Saturday, May 9, 2020

exploring the arcade in Supaidaman (ep 13) (1978)

My friend Jean-Francois passed me this little clip (via pinballspotting) from Supaidaman Episode 13

Supaidaman came out in 1978 in Japan.  But who cares?  Let's take a look at that arcade!

EDIT:  POST UPDATED!  my friend nazox2016 did some research and has found documentation for the most incredibly obscure machines in this episode! 

 The first glimpse is an easy one if you're like me and browse Japanese eletromechanical machines from the 1970s in your spare time,
Big Together (1976, Sega)

Niche Collections: Neo Skywalker's Euro pinball machines

When you're more new to pinball you seek out the games that hover at the top of the Pinside Top 100 list, for the most part.  You want to play the classics, the fresh hits, understand the buzz.  When you enter a pinball show's doors you go right to them and hunker down.  But when you've played them all, you start to notice the machines that aren't there at every show.  The machines you had never seen before, or might have seen out of the corner of your eye when you were more green.  I quickly came to understand that many of the obscure titles at the shows had one thing in common: They weren't from North America.
Welcome to the European pinball machines.

In the Digital Niche Games post I mentioned how amazing it is to be able to play the Zaccaria games digitally, because chances are you'll never be able to play them all in real life.  And that is true for most people, including some of the biggest pinball collectors.  But there are a handful of pinballers who have sought out the European games, played them, and even built collections of them.

Niche Collection 006: Neo Skywalker's Euro pinball machines

Mexico 86 (1986, Zaccaria) + Zankor (1986, Zaccaria)
the basics
who: Neo Skywalker
where: USA
what: "Trying for a full collection of Gen2 Zaccarias, with other rare obscure games thrown in for good variety."
what country are these machines from: "Bologna, Italy for Zaccaria.  SLEIC is from Spain, Cirsa is from Spain as well."
when: "I started collecting pinball machines in 2004, but have been playing tournaments, since 1991.  Started going for a full Gen2 Zaccaria collection for about 6 years."
how many:  "Currently 42"

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Niche Collections: Caitlyn's purely mechanical and upright games

The age of coronavirus is upon us and that means much more time spent home with family, and the collections.  For a while now I had been planning on turning the tables on myself and doing my own entry in the Niche Collections series.  I was waiting for everything to "really come together".  So many projects on the go, and with the pandemic distending all timelines, I figured Why Not just do it now?  So let's go.  I'll update this post at some point in the future when the opportunity arises.

Niche Collection 005: Caitlyn's purely mechanical and upright games

Goofy (1932, Bally)

the basics
who: Caitlyn (aka cait001 on every site)
where: Canada
what: purely mechanical and upright games
when: "I started collecting pinball with the arrival of my daughter almost 8 years ago, and space constraints in the last few years pushed me towards machines that didn't have the same real estate demands as pinball"
how many:   "well I've got 22 here...  eeeeep"

Signal Jr (1934, Bally)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Fill Em Up & Curiosity Inc

Something new has arrived!  a 1953 Fill Em Up from Ruffler & Walker

There's a story with this one though:

There's this guy Alex in Edmonton who's doing what you kind of wish every antique dealer did: Make regular videos about things in the shop!
I was watching a video of his and of course my eyes immediately go to the bits of coin-op at the sides of the frame.
His store is called Curiosity Inc and I sent him an email, and we quickly struck a deal for the Fill Em Up!

It should be noted he has a bunch of other coin-op in his store, including 3 EM pinball machines, some slots, another allwin, and a classic trade stimulator.  He is an expert shipper, and if you're in the Edmonton area you should definitely know where he's at.  Some pics he sent me:

We are living in interesting and difficult times, so it's fascinating to see businesses adapt and cope however they can.  If that interests you, I would highly recommend following Alex and the Curiosity Inc exploits in how he's dealing with this time.  I even get a mention just after the 6 minute mark here:

It's been interesting to see him entirely overhaul his store during the time off.  He also has a great series where he buys a house that was packed full due to years of a hoarding condition, empties, cleans, and fixes it up, and then reveals the owner's identity, promotes and auctions her famous pottery, meets her before she dies at over 100, and then publishes a book on her.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Niche Collections: JC's Arrangeball & Challengeball machines

On my journey into researching Japanese machines it took me a while before I discovered Arrangeballs.  I was watching some Japanese youtuber visit a retro-gaming parlor ("Shōwa" era games) and paused the video, grabbed a screen snap, and had to ask, "What the heck is that on the wall behind him"?  It looked like a pachinko at first glance, but it had a row of numbers along the bottom, and didn't have a normal feeder tray.  What's going on here?

