The UK Arcade Scene
By Mean Machines Staff - 13 Aug, 2014
Peter - 20 Aug 2014, 23:59 GMT
I totally agree! I loved the arcade as a kid, and think a vital part of gaming has been lost with the demise of the arcades. I remember the sheer joy and excitement (the kind of which as an adult I have never felt) at seeing your favourite arcade game coming out on your console. I mean sure, Final Fight had no two player, and one of the characters was missing, but I could play it in my room! Bliss!
As a child I used to go to Blackpool in the summer holidays, and maybe one of the other holidays, a fair bit as a child. I never bothered with the rides, they seemed pointless to me! I always went for the arcades. It seemed like a never ending sea of awesomeness. Going from one arcade to the next and never finding the same machines in each one.
Imagine my disappointment when I went back there a few months ago, at the grand old age of 35, expecting to still find this oasis of nostalgia with Street Fighter 2, Simpsons, Outrun, After Burner, Alien Storm, Final Fight, Golden Axe,Mortal Kombat, Star Wars, Ghosts and Goblins, Robocop, 1942, Burger Time, Galaga, etc etc. Only to find the only games were some racing game and Terminator Salvation. Those two games in EVERY arcade, along with a sea of fruit machines and ticket machines.
A little part of me died, to see what was once a absolute Mecca to my childhood arcade experience, now is just awash with people who can't figure out how to gamble online, so they still need to go to an arcade.
It forced me to go on the rides! Just to distract from how gutted I was I couldn't play Street Fighter 2 on an arcade machine! But, then I guess times change, and I can play those games I love at home, even on a hand held device (11 year old me would have died of a heart attack from excitement if I'd seen Final Fight on a hand held device). But you don't get the smell, the sounds, the excitement, or moving from one machine with amazing art work on to the next.
I guess times change, and kids change. Which makes me think of a relevant quote: "Why, there are no children here at the 4H club, either! Am I so out of touch? No, it's the children who are wrong." - Principal Seymour Skinner
And I think we, as guys in our 30s, can agree, that it is indeed the children who are wrong!
M Arnold - 11 Sep 2014, 08:19 GMT
I agree with the above. I went to the sea front at sunny Southend to check out the arcades, they are awash with fruit machines, however I found one called Happidrome(Spelling intended) I think which had track and field, Ms Pacman, Simpson's and a working Daytona to name a few. No sign of Street Fighter or Out Run, the search continues...
Martin Arnold - 23 Dec 2014, 09:02 GMT
Update to previous comment, I found Astro City in Southend, they have retro arcades which include Street Fighter II and Donkey Kong I think.
Shane - 07 Jan 2015, 18:09 GMT
I grew up in Southend. My uncle used to fix the machines at the arcades and would take me in there as a toddler (34 now). I havent been back home for about 4 years but last time I was there the seafront was not the same.
Back in the 90s you could even go into the cafes and restaurants and find a Street fight 2 machine or Bubble bobble machine. I miss those days.
I lived around the corner from the arcades as a kid and would sneak down to the arcades at 10 years old to play Pac Man and Ghost and Goblins.
I remember going to my mates mums place of work at a cafe called cottage cafe and the old ladies giving us 10p's to play bubble bobble as well.
At college in the 90s we would bunk of down to the Happidrome to play Daytona.
Do they still have the two machines Martin? We would go in a group and race each other.They also used to have a 4 player simpsons and teenage mutant ninja turtle machine as well.
Where is Astro City Martin?
Love this site. I used to read Machine machines as a kid and stumbled across it by accident in a round about way after reading about the attacks in Paris today (Saw an Asterix cartoon remembered a mega drive game, ended up here).
Had forgotten all about the magazine.
Mean Machines should be relaunched as an online web pulication! Im a web designer and would be interested in doing that! :)
I remembed playing a splatter house game on my mega drive. Back when we also used to have video rental guys who would knock door to door, did you guys have them? I just remember my nan coming to stay and being upset as she didnt see me the entire time as I had rented that game and wouldn't get off it.
Martin Arnold - 15 Apr 2015, 12:49 GMT
Astro City is off the High Street at the top end nearly opposite Victoria Shoes. They have Daytona there with the 2 seats for competitive play. They also have a few versions of Street Fighter, Gauntlet and Gauntlet Legends. They have a good selection of cabinets and pool etc.
Happidrome did have the 2 seat version of Daytona but I think it's being refurbished.
Martin - 02 Jun 2015, 15:36 GMT
Happidrome Southend refurbished. Has Daytona and they now have Super Mario Bros. Ice cream available too. Nice.