for yourself............

Below is a YouTube video of me playing a few of my games...

Click banner for home.