The machines turned out to be called Arrangeball, and outside of the background in a few retro parlor shots, I couldn't find much about them.  I eventually discovered a small fanbase for them outside of Japan and fell in what might be love, but probably was more accurately lust.

Instead of the traditional abstracted gambling currency of choice in Japan (pachinko balls,) these games worked on tokens.  It must have been unfortunate timing because legislative changes spelled their demise about a decade in.  After they passed however, integrated circuit machines saw the rise of pachislo machines, which also operated on tokens.   Coulda shoulda woulda, arrangeballs had their tiny moment in time.

It reminds me of the short window of American pinball machines that paid out coins.  They too lasted about a decade before being legislated out of existence.  The American gambling pinballs went on to have credit counters and evolved from there.  The innovations of arrangeball machines were mostly lost to time as the rise of solid state machines, spinning digital reels, and electric shooters would pave the way for the 1980s modern pachinko boom, and subsequently pachislo.  

Legislation would be repealed and elements of arrangeball would continue into the solid-state era, under the guise of arepachi machines, but their numbers pale in comparison to contemporary digipachi (deijipachi / デジパチ) machines, and even to the humble (yet delightful) hanemono machines.

Niche Collection 004: JC's Arrangeball & Challengeball machines

the basics
who: JC (pachitalk)
where: America
what: Japanese Arrangeball & Challengeball machines
when: "I started collecting them in 2010 or so"
how many:   "I have 7 left out of 20 or so different models I've owned over the years.  A handful of the models I imported myself and as far as I can tell, are the only copies in the U.S."

Taiyo electron "Full Throttle 2"

Monday, March 2, 2020

Niche digital-games!

There are so many cool games that were made around the world!  Even if you attend pinball and coin-op shows, chances are you haven't played most of them.

Thankfully a few devoted fans have made digital versions of some of these machines so you can at least get a general idea of what they are about.  Like digital pinball, digital OTHERGAMES are never a substitution for the real thing, but are an amazing learning opportunity.

If I am missing anything relevant please leave it for me in the links and I'll update this page.

So you may know that digital pinball is pretty much everywhere and on every platform, but you might not know that there is Zaccaria Pinball on Steam where you can play 27 original Zaccaria pinball tables.  Worth the money.  Chances are you'll never be able to play most of these anywhere in your lifetime.

Joop's Bingo Gameroom is a downloadable bingo simulator with great sounds, graphics, and physics.  You can try the trial version, and the lifetime subscription is something like $80.

Smart Ball:
The original server is down but you can play this cute little Smart Ball emulator on my website and get the source code on Github.

The next handful of entries are all from the same great site.  Emulation really doesn't capture the aesthetic essence of most of these, and least of all would be the pajatso one, but how often are you ever going to get to try a full-sized Nordic Pajatso machine in real life?  Yeah, I thought so.  (answer: maybe at Fun Spot, and/or some cool spots in Europe)
But you can at least see what the mechanics are all about.  Play pajatso online (Flash required)

Big Strike Bowling:
You might recognize the layout from Chicago Coin's 1972 Mini-Baseball, and you'd be correct!  They stole the design directly from a series of popular German wall machines in the 60s.  Play some of the bowling classic here.

Tooty Fruity:
A novel 1970s drop-case machine from Crompton's, I love the aesthetics of this one.  Drop coins in to play, make 3 or 4 in a row to get paid out.  Very satisfying, play it here.  You're probably not going to ever encounter one outside of the UK.

The classic clown-catcher!  One of the oldest coin-op games out there.  Rotate the clown to the right to release a ball.  Catch the ball in your basket and return it to the left to win a coin!
These fetch $1k-$2k USD at auctions so don't expect to play one casually any time soon.   Play bajazzo now!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Introducing Cascade!

oh joy of joys, it's here!  I just received a Bell Fruit Cascade machine from the UK.  These came out about 1972 in the UK and I've been looking for one for a few years.

I first discovered pajatso at Fun Spot in NH, where they have (had?) 2 classic Nordic-style pajatso machines.  The large ones.  After pining for one of those for a while, and not being able to find anyone in Finland to ship me one here (come on, Fins!!) I'm super satisfied with this affordable runner-up machine.