A New Year! - A glance back and looking forward

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Looking back at 2016 and my arcade / pinball activity.  What a year!   In 2016, I decided to re-center my arcade & game room activities a bit.  Prior to 2016, I had sought out games that were highly-rated or hard to come by in our region.  

While not on purpose, I think I fell into that trap of hunting trophies and building a collection, which really wasn't the intent for my game room.

The intent for my game room was to build a fun space and in 2016 with the help of good friends, I think we did just that, sacrificing a few pinball machines that are generally regarded as collectible and opening up the room with a new layout that has a little something for everyone in our family and friends circle. 

This year, I bought-and-sold: Ruby Red Wizard of Oz, Hobbit, Monster Bash, Scared Stiff.

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The progression of this hobby very often takes people from Arcade machines to Pinball machines and many collectors I think have a tendency to step away from Arcades in favor of Pinball.   The reasoning is sound since many arcades can be emulated well enough on your console, phone, Multi Cade, etc.    But for me, I still enjoy owning arcades.  I enjoy tinkering with them and the experience of playing games in the arcade format.   Nostalgia, I guess. 

So, part of our arcade activities this year, I tried to strike a balance of arcades to pins and picked up some games that were special to us though the year.    

This year, we picked up:

Bud Tapper (from some dude in Ohio via KLOV) - I learned alot about MCR games and spent a good portion of the year trying to locate a suitable monitor for this game.  After several misses, a Vision Pro finally hit-the-spot to make this game feel right.

Q*Bert (from ArcadeShop.com) - I picked up a reproduction Q*Bert cabinet, running the Mylstar FPGA board and one of the three monitors that I bought attempting to re-CRT Tapper.    Super happy to have a Q*Bert in the lineup, it gets played daily!

Tron (from a pawn shop in Saraland) - A friend in our local club brought this game to my attention and I checked it out during lunch one day.   I spent about 2 months thinking about it and eventually came to an agreement with someone at the Pawn shop.   We moved it in at the end of the year and cleaned it up over the holidays.    It seems to be very original and is in pretty good condition.  A few small areas on the cabinet and a few electrical gremlins but nothing too terrible.

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Part of our 2016 basement reorganization was to give the kids (all of us) a place to hang out and play console games.   The loves eat and chair and TV area is getting lots of use: the kids getting their Minecraft fix and I've gotten to get reacquainted with a few console favorites.  

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For Pinball, I decided to pick up pinballs with specific themes and gameplay that resonate with my childhood and general geekdom.   I added Ghostbusters (after a lengthy preorder) and Revenge from Mars from a collector in Chicago.

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I also added back a HUO Data East Star Wars (from a comic book shop owner in Tennessee) and created this Star-Wars themed nook in the corner of the basement where can play the Dome(usually Star Wars Battlefront or the new Playstation VR mission) and enjoy Star Wars Trilogy & Data East Star Wars.    

The Data East pin has a particular nostalgia for me, being the first multi-ball pinball machine I ever played traveling with my dad as a kid and being the first pinball that owned when I started in this hobby 4 years ago.  This particular pin is in a good bit better shape than my last one, sports a ColorDMD/ LED and Pin sound running a custom soundtrack.

Over the holidays, I got to spend a little time setting up wifi-enabled smart plugs and Amazon Echo / Echo Dot to control game room activity.    

The setup definitely could use some refinement but being able to control individual games, or groups of games with Star Trek-like voice commands is super-nice.  

(Especially where kids are concerned, where they tend to leave games on or don't know how to turn on specific games)

Looking ahead

As we move into the new year, I think my arcade-pinball related resolution is to buy / sell, less and play, more.   To spent less time tinkering with games and more time playing & hanging out with friends.    Do you have a 2017 arcade-pinball resolution?