Coin-ops (games/fruit machines/pinball/etc)


Awkward Woodward
I know there's a gaming thread elsewhere, but reading the news that London's biggest games arcade has closed made me want to discuss amusement arcades in general, and the reasons for their near-death. Funland's demise is unwelcome but not unexpected news - I’m pretty sure that most other cities in the UK and US no longer have any dedicated games arcades, and those that do remain are now largely given over to fruit machines (or one-armed bandits, or whatever you want to call them). My last visit to Brighton Pier revealed lots of fruities, an air-hockey table, some of those 'grabber' machines and nick all else, not even a Dance Dance Revolution, which used to be everywhere. I did manage to pump a few quid into various House Of The Deads and Time Crises on the Norfolk coast recently, but even the seaside arcades are dying. So what's going on?

The amusements-with-prizes (that is, fruities and trivia/quiz machines) market is in rude health, as far as I can see - pretty much every take-away and mini-cab office used to have a Streetfighter 2 or Golden Axe cabinet in the corner when I was a yout’, nowadays they all have fruities - but actual arcade games and pinball appear to be in terminal decline. I guess the reasons are pretty simple – ever since the Dreamcast, home consoles have been as powerful as their arcade counterparts, and there is more money to be made in selling home games at £40 each than from cumulative quids put into slots. Also, arcade games are designed to be over as quickly as possible so the player has to insert another coin, and the types of games people like playing these days – plot-heavy first-person shooters especially – are difficult to adapt into that format. As for pinball’s demise, I dunno, but venues only have room for a certain amount of cabinets and if the fruities bring in more cash then pinball has to go, I suppose. It’s perhaps as simple as: people like gambling more than games of skill.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than that, though, and would welcome your thoughts – on games, pinball or fruities. (Heck, even on quiz machines, air hockey or the peculiar monetised punch-bags I’ve seen lurking in terrible nightclubs, if you want.) (Or tuppenny waterfalls, even.) Personally, my favourite thing is pinball – the sheer breathless glee of watching the ball(s) ping around between bumpers, out of your control but accumulating points, knowing that at any minute they’ll come raining back down onto your inept and clumsy head, necessitating frantic flipper button-bashing, and resulting in the inevitable lose-ball-and-bonuses tilt, is great. But pinball is virtually dead in the grand scheme of things, very few arcades and even fewer pubs bother with it these days. Boo. This is my favourite table.

Oh, and "Winners Don’t Use Drugs", right?


Your Message Here
I am fucking great at air hockey. Serious. I will take on anyone brave enough and be the first to 7 no problem. I'm also OK at Dance Dance Revolution but a teenage girl Or Japanese person could probably beat me.


Well-known member
I love slot machines or 'puggies'. It all depends on the machine, but the best are the hypercomplicated modern ones with ridiculous boards you get onto and confusing games that accumulate or lose points in a bewildering manner. It's such a cheap thrill, the fact you know you're pissing your money away combined with the excitement of 'getting some play' on the board. Good for after a few beers when you feel like parting with your cash.


bandwagon house
Love this

It was metal slug and sega rally all the way for us then poker machines took over entirely.
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I was working in Portland, Oregon a few months ago (coincidently installing an exhibition on the History of Video Games) and visited this place.

Basically a bar full of classic arcade games, each machine had a beer rack next to it for your pint.
Surprised there isn't something like this in hipster areas of London.


Pregnant with mandrakes
In Finland all the gambling monies go to charity. It is win-win for Christians and their ilk. Machines usually mobbed by pensioners, though, so it can be tough to get a shot.


Your Message Here
The first rule of air hockey: Everyone believes he or she is the best air hockey player ever.

That aside, I'm pretty good at air hockey and would most likely beat you.
[air hockey trash talk]

I will come over to Ghent and take your waffle eating super strength Trappist booze drinking Captain Haddocking Professor Calculusing no government for a year and a halfing Marrouane Fellaining Tomas Vermaeling Colin Farell playing a hitman with qualmsing ass down.

[/ air hockey trash talk]