For about 6 months I've been thinking about a major re-work of our game room and about what direction I'd like to take the room.
Generally, the notion that I landed on was that, for me anyway, chasing the Pinside top 10 or 20 list of pinball machines isn't a (reasonably) attainable goal. Part of the challenge is that I am my own worst enemy in terms of maintenance. When the lights turn off and everyone leaves, I go back to work cleaning and wrenching-on games.
Just one more cool mod, just one more coat of wax....
I do like working on pinball machines and arcades but it would be cool to get to play them now and again, too! Plus, the pins get most of the maintenance time while the arcades were a little more neglected.
I came back from Southern Fried Gameroom Expo with this personal revelation that space is always a limiting factor. Even at a big expo like that, there were games that weren't present and there will never be enough room (in my house or in my checking account!) to feed that one-more-again urge. As in a lot of things, the chase is (often) better than the catch.
Do I want a gameroom to play in or a room full of trophies?
On one hand I had rough plans for adding a pool-house (eventually). A place with bathrooms, shower, a kitchen / bar - and of course the arcade would move there. But, would it stop with the $90,000 remodel or just keep going...? On the other hand it wasn't lost on me that my home arcade was larger than the arcade at our local movie theaters.
Then there's the idea that I personally enjoy arcades as much as pinball, yet one pinball machine like Wizard of Oz is equivalent financially to about 10 Tron Arcades..
This was my quandary.
I like pinball, I like arcades. At peak, I've owned 8 pinball machines at once and 5-7 arcades in the same amount of time. Yep, I know there are folks out there with (much!) larger collections and even a few people who even beat my level of maintenance OCD. Family, demanding work schedule along with this and other hobbies - I probably won't ever be in the 20-pinball-machine upper crust of collectors. (And that's cool) So, I decided a couple of months ago to start trimming back on Pinball games and to make some changes.
For pins, the number that I landed on was no more than 5. I looked at each game in a duck-duck-goose-reminiscent way to determine what games would go and what games were safe for now. My guidelines were:
- These are games, not trophies: keep what me and family find fun to play
- Make the space more comfortable
- Allow for themed-areas or general theming opportunities
- Represent a balance of arcade, pinball and console gaming
For the pins, these were my thoughts:
Williams Indy - Love the theme, love everything about the gameplay. - A Keeper.
Stern Indy - Love the theme, game is fun but enjoy Williams IJ more - Sold it.
Wizard of Oz - Like the game, not into the theme. Love the lightshows and sound. Shot geometry could be better / the outlanes are vacuums. In the end, more trophy than game. Sold it.
Scared Stiff - Love the game, love the suggestive nature of the theme. Fast game / short ball gameplay will be represented in Ghostbusters Harder decision but landed on selling it in favor of making room. Sold it.
Ghostbusters - Who the hell knows, Would this damned game ship already? :)
Current estimate is Oct1. If it slips any more, I'm switching my order to an MMR or a TOTAN.
Monster Bash - Love the theme, enjoy the game but it is easy. Keeper but potential trade bait for something later.
Star Trek - Love the theme, love the light show, love the gameplay. Classic Steve Ritchie. It stays.
And pin number 5 well - stay tuned, it might surprise you. Hint: I've owned one before.
Several friends from the local club popped in to help with the move and even provided some up-front design and sketch ideas as we were going through layout ideas. This video is a timelapse over a couple of weeks using the Nest's motion-detection keyframes to create segments. In a few places you will see they get out of sync, because some cameras got unplugged temporarily during the move.
Still, kind of neat to see it happen in front of your eyes over the course of a few minutes..
In the end, I think what we ended up with turned out pretty well. Pins, classic arcades, contemporary arcades, even consoles all represented in a more comfortable, open and inviting arcade. Because in the end arcades are as much about fun with friends as they were about gaming